The Revenue Bar Association (RBA), Chennai has addressed a representation to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana against the proposed transfer of Justice TS Sivagnanam from the Madras High Court to the Calcutta High Court.
Justice Sivagnanam was one among several High Court judges who were recommended for transfer by the Supreme Court Collegium earlier this month.
The RBA has voiced concern that the transfer of Justice Sivagnanam to the Calcutta High Court would lead to a vacuum in the Madras High Court, which would affect the dispensation of justice especially in tax cases and specially ordered cases.
"On account of the retirement/elevation of the senior judges of the High Court of Judicature at Madras, the recommended transfer of Hon’ble Justice TS Sivagnanam to Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta would affect adversely affect the citizens/taxpayers in the state of Tamil Nadu during this hour of need," the letter stated.
The letter highlighted that the senior judge has headed the Tax Bench along with other Benches at the Madras High Court for several years, disposed of a number of cases and rendered landmark judgments involving complex and substantial questions of law. It was further noted that the judge has disposed of over 70,000 cases and 65,000 miscellaneous applications.
The letter added that Justice Sivagnanam heads or is part of several administrative committees, including the Computer Committee, the Recruitment Committee, the Finance Committee, the Heritage Committee, the Arbitration and Mediation Committee, apart from serving as the President of the Board of Governors at the Tamil Nadu Judicial Academy.
"Justice TS Sivagananam also pioneered in bringing the video conference during the unprecedented ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic and successfully implemented the same seamlessly. His Lordship, further disposed of numerous final hearing tax case appeals through Video Conferencing Mode involving voluminous and complex legal issues paving way for all other courts in the country to emulate," the letter stated.
The RBA also pointed out that the recent months have seen several senior judges leave the Madras High Court due to retirement or elevation to the High Court. Justices R Subbiah, N Kirubakaran and M Sathyanarayanan have retired in the recent months, while another senior judge, Justice MM Sundresh was elevated to the Supreme Court.
As such, the Association has called for Justice Sivagnanam to be retained in the Madras High Court.
"Therefore, we humbly pray that your Lordship reconsider the recommendation to transfer Hon’ble Justice TS Sivagnanam to Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta and retain his Lordship at the High Court of Judicature at Madras in the interest of justice," the letter said.
Similar letters have been addressed to the President of India and Union Law Minister as well.
Justice Sivagnanam is presently the second-senior most Judge of the Madras High Court after Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee.
Born in 1963, Justice Sivagnanam obtained his law degree from the Madras Law College and enrolled with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1986. He joined the chambers of Senior Advocate R Gandhi.
During his years of legal practice, he has served as Additional Central Government Standing Counsel, an empaneled counsel for the Southern Railway, Senior Panel Counsel for the Central Government, Panel Counsel for the All India Council for Technical Education, Senior Panel Counsel for the Customs and Central Excise Department, and Special Counsel for the Department of Revenue.
In 2009, he was appointed an additional judge of the Madras High Court. He was made a permanent High Court judge in 2011.