BENGALURU: The premises of the city civil and sessions courts, till a few years ago, resembled a warzone with seized vehicles and other items dumped across the premises and chaos inside as people struggled to get certified copies of records. However, all of this changed in September 2015 with the arrival of a new Registrar, Judge K M Radhakrishna. “Today, we work in a serene atmosphere and get copies on time. The entire face of the court complex has changed now,” said advocate Venkataramana Nayak.
Giving examples of the sweeping changes in procedure and maintenance brought about by Radhakrishna, Nayak said, “Stone benches in corridors, high mast light, dedicated parking spaces for litigants and advocates, an exit and entry point, hygiene, purified drinking water in all floors — a lot of changes have happened and the courts have become a model for others across the country. Judicial officers from neighbouring states visit our courts to study it,” Nayak said. The judge, recently transferred from the city civil and sessions courts, will take charge as a senior civil judge at Malavalli in Mandya district, soon.
Like Nayak, advocate B M Yashoda was also all praise for the Registrar. “Besides infrastructure, improving the process of liaison with government departments, the setting up of two child-friendly courts, a multi-storeyed building which is under construction and conservation of the heritage building in Mayo Hall, are also issues he worked on. We have never seen such a judicial officer who took risk and utilised maximum funds allocated for the benefit of legal fraternity,” she said.
Earlier, traders and residents of neighbouring business areas would use the court premises to park their vehicles. This left no place for the advocates and litigants to park their vehicles. Radhakrishna was instrumental in putting in place rules that vehicles would not be allowed before 9 am and after 8.30 pm. He got the traffic police to tow away vehicles parked beyond this time till the practice ended.
“Radhakrishna sir never tolerated violations. That is why even advocates found themselves being fined for violations within court premises. We learnt to carry out our duties without fear from him,” said
M Shivaraju, ASI with the Ulsoor Gate traffic police station.
His work as the Registrar extended far beyond ensuring the day-to-day functioning of the court. “Earlier, we were directly exposed to the hot sun, dust and rain as we were made to sit under steel roofs or zinc sheets adjacent to the compound wall. Now, we are accommodated in the ground floor of the court complex. Fans were fixed and mobile signal boosters were provided to help us do our job better. He must be retained here for at least another year,” said B Chitra, a notary.
“Usually we are the ones running around with papers to officials to get their signature or instruction. But even as a Registrar, Radhakrishna would himself come to us to save time. He would frequently visit all branches of the city civil court, CMM court and Mayo Hall courts. His move to install a biometric system of attendance, to insist on wearing ID cards, introducing a movement register for staff brought discipline and punctuality. We have never seen such a Registrar who has taken risk for the sake of litigants, advocates and staff in the history of city civil court established in 1980,” said an official in the city civil court.
He was also instrumental in allotting quarters to city court employees in Baiyappanahalli.
When asked to comment on his tenure here, the reticent judge declined to comment at length and simply said, “I did my job beyond expectations and provided justice to my profession.”
The rapport between advocates, police and journalists had taken a severe beating after an ugly fight between them in 2012. The situation had not improved for a long time. Radhakrishna acted as a peacemaker and brought back a cordial relationship between them, a police officer said.
Radhakrishna was born in a tiny village Keelagani in Mulbagal taluk of Kolar, a backward district. He practised as an advocate for six years till he was appointed as a civil judge and JMFC in 2004 through a competitive examination.