With support of Bar, was able to dispose of over 5,000 cases: Former Madras HC Chief Justice VK Tahilramani

With support of Bar, was able to dispose of over 5,000 cases: Former Madras HC Chief Justice VK Tahilramani

A farewell function organised by the Madras Bar Association on Friday afternoon saw Former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, VK Tahilramani inform the audience about her growing attachment to Chennai and Tamil Nadu.

She began her farewell speech by recounting a long-standing connection with Tamil Nadu and Chennai.

This attachment goes back more than 50 years ago, because ever since I can remember, I have been coming to Chennai at least once a year, because I visit the Tirupati Balaji Temple at least once a year, if not more. So every time I visited the Tirupati Balaji temple, I came to Chennai….so there is that attachment that goes a way long back.”

Over the course of her one-year stint as the Madras High Court Chief Justice, she became more attached to Chennai, even contemplating that she could settle down in the city. Justice Tahilramani said,

In that one year, that I have constantly been here, I have gotten attached to the city, for various reasons.  For one, [it has] better climate than Mumbai. No torrential rains like we have in Mumbai…Not only that, less pollution, more greenery, and better infrastructure, not only in the city of Chennai, but all over the state…and because of that, I was thinking – me and my husband were thinking – of settling down (in Chennai)…and we took steps in that direction, we purchased a property here in Chennai – a flat.”

In a lighter vein, she remarked.

“…Because we Mumbaikars – we are used to flats and pigeon-hole flats… and we cannot dream and think of purchasing a plot of land and building… that thought frightens us… we are so used to living in apartments…” 

However, presumably referring to the Collegium’s proposal to transfer her to Meghalaya, and her consequent resignation earlier this month, Justice Tahilramani went on remark,

“…we were thinking of settling down, but fate had different things in store. Now, we will think again, (we will have to) give it a re-thought…”

All the same, she expressed her gratitude to the members of the Madras Bar for the support she received during her term as Chief Justice.

Notably, she also commented that with the cooperation of the Bar and the support of Justice M Duraiswamy – with whom she sat on the First Bench prior to her resignation – she was able to dispose of over 5,000 cases.

Recently, it was reported that the Collegium’s decision to transfer Justice Tahilramani to Meghalaya may have been prompted by her “short working hours”. While the former Chief Justice did not allude directly to these claims, she said,

“…because of the cooperation of all the members of the bar, and more especially my colleague, Justice Duraiswamy … I could dispose of more than 5,000 matters, which I think is a reasonable number…and because of the cooperation of the Bar, we did not extend arguments beyond a certain point … And therefore, I could finish my causelist – with an average of 75 to 80 matters – very quickly, and I could rise from the court quickly. Because of the cooperation, everything was disposed of in a very swift manner every day.”  

She concluded her speech by expressing her thanks for the support extended by the Madras Bar over the year, and particularly the last few weeks. She said,

I thank you all for the cooperation shown to me in this one year…I especially want to thank all of you for all the love, the respect, affection, cooperation and support you have shown to me… not only in the entire year but also in the last few weeks. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I feel truly blessed with all the love and respect and affection that you have showered on me. Thank you very much. I leave you all with my best wishes.” 

The abrupt proposal to transfer Chief Justice Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court earlier this month had raised eyebrows, given that she was the senior-most judge among High Court judges in the country. Before being appointed as Madras High Court Chief Justice, Tahilramani was heading the Bombay High Court as its Acting Chief Justice.

Days after the controversial transfer resolution was passed, Chief Justice Tahilramani submitted her resignation on September 7. In the ensuing days, a protest was registered over the controversial proposal from various quarters, including associations of the Madras Bar. On September 10, lawyers across Tamil Nadu also carried out a one-day court boycottYesterday, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court also dismissed a petition challenging the Collegium’s recommendation to transfer Justice Tahilramani as not maintainable.

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