Was the Raj Bhavan unaware of the hierarchy between the Constitutional dignitaries and the police officers, the judge asked.

Madras HC judge calls out TN govt over seating arrangements at CJ swearing-inImage/Livelaw.in
news Court Monday, August 13, 2018 - 08:43

The swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Justice of Madras High Court in Sunday left a sour impression on many of the judges who attended the ceremony. The seating arrangements, reportedly made with scant regard to the official protocol, is what is said to have caused annoyance to the judges.

Former Judge in the Bombay High Court, Vijaya Kamalesh Tahilramani, was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court on Sunday by Governor Banwarilal Purohit in Raj Bhavan. The judges of Madras High Court, who were guests, were made to sit behind ministers and police officers during the event.

Justice MS Ramesh, one of the judges present during the ceremony, expressed his disappointment at the protocol breach. He said that this breach was not only a disappointment but also an issue of serious concern.

“Was the Raj Bhavan unaware of the hierarchy between the Constitutional dignitaries and the police officers? Or is it their understanding that the HC Judges rank below the order of Hon'ble Ministers and Police Officers?” he questioned.

The judge also added that the senior officers of the court were not allowed to review the seating arrangements before the event.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the senior judges, including Justice Ramesh, were irked because many senior police officers and bureaucrats got front-row seats.

"For instance, the Governor’s secretary, R Rajagopal, was on the stage with Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan. Also, S R Jangid, a DGP-rank officer with close links to Rajagopal, was seated ahead of the judges," said the report. 

“I am given to understand from the HC Registrar – liasoning, that his prior request to oversee the seating arrangements for the HC Judges was denied by Raj Bhavan. If it could be true, it is rather unfortunate that it can only be termed to be deliberate act of extending a cold shoulder to us,” he wrote.

“I, as an individual, have no problem in being seated anywhere, but I as a judge of the High Court definitely have a problem with the incautious protocol followed today. The judges deserve an explanation from whosoever was responsible for this,” Justice Ramesh told Mohamed Imranullah S of The Hindu.

Demanding an explanation from the concerned officials on this breach, the justice also reminded the government about a similar incident that happened in Madurai during the Meenakshi Thirukalyanam earlier this year. He said that the concerns raised about the seating arrangements after that event have not been answered yet by the officers in-charge.

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