T.N. has 10 ST judges in district judiciary, 23-year-old Malayali tribe candidate is not the first: former judge K. Chandru

The former Madras High Court judge also advocated increasing the representation for Scheduled Tribe candidates in the judiciary

February 16, 2024 02:23 pm | Updated February 19, 2024 03:00 pm IST - CHENNAI

Former Madras High Court judge K. Chandru. File

Former Madras High Court judge K. Chandru. File | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Madras High Court former judge K. Chandru has expressed surprise over recent reports in a section of the media that said 23-year-old V. Sripathy from Yelagiri Hills in Tirupattur district had become the “first Scheduled Tribe woman” in the State to clear the written examination for appointment as a civil judge.

Mr. Chandru pointed out that many Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates from the State had achieved this feat in Tamil Nadu in the past, and even a serving female district judge belonged to a Scheduled Tribe.

The Hinduhad reported that Ms. Sripathy was the first woman civil judge hailing from the Malayali tribe, which is one of the several communities listed under the STs.

Doling out figures, Mr. Chandru said that as many as 10 Scheduled Tribe candidates were serving in the district judiciary in Tamil Nadu as on February 16, 2024. They included one judicial officer in the cadre of district judge, four in the cadre of senior civil judges and five civil judges.

The former judge also pointed out that one of the serving Sub Judges in Tamil Nadu was from Jawadhu Hills situated along the Yelagiri Hills in Tirupattur district from where Ms. Sripathy hails. “Therefore, it is wrong to say that only now have we got a tribal candidate as a civil judge,” he said.

Batting strongly in favour of increasing the representation for Scheduled Tribe candidates in the judiciary, he said, even if the 1% reservation given to the ST candidates in Tamil Nadu is taken into account, there should be around 15 district judges in T.N. at present, but there are only 10.

Mr. Chandru said there must be adequate representation for STs in the higher judiciary too, and said the Supreme Court collegium had also recognised such a need in March 2023 while recommending the name of an advocate to be appointed as a judge of the Gauhati High Court.

“The candidate belongs to a Scheduled Tribe. Besides his own competence and standing at the Bar, the appointment will bring greater diversity and inclusion to the High Court,” the collegium resolution read.

An earlier version of the article had wrongly mentioned that Chennai Principal Sessions Judge S. Alli belongs to the Scheduled Tribe community. It is actually another female judge in the district judge cadre.  
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