The Madras High Court is a High Court in India. It has appellate jurisdiction over the state of Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry. It is located in Chennai, and is the third oldest high court of India after the Calcutta High Court in Kolkata and Bombay High Court in Mumbai. The Madras High Court is one of four charter high courts of colonial India established in the four Presidency Towns of Madras, Bombay, Allahabad and Calcutta by letters patent granted by Queen Victoria, dated 26 June 1862. It exercises original jurisdiction over the city of Chennai, as well as extraordinary original jurisdiction, civil and criminal, under the letters patent and special original jurisdiction for the issue of writs under the Constitution of India. Covering 107 acres, the court complex is one of the largest in the world, second only to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
|Madras High Court|
|Established||15 August 1862|
|Location||Principal Seat: Chennai |
Circuit Benches: Madurai
|Motto||Truth Alone Triumphs|
|Composition method||Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.|
|Authorized by||Constitution of India|
|Appeals to||Supreme Court of India|
|Judge term length||Mandatory retirement by age of 62|
|Number of positions||75 |
(Permanent 56; Addl. 19)
|Website||Madras High Court|
|Since||22 September 2022|
From 1817 to 1862, the Supreme Court of Madras was opposite the Chennai Beach railway station. From 1862 to 1892, the High Court was also housed there. The present buildings were officially inaugurated on 12 July 1892, when the then Madras Governor, Beilby, Baron Wenlock, handed over the key to then Chief Justice Sir Arthur Collins.
British India's three presidency towns of Madras (Chennai), Bombay (Mumbai), and Calcutta (Kolkata) were each granted a High Court by letters patent dated 26 June 1862. The letters patent were issued by Queen Victoria under the authority of the British parliament's Indian High Courts Act 1861. The three courts are unique, established under British royal charter in contrast with the other high courts, which were established under the Indian Constitution. The Constitution of India recognises the older courts.
The Madras High Court was formed by merging the Supreme Court of Judicature at Madras, and the Sadr Diwani Adalat. The Court was required to decide cases in accordance with justice, equity and good conscience. The earliest judges included Holloway, Innes, and Morgan. The first Indian to sit on the High Court was Justice T. Muthuswamy Iyer. Other early Indian judges included Justices V. Krishnaswamy Iyer and P. R. Sundaram Iyer.
The Madras High Court was a pioneer in Original Side jurisdiction reform in favor of Indian practitioners as early as the 1870s.
The history means that the decisions of the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are still binding on it, provided that the ratio of a case has not been overruled by the Supreme Court of India.
Although the city was renamed from Madras to Chennai in 1996, the Court continued as the Madras High Court. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution appealing to the Central Government to rename the court as High Court of Tamil Nadu since the Court serves the whole state.
The High Court complex is located in the southern end of George Town. The building was constructed after relocating temples on the land. The building now used exclusively by the High Court was built to also house the Courts of Small Causes and the City Civil Court. These were subsequently shifted to other buildings on the campus.
The High Court building is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Construction began in October 1888 and was completed in 1892 following the design prepared by J. W. Brassington, and later under the guidance of architect Henry Irwin, who completed it with the assistance of J. H. Stephens.
Brassington initially prepared a plan to construct a building with 11 court halls at an estimate of ₹945,000. Six were meant for the High Court, four for the Small Causes Court, and one for the City Civil Court. An additional building to house lawyers’ chambers was added to the plan, with a first floor walkway to connect it to the main building, increasing the budget to ₹1,298,163. Complementing a 125-feet-tall standalone lighthouse that was already on the site, a dioptric light was built on the 142-feet-high main tower of the building, raising the tower's height to 175 feet.
Save for the steel girders and some ornamental tiles, almost all the material for the construction was procured locally. Brick and terracotta were brought from government brickyards. Most of the construction was executed by local artisans trained at the School of Arts.
The High Court building was damaged in the shelling of Madras by SMS Emden on 22 September 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. It remains one of the few Indian buildings to have been damaged by a German attack.
The building offers several points of architectural interest. The painted ceilings and the stained glass doors are masterpieces. The old lighthouse is housed within the High Court campus but is poorly maintained and in disrepair.
The boundaries of the complex are marked by Prakasam Road (formerly Broadway) and Rajaji Road (the old North Beach Road), stretching northward from the statue of Rajaji in the northeast and the statue of T. Prakasamgaru in the southwest within the complex. The complex houses the largest number of courts in Asia.
The city civil and sessions courts, which are located inside the High Court campus, are in two blocks, namely, the main and annexe buildings. Some of the city civil courts are located at Additional City Civil Court Complex at Allikulam Commercial Complex in Park Town and Singaravelar Maligai in George Town. The District and Session Court for Exclusive Trial of Bomb Blast Cases is located at Karayanchavadi in the neighbourhood of Poonamallee, and the Commercial Court is located in the neighbourhood of Egmore.
The Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court is Munishwar Nath Bhandari. The court houses 57 judges, including the Chief Justice. They exercise civil, criminal, writ, testamentary and admiralty jurisdiction. The Madurai Bench began functioning in 2004.
The vestiges of the colonial High Court characterise the premises. Justices of the Madras High Court are led by orderlies who bear a ceremonial mace made of silver. Most High Courts and the Supreme Court of India either never had the practice or abandoned it.
Madras Law JournalEdit
The Madras High Court is the birthplace of organised legal reporting in India. It is home to the Madras Law Journal, which was the first journal dedicated to reporting texts of judgments of the High Court. It started in 1891.
The Saturday Club met every week. It was started at the house of the Vakil Bar's senior member Sir S. Subramania Iyer in Mylapore in 1888. All leading members of the Madras Bar took part. At one meeting, it was decided to start The Madras Law Journal, which was inspired by other newly established periodicals such as Law Quarterly Review, started by Sir Frederick Pollock in England in 1885 and The Harvard Law Review established by Harvard Law School Association in 1887.
The objectives of the journal were laid out in the preface of the first issue:
In addition to giving our own reports of the decisions of the High Courts in Madras and other places, we hope to place before our readers translations of various Hindu Law Books which remain yet untranslated, insofar as they have bearing on questions which practically arise for decision every day in our Courts of Justice. We propose further from time to time, to place side by side the conflicting decisions of the various Courts in India on the same point in the hope that such procedure will enable the Courts to act in greater harmony than they do at present in the interpretation of Acts and enunciation of general principles of law and when this is not possible, to enable the Legislature to bring about such harmony by removing the ambiguities which may have given rise to such discordant views.
The Madras Law Journal is known for its quickness and reporting accuracy and its discriminating selection of cases to be reported. It occupies a premier place among Indian legal periodicals.
Madras Weekly Notes (criminal and civil)Edit
Madras Weekly Notes is a law journal reporting criminal judgements of the Madras High Court from 1910 to till date.
Citations are formatted as, e.g., "1929 1 MWN(Cr.) 1", where (left to right) 1929 is the year, 1 is the volume, "MWN(Cr.)" is the abbreviated journal name, and "1" is the page number.
Journals that record cases include Current Tamil Nadu Cases, Current Writ Cases, and Tamil Nadu Motor Accident Cases.
Established in 2004, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court handles cases in the fourteen southern districts of Tamil Nadu, as the court is located in the far-northern capital. The bench is located in Madurai, and has the Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Madurai, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Theni, Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli and Karur districts under its jurisdiction.
Its 107-acre campus is one of the largest in the country, It is second largest in the world after the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The four-storey administrative building attracts hundreds of litigants every day. The court complex has 12 court halls, furnished on the model of the court halls in the Supreme Court, the Delhi and the Madras High Court.
The court, since its inauguration on 24 July 2004, has accelerated the legal process in the southern districts.
List of Chief JusticesEdit
|1||Sir Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange||1801–1816|
|2||Sir John Henry Newbolt||1816–1820|
|3||Sir Edmond Stanley||1820–1825|
|4||Sir Ralph Palmer||1825–1835|
|5||Sir Robert Buckley Comyn||1835–1842|
|6||Sir Edward John Gambier||1842–1850|
|7||Sir Christopher Rawlinson||1850–1859|
|8||Sir Henry Davison||1859–1860|
|9||Sir Colley Harman Scotland||1860–1861|
High Court (British Administration)Edit
|9||Sir Colley Harman Scotland||1861–1871|
|10||Sir Walter Morgan||1871–1879|
|11||Sir Charles Arthur Turner||1879–1885|
|12||Sir Arthur John Hammond Collins||1885–1898|
|13||Charles Arnold White||1899–1914|
|14||John Edward Power Wallis||1914–1921|
|15||Sir Walter George Salis Schwabe||1921–1924|
|16||Sir Murray Coutts-Trotter||1924–1929|
|17||Sir Horace Owen Compton Beasley||1929–1937|
|18||Sir Alfred Henry Lionel Leach||1937–1947|
|19||Sir Fredrick William Gentle||1947–1948|
High Court (Indian Administration)Edit
|S. No.||Chief Justice||Date of Appointment||Date of Retirement|
|20||P. V. Rajamannar||22 April 1948||9 May 1961|
|21||S. Ramachandra Iyer||16 September 1961||1 November 1964|
|22||Palagani Chandra Reddy||15 February 1965||30 June 1966|
|23||M. Anantanarayanan||1 July 1966||30 April 1969|
|24||Kuppuswami Naidu Veeraswami||1 May 1969||11 March 1976|
|25||Palapatti Sadaya Goundar Kailasam||8 April 1976||2 January 1977|
|26||Padmanbhapillay Govindan Nair||3 January 1977||28 May 1978|
|27||Tayi Ramaprasada Rao||29 May 1978||5 November 1979|
|28||Muhammad Kassim Muhammad Ismail||6 November 1979||9 July 1981|
|29||Ballabh Narayan Singh||12 March 1982||24 January 1984|
|30||Madhukar Narhar Chandurkar||2 April 1984||13 March 1988|
|31||Shanmughasundaram Mohan||19 October 1989||24 October 1989|
|32||Adarsh Sein Anand||1 November 1989||17 November 1991|
|33||Kanta Kumari Bhatnagar||15 June 1992||14 November 1992|
|34||Kudarikoti Annadanayya Swamy||1 July 1993||19 March 1997|
|35||Manmohan Singh Liberhan||7 July 1997||27 December 1998|
|36||Ashok Chhotelal Agarwal||24 May 1999||26 August 1999|
|37||K. G. Balakrishnan||9 September 1999||15 June 2000|
|38||Nagendra Kumar Jain||13 September 2000||30 August 2001|
|39||B. Subhashan Reddy||12 September 2001||20 November 2004|
|40||Markandey Katju||28 November 2004||10 October 2005|
|41||Ajit Prakash Shah||12 November 2005||9 May 2008|
|42||Asok Kumar Ganguly||19 May 2008||15 December 2008|
|43||Hemant Laxman Gokhale||9 March 2009||28 April 2010|
|44||M. Y. Eqbal||11 June 2010||21 December 2012|
|45||Rajesh Kumar Agrawal||24 October 2013||16 February 2014|
|46||Sanjay Kishan Kaul||26 July 2014||16 February 2017|
|47||Indira Banerjee||5 April 2017||6 August 2018|
|48||Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani||12 August 2018||6 September 2019|
|49||Amreshwar Pratap Sahi||11 November 2019||31 December 2020|
|50||Sanjib Banerjee||4 January 2021||16 November 2021|
|51||Munishwar Nath Bhandari||14 February 2022||12 September 2022|
The Madras High Court is permitted to have a maximum of 75 judges, of which 56 may be permanently appointed and 19 may be additionally appointed. It currently has 54 judges.
|#||Judge||Date of joining||Date of retirement|
|1||T. Raja(ACJ)||31 March 2009||24 May 2023|
|2||Paresh Ravishankar Upadhyay||21 November 2011||13 December 2022|
|3||Panzhayanur Narayanan Prakash||25 October 2013||11 January 2023|
|4||S. Vaidyanathan||25 October 2013||16 August 2024|
|5||R. Mahadevan||25 October 2013||9 June 2025|
|6||V. M. Velumani||20 December 2013||5 April 2024|
|7||D. Krishnakumar||7 April 2016||21 May 2025|
|8||S. S. Sundar||7 April 2016||2 May 2025|
|9||R. Subramanian||5 October 2016||24 July 2025|
|10||M. Sundar||5 October 2016||18 July 2028|
|11||R. Suresh Kumar||5 October 2016||28 May 2026|
|12||J. Nisha Banu||5 October 2016||17 September 2028|
|13||M. S. Ramesh||5 October 2016||27 December 2025|
|14||S. M. Subramaniam||5 October 2016||30 May 2027|
|15||Dr. Anita Sumanth||5 October 2016||14 April 2032|
|16||P. Velmurugan||5 October 2016||8 June 2027|
|17||Dr. G. Jayachandran||5 October 2016||31 March 2027|
|18||C. V. Karthikeyan||5 October 2016||13 December 2026|
|19||R. M. T. Teeka Raman||16 November 2016||8 June 2025|
|20||N. Sathish Kumar||16 November 2016||5 May 2029|
|21||N. Seshasayee||16 November 2016||7 January 2025|
|22||V. Bhavani Subbaroyan||28 June 2017||16 May 2025|
|23||A. D. Jagadish Chandira||28 June 2017||14 February 2028|
|24||G. R. Swaminathan||28 June 2017||31 May 2030|
|25||Abdul Quddhose||28 June 2017||7 September 2031|
|26||M. Dhandapani||28 June 2017||14 April 2030|
|27||Pondicherry Daivasigamani Audikesavalu||28 June 2017||29 December 2032|
|28||R. Tharani||1 December 2017||9 June 2023|
|29||R. Hemalatha||1 December 2017||30 April 2025|
|30||P. T. Asha||4 June 2018||21 August 2028|
|31||N. Nirmal Kumar||4 June 2018||22 November 2027|
|32||N. Anand Venkatesh||4 June 2018||3 July 2031|
|33||G. K. Ilanthiraiyan||4 June 2018||8 July 2032|
|34||Krishnan Ramasmy||4 June 2018||2 June 2030|
|35||C. Saravanan||4 June 2018||30 November 2033|
|36||B. Pugalendhi||20 November 2018||24 May 2029|
|37||Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy||22 February 2019||1 October 2028|
|38||Govindarajulu Chandrasekharan||3 December 2020||30 May 2024|
|39||Veerasamy Sivagnanam||3 December 2020||31 May 2025|
|40||Ilangovan Ganesan||3 December 2020||4 June 2025|
|41||Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup||3 December 2020||17 July 2025|
|42||Murali Shankar Kuppuraju||3 December 2020||30 May 2030|
|43||Manjula Ramaraju Nalliah||3 December 2020||15 February 2026|
|44||Thamilselvi T. Valayapalayam||3 December 2020||18 June 2030|
|#||Judge||Date of joining|
|1||A. A. Nakkiran||3 December 2020|
|2||Sundaram Srimathy||20 October 2021|
|3||D. Bharatha Chakravarthy||20 October 2021|
|4||R. Vijayakumar||20 October 2021|
|5||Mohammed Shaffiq||20 October 2021|
|6||J. Sathya Narayana Prasad||29 October 2021|
|7||Nidumolu Mala||28 March 2022|
|8||S. Sounthar||28 March 2022|
|9||Sunder Mohan||6 June 2022|
|10||Kabali Kumaresh Babu||6 June 2022|
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