CHENNAI: Judges of Madras High Court were allegedly made to sit behind State ministers and police officers during the swearing-in of the new Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani at Raj Bhavan on Sunday.
A few judges have taken exception to this and questioned whether it was a "deliberate act" by Raj Bhavan officials.
Leading the charge was Justice M S Ramesh who said it was not only a disappointment but an issue of serious concern. "Was Raj Bhavan unaware of the hierarchy between the constitutional dignitaries and police officers? Or is it their understanding that the High Court judges rank below the order of Hon'ble Ministers and police officers? Being an official function, there cannot be a second opinion that the protocol to be extended was for the post and not the individual. I am given to understand from the High Court Registrar - liaison that his prior request to oversee the seating arrangements for the High Court judges was denied by Raj Bhavan. If it could be true, it is rather unfortunate that it can only be termed to be a deliberate act of extending a cold shoulder to us," he said, and added that judges deserve an explanation.
Justice Ramesh said earlier this year judges were pushed out of their legitimate seats during the Thirukalyanam at Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai to accommodate ministers and politicians. "The concern we had raised in this regard is yet to be answered," he said.
When contacted by Express, a senior Raj Bhavan official said they had not received any complaints from the high court regarding this.
Commenting on the issue, former Madras high court judge D Hariparanthaman said judges being constitutional authorities should have been given priority in the seating arrangements.
"It is very sad that our Hon'ble judges are being made to sit behind police officers. It is height of breach of protocol. Hereafter, the Governor should be invited to the high court to conduct the swearing-in ceremony to avoid any such humiliation to our judges," said senior advocate P Wilson.