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October 5, 2020

Judge settles 345 cases in 24 hours

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Legal Court Judgement

Judge settles 345 cases in 24 hours

In what could be something that one has rarely heard of, Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court, conducted a 12 hour hearing marathon.  Being a judge in our current society is enormously complex. They are required not only to be good judges, who are in continuous training, but also to be close to the citizens and societal problems. Judges must demonstrate impartiality, independence, courtesy, diligence, responsibility and a constant commitment to public exemplariness that transmits security and confidence in the judiciary to society as a whole.

The conduct of Judges assures the public that the resolutions issued are fair and rigorous and that whoever exercises the judicial function is endowed with the necessary courage to declare and apply these rights when justice is concerned.

What extraordinary feat was achieved by Justice G.R. Swaminathan?

The Court Hall No. 12 of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court witnessed such efficiency and professional ethics on 1st October, 2020, which was the last day of the three-month sitting that began in July. While it in generally normal for judges to put in extra hours to complete the work in hand, what Justice Swaminathan did was unheard of.

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. He disposed of more than 300 cases out of the total 355 cases heard through video-conferencing. 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. 

Who is Justice G.R. Swaminathan?

Justice G.R. Swaminathan is a member of Bar Council from 1991. He practiced majorly or had expertise in Civil or Criminal or Constitutional Practice in the appellate side and handled all kinds of cases, civil criminal and constitutional. 

He was appointed in the Standing counsel for several Public Sector undertakings like LIC, BSNL, EPFO, New Indian Assurance, Madurai Corporation, Government of Kerala at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. He was also the Assistant Solicitor General of India for Madurai Bench from July 2014 till elevation as Judge of the Madras High Court in June 2017. 

He was also appointed by the Tamil Nadu Government to defend the police department in Paramakudi Firing incident before Justice Sampath Commission. He appeared in several major issues such as securing voter ID cards for transgenders, securing ban on sand mining for five years in Tamirabarani river, sustaining demonetisation etc.

Some earlier acclamations by Justice G.R. Swaminathan

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 always makes sure that all parties get at least the minimum relief, and they were rarely aggrieved.

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. 

In June 2019, Justice GR Swaminathan came out with a report card of sorts, detailing his case disposal rate over the two years he has served as a judge. In a letter, Justice GR Swaminathan revealed that he had disposed of a total of 21,478 cases. Of these, 18,944 cases were disposed of while he sat on a Division Bench and 2,534 cases were disposed of sitting singly. He also intimated that he had released this “performance card” as a measure of judicial accountability. He also announced his intention to tackle case pendency more effectively and had also sought the assistance of the Bar towards this objective.

The commitment and responsibility Justice GR Swaminathan shows are admirable and inspiring. In a world where people want to take the easy way out to get their work done, his hard work and dedication can prove to be an inspiration for all.

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