Justice K. Vinod Chandran was appointed as the Patna High Court’s Chief Justice on 24-03-20231. He was administered the oath of office by Governor of Bihar, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar at Raj Bhavan on 29-03-2023
At his farewell ceremony held at Kerala High Court, Chief Justice S. Manikumar, said that Justice Chandran has authored many judgments in different branches of law and made remarkable contributions to the development of law in the state. According to him, Justice Chandran’s farsightedness, coupled with extraordinary intellect and ability to decide even the most complex issues, is vividly reflected in his judgments. He is also known for his “by the book” approach within the legal fraternity.2
Early Life and Advocacy3
Justice K. Vinod Chandran was born on 25-04-1963. He obtained his Law Degree from Kerala Law Academy Law College, Thiruvananthapuram.
As an advocate Justice Chandran started his practice in 1991 in Court at Paravoor, Ernakulam and later extended the same to Kerala High Court. He practiced mainly in Civil, Constitutional, Taxation, Labor and Company Laws.4 He also served as Special Government Pleader (Taxes) of the Government of Kerala from 2007 to 2011.
Justice Chandran was appointed as Additional Judge of Kerala High Court and sworn-in on 08-11-2011. He was elevated as Permanent Judge of the Kerala High Court with effect from 24-06-2013.5
Did you Know? Justice Chandran was originally recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.6
Justice Chandran was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court by the President of India on 24-03-2023.
Notable Decisions by Justice K. Vinod Chandran
Kerala High Court | To Wear or Not to Wear Headscarf?
While hearing petitions by two female students belonging to the Muslim community contending that the dress code prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) of wearing half sleeve kurta/salvar would prejudice them, as their religious custom mandates them to wear a headscarf and also full sleeve dresses, K. Vinod Chandran*, J., held that the Muslim girl students could seek the imposition of their individual rights as against the larger right of the institution. Therefore, it was for the institution to decide whether the petitioners could be permitted to attend the classes with the headscarf and full sleeve shirt.
“…the analysis of the Quranic injunctions and the Hadiths would show that it is a farz to cover the head and wear the long sleeved dress except face part and exposing the body otherwise is forbidden (haram). When farz is violated by any action opposite to farz that action becomes forbidden (haram).”
“The right of women to have the choice of dress based on religious injunctions is a fundamental right protected under Article 25(1), when such prescription of dress is an essential part of the religion.”
[Nadha Raheem v. CBSE, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 21660]
Kerala High Court | Husband harasses wife, portrays her as a psychiatric patient; Court slams Child Right Commission for directing psychiatric treatment of wife without any medical assessment
The Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran and C. Jayachandran, JJ., slammed the Kerala State Commission for Child Rights for directing psychiatric treatment for wife of the accused without any jurisdiction. Expressing anguish over the factum that the Commission had aided the accused in trespassing the house of the victim and forcefully admitting her in the hospital, the Bench remarked,
“The case is very distressing insofar as, the 4th respondent, prima facie has been attempting to style his wife as a mental patient before various forums. By the continued harassment by the 4th respondent; employed in the Law Department of the State and was also once appointed as a temporary Magistrate, who was wont to use his official clout to witch-hunt the wife and children.”
[Balakrishnan v. Inspector General of Police7]
Kerala High Court | “Child molestation is a shame on society; but if the allegations are false, it is lethal to the life of the accused”; Court acquits father accused of raping his minor daughter
The Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran* and C. Jayachandran, JJ., acquitted the father accused of raping his own minor daughter. Considering the contention that the allegation was raised due to instigation by the stepmother, observing discrepancies in statements of victim and her stepmother and failure to prove age of the victim by the prosecution, the Bench remarked,
“Forensic and semantics apart, child molestation is a shame on society; but if the allegations are false, it is lethal to the life of the accused, more so if the accused is a parent; even if he is eventually acquitted.”
[K. Raghavan v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 4134]
Kerala High Court | Priest of Temple commits penetrative sexual assault on young girl; Court observes which God would accept obeisance and offerings of such Priest or make him a medium?
Expressing, “When a man abandons his wife and children, roving vultures wait to prey on not only the abandoned woman, but also the helpless children” Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran* and Ziyad Rahman A.A., JJ., noted a case wherein a priest/oracle of a temple took the abandoned woman and three children under his wing and repeatedly molested the elder girl child in the presence of her siblings. Noting the above stated horrendous act of the priest, Bench expressed,
“We wonder which God would accept the obeisance and offerings of such. Priest or make him a medium?”
[Madhu v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 3561]
Kerala High Court | Observing the signs of mental disturbance; Court refuses to remove a 21-year-old from the custody of parents
In an interesting case regarding custody of a major the Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran* and M.R. Anitha, JJ., refused to invoke parens patriae doctrine on observing signs of obsession coupled with hysteria in the detenue and directed the detenue to be retained with her parents at her parental home.
[Kailas Natarajan v. District Police Chief, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 337]
Kerala High Court | From promotions to vacancies, even where there is no direct recruitment, the 3% quota for disabled persons has to be complied with; Court reiterates
While allowing the petition filed by BSNL against the order of Central Administrative Tribunal, the Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran* and V.G. Arun, JJ., upheld the claim of the respondent for consideration of promotion as Sub Divisional Engineer (“SDE”) in 3% disability quota under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.
[Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. v. M.G Prabhakara Panicker, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 8664]
Kerala High Court | If a particular income is not taxable under Income Tax Act, it cannot be taxed on basis of estoppel or any other equitable doctrine; Court reiterates principles for recovery under Income Tax Act
While answering the law points in favour of the Revenue department, restrained from any recovery of the amounts refunded, Vinod Chandran J., held that since as of now the levy of service tax on the payment in lieu of foreign agency commission will not be leviable as ‘Business Auxiliary service’ prior to 18-04-2006.
[Uniroyal Marine Exports v. CCE, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 5175]
Kerala High Court | Judicial Officer who completed age of 58 years cannot be recommended by Supreme Court Collegium as a Judge
While addressing an appeal by one of the senior-most District Judges in High Judicial Service of the State, a Division Bench of K. Vinod Chandran* and V.G. Arun, JJ., held that Judicial Officer who completed age of 58 years cannot be recommended by Supreme Court Collegium as a Judge.
[John K. Illikkadan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 495]
Kerala High Court | Court prohibits publications seeking kidney donations even if they do not establish any commercial arrangement
While deciding a batch of writ petitions dealing with permission to publish advertisements in print media seeking donation of kidneys from altruistic donors from the public, K. Vinod Chandran*, J. held that the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act of 1994 does not prohibit such publications as long as no financial arrangement is made between the parties.
[Moideen E.M. v. State of Kerala, 2017 SCC OnLine Ker 21219]
Kerala High Court | Disqualification from contesting as candidate in a local authority election on ground of defection, upheld
In a writ filed by the petitioner against an order of the Kerala State Election Commission, according to which the petitioner had defected and was disqualified to be a member of the Ramamangalam Gama Panchayat and also from contesting as candidate in an election to any local authority for a period of six years as per Kerala Local Authorities (Prohibition of Defection) Act, 1999, K. Vinod Chandran*, J. upheld the Commission’s order and dismissed the petition.
[Jessie Raju v. Communist Party of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Ker 7860]
1. Justice K. Vinod Chandran appointed as Chief Justice of Patna HC, Department of Justice Notification
2. Delay in elevation made everyone happy: Justice K Vinod Chandran, Times of India
6. Delay in elevation made everyone happy: Justice K Vinod Chandran, The Times of India
7. WP(Crl.) No. 413 of 2021(S),