Justice Manikumar initially resisted, but Madurai Bar Association convinced him to recall his judgment

A judge of the Madras High Court Bench here on Friday stated in the court hall that advocates could present their cases in Tamil.

Justice S. Manikumar made the oral declaration after the advocates raised a furore over his recent judgment dismissing two cases after G. Bhagavath Singh, an advocate, insisted on presenting them in Tamil.

In one of the cases, Mr. Singh appeared for Ayisha Banu, who claimed that her husband Bakeer Maideen’s passport was retained illegally by his employers in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Maideen was begging on the streets of Mecca, she claimed, and sought a direction to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, the Commissionerate of Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils and the Tuticorin Collector, to ensure the safe return of her husband.

In the other case, Mr. Singh appeared for Rajan, a teacher from Kanyakumari district, asking for a direction to the executive officer of Karunkal Panchayat to approve his house plan. According to Mr. Rajan, the executive officer had neither accepted nor approved the plan for his house, built in 2006, despite several reminders.

When the cases came up for hearing last week, Mr. Singh insisted that he wanted to present the cases in Tamil, but Justice Manikumar denied him permission and dismissed them, citing Constitutional Law and Supreme Court judgments.

The dismissal orders were widely criticised by advocates. The members of the Madurai Bar Association said they had a meeting with Justice Manikumar a few days ago and he agreed to recall his judgment.

Earlier this week, the case was listed in Justice Manikumar’s court for hearing. However, Mr. Bhagavath Singh refused to present his case before the judge. On Friday, around 30 advocates from Madurai Bar Association, headed by its secretary A.K. Ramasamy, were present in the court hall when the case came up for hearing.

They urged Justice Manikumar to make a declaration that advocates could argue in Tamil in the High Court. Subsequently, the judge made the declaration. The advocates opted for an appeal in both the cases, saying they did not want his orders recalled.


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