MADURAI: The Court Hall No. 12 of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court was still active when the clock ticked towards eight on Thursday evening — the last day of the three-month sitting that began in July.
While it is not unusual to witness judges put in extra hours, what made Thursday special was the 12-hour marathon hearing conducted by Justice G R Swaminathan in the hall mentioned above.
Though hearings normally start at 10.30 am and end at 4.45 pm, Justice Swaminathan started one-and-a-half hours early at 9.00 am and continued for 12 hours straight.
There were 296 cases on his list on Thursday. He not only heard all 296 cases but also called for an additional list containing 59 cases.
Of the total 355 cases heard on Thursday through video-conference, he disposed of more than 300 cases, court sources said. Such was the commitment of the judge that when the proceedings stopped at 9 pm, the advocates present during the video-conference gave Swaminathan a standing ovation.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, advocate S Srinivasa Raghavan said this was not the first time that the judge’s commitment to his profession was on display.
“Three months ago, Justice Swaminathan represented India in an international conference on LGBT Rights and had to avail of leave. Though he was absent from court for only one day, he worked extra hours for nearly five days to compensate his absence. He never wants to waste the working hours.”
The commitment and responsibility he shows are laudable and inspiring, he added. Advocate RM Arun Swaminathan said when some advocates could not connect through video-conference due to practical difficulties, Justice Swaminathan made the court officer call the advocates on their numbers and heard the cases.
“He always makes sure that all parties get at least the minimum relief, and we are rarely aggrieved,” he added. He thanked not just the judge but also the staff and government counsel rendering assistance to the judge.