Justice A. Selvam, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, has gone in search of greener pastures, literally. After demitting office on attaining the age of superannuation on April 4, he has settled down in a small house constructed at his native Pulankurichi village in Tiruppattur taluk of Sivaganga district and taken to organic farming.
Advocates who visited him recently were surprised to see him plough his five-acre ancestral field using a tractor. They shot a video of the former judge handling the tractor, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, with a towel tied around his head. The video went viral on social media and was appreciated by many lawyers.
When contacted over phone, Justice Selvam said there was nothing special about him doing farming because he was from an agricultural family. “My father was a farmer and I used to attend an arts college wearing dhoti since my family could not afford a pair of trousers. I began wearing trousers and footwear only after joining the law college. So all this is not new to me,” he said.
After joining the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in 1981 and practising for about five years, he was selected as a district munsif-cum-judicial magistrate in 1986.
He was promoted as a Sub Judge in 1989 and as a District Judge in 1997. He served as a judge of the Madras High Court for 12 years between 2006 and 2018.
During his tenure as the administrative judge of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, he had initiated a Statewide crackdown on the invasive ‘Seemai Karuvelam’ ( prosopis juliflora ) trees. Known for his integrity and simplicity, he refused to accept a formal farewell hosted at government cost on the day of his retirement.
He returned the official car as well as bungalow on the day of his retirement and shifted to his village “to breathe free air and lead a happy life amidst green fields,” he said.
He has made it a habit to consume only the paddy and fruits that he grows on his fields without using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
“I am now in a tryst with the law of nature, which can hardly be found in any book and I am loving it,” he adds.