Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Justice C.T. Ravikumar: Law clerk’s son set to become Supreme Court judge

Born on January 6, 1960, Justice Ravikumar obtained his Law degree from the Government Law College, Kozihkode and got enrolled as an advocate on July 12, 1986.

He had started his practice in Mavelikkara, Kerala and thereafter before the High Court of Kerala and Subordinate Courts in Ernakulam in various civil, criminal, service and labour matters. He has also worked as Govt Pleader, Senior Govt Pleader and Special Govt Pleader and as Special Government Pleader (SC/ST).

Justice Ravikumar has been a judge of the Kerala High Court for the last 12 and a half years. He was sworn-in as Additional Judge of High Court of Kerala on January 5, 2009 and appointed as Permanent Judge of the High Court of Kerala with effect from December 15, 2010. Before being elevated, he was the second senior most Judge of the Kerala High Court.

Justice Ravikumar is also the Executive Chairman, Kerala State Legal Services Authority, which provides free legal aid services to the weaker sections of the society and also organises Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

In his farewell reference, Justice Ravikumar thanked his parents, father late K Devan, who was a Bench Clerk in Judicial first Class Magistrate Court, Changnassery, mother late Saraswathy and his elder sister, late Radhamani.

Justice Ravikumar has had the opportunity to deal with varied cases, in which he has applied his judicial mind with great finesse.

In 2013, Justice Ravikumar was faced with the famous SNC Lavalin corruption case. Justice Ravikumar in P.A. Sidhartha Menon v. the Deputy Superintendent of Police (2013), in the context of the right to speedy trial observed that “law is long but life is short” and directed splitting up of the case so that the right to speedy trial is not defeated. It is his Lordship’s focus on justice that has gotten him this far and will carry him way further.

Thereafter, in 2016, the bench of Justice Ravikumar and Justice Jyothindranath in the case of L.Mini & Ors vs Gireeshkumar & Anr, in a motor vehicle claims appeal having regard to the concept of a welfare state, made the government liable to compensate the deceased or the injured vehicle owner. The Bench held that “Roads to ply the vehicles are provided and maintained by the Government. Under such a circumstance, there will be a welfare state liability for the Government which will partially eclipse the maxim volunti non fit injuria and fault liability theory.” It noted that the government can either shoulder it by itself or can fasten liability upon the authorised insurance company by statutorily making it liable over and obove the liability of the insured for which an appropriate change in the Motor Vehicles Act was the need of the day.

In 2019, the Bench of Justice Ravikumar and Justice VG Arun in the case of Kerala Public Service Commission v. Radha S. considered the case of disqualification of teaching candidates on the ground that they had not submitted their NET qualification certificates on time. It observed that the incomplete applications were due to technical glitches in the Public Service Commission’s website and not the fault of the candidates. The PSC had also decided to admit applications which was restricted to candidates in subjects which had not been interviewed for. The Court held this to be a “hostile discrimination” violating Article 14.

The Bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar, Justice CK Abdul Rehim and Justice Ravikumar in a suo moto case took note of the impact of national lockdown when it was first imposed. The Bench held that the right of personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 should not be infringed by arresting an accused except in matters where arrest in inevitable.

Also Read: Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka: From Thane district Court to the Supreme Court

The Kerala High Court also exercises jurisdiction over important religious shrines and events. Many people comment on the actions of the judiciary without knowing the reasons. I think sometimes the work of judges is very rightly called a thankless job. The it is indisputable that the current pandemic has hurt many.

Recently the Bench of Justice Ravikumar and M. Purushothaman in March 2021 in a Suo Motu case concerning the Travancore Devaswom Board noted that the virtual queue system of the Kerala Police was resulting in under-utilisation of permitted number of pilgrims at Sabrimala. Therefore the number of pilgrims was raised to 10,000.

The Advocate General of Kerala has said that the judgments of Justice Ravikumar are “testimonials of his absolute faith in the rule of law and compassion for the lesser privileged”.

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