As videos of (Retd) Justice A Selvam ploughing a field on a tractor are going viral, he says he always wanted to cultivate lands.

Formerly a Madras High Court judge A Selvam is now a happy farmer
news Human Interest Friday, August 03, 2018 - 16:25

Two videos of former Madras High Court judge A Selvam have been going viral on social media for the last few days, for all good reasons. Clad in a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, and a towel tied around his head, the veteran judge is seen ploughing a field on a tractor with aplomb.

After his superannuation at the age of 62, A Selvam took off to his native Pulankurichi in Tiruppattur Taluk of Sivaganga district, to pursue what he always wanted to do - agriculture.

"In times when retired judges take up post-retirement jobs as a one-member commission or as a judicial member of a tribunal, Judge A Selvam, who served as a high court judge for 13 years is now doing agriculture in his land,” read a part of the WhatsApp message in Tamil.

When told about the message, Judge Selvam laughs it off and saying that it was what he wanted to do for a long time.

“Agriculture is my original profession and I don’t feel a big shift from my past profession as a judge,” he says.

A Selvam comes an agricultural family that has been growing crops for around 100 years. “Fortunately or unfortunately, I studied well and hence was sent off to Madurai to study Law,” quips the retired judge, who served as a judge in Madurai and then came to Chennai as a Judge at the request of Justice Sanjay Kishen Kaul in 2015.

Retired in April 2018, the former judge is now tilling his five-acre ancestral field in Pulankurichi. 

A typical day for A Selvam begins at 6 am and ends at 6 p.m. He ploughs the land himself, drives the tractor and knows all the operations related to agriculture.

“Now, I have sowed paddy in the field. Once I harvest it, I will sow vegetables and groundnut. Paddy is the main crop here,” he says, adding that instead of paying someone from outside to work in his field, he finds it gratifying to learn the activity by himself and doing it.

Law is a closed chapter

Starting his legal career in 1981, he gradually rose from being an additional judge in Tiruvannamalai District court to being one of the permanent judges of the Madras High Court. 

In a career spanning 31 years, Judge A Selvam has delivered at least 10 judgments in open courts and has hardly reserved an order.

Recalling his long career in the judiciary, he says, “From my personal experience, I can say that the judiciary is not very effective in India. I am not blaming the Judiciary entirely for this, but this helps the corrupt politicians to thrive. The Judiciary should be independent and must do its job of serving the people."

He also fondly recollects the three former judges of the Supreme Court whom he had admired for their work during the course of his career -- Justice VR Krishna Iyer, Justice KT Thomas and Justice Panicker Radhakrishnan.

“I had an opportunity to meet and spend time with Justice VR Krishna Iyer in Kochi, a week before he passed away. I will cherish that memory. Although I do not know much about the three judges personally, I always look up to their judgments and their actions,” he says.

In fact, he exercised these principles in his life, on the day of his retirement. He handed over his car keys immediately after his tenure and went home from the Madras High Court in his personal car.

Now that he has “closed one chapter in his life”, as he puts it, judge Selvam signs off saying, “What gives me true happiness is doing agriculture on my land here and get a good harvest. It feels great to be in the midst of nature.”