Justice S. Manikumar, who spent almost 4 decades serving the Law in various capacities – whether as an advocate or a Judge or as Chief Justice, is all set to retire today. Hence, we have made an attempt to gather all that is to know about Justice Manikumar's life and career, along with some of his important decisions.
Early Life and Education1
Justice S. Manikumar was born on 24-04-1961. He graduated in Chemistry with First Class from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Chennai. He obtained his Bachelor of Law degree from Dr Ambedkar Law College, Chennai in 1983.
Justice S. Manikumar got enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu on 23-11-1983. He started his practice in the Madras High Court and Central Administrative Tribunals on constitutional and service matters.
He also represented as the counsel for the Government of Tamil Nadu, in Tamil Nadu State Administrative Tribunal and on the civil side at Madras High Court. He also appeared as the Government Advocate and as an Additional Government Pleader for the Departments of Education, Prohibition and Excise, Cinema and Co-operative Societies, Government of Tamil Nadu.
Did You Know? Justice S. Manikumar practised under the guidance of his father, Shri K. Swamidurai, who later adorned the Bench of the Madras High Court.
Justice Manikumar also represented the Selection Committee (Medical Admissions), Counsel for Tamil University, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai.
Justice Manikumar also served as the Panel Counsel for the International Airport Authority of India, BSNL, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Dindigul Central Co-operative Bank, and Tamil Nadu Adi-Dravidar Housing & Development Corporation.
Justice Manikumar also had the privilege of appearing as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel for the Government of India, from July 2004 (the post of late has been redesignated as Assistant Solicitor General of India). He also appeared for the Registry of the Madras High Court in Service matters.
Judgeship of the High Courts3
Justice S Manikumar was sworn in as the Additional Judge of the Madras High Court on 31-07-2006 and as a Permanent Judge on 09-11-2009. He remained a Judge of the Madras High Court till 09-10-2019.
As the office of the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court became vacant after the elevation of its former Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended the name of Justice S. Manikumar, who was at that time the senior-most Judge of Madras High Court, to be appointed as the next Chief Justice. He was then sworn in as the 36th Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court on 11-10-2019.
Committee Memberships and Chairmanships4
Justice S. Manikumar served as a Member and Head/Chairman of many committees in Madras High Court.
He was a member of the Computer Committee, Library Committee, Mediation & Conciliation Committee (Principal Seat and Madurai Bench).
He also served as the Member and Head of the Committee on Transfers, Postings, Review, and Assessment of Munsiffs/ Magistrates/ Subordinate Judges,
Justice Manikumar was also part of Committee to consider the promotion of Judicial Officers from the cadre of Civil Judge to Senior Civil Judge and from Senior Civil Judge to District Judge (Entry level); and Committee to consider the promotion of Officers from the feeder categories to the cadre of Joint Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Assistant Registrar, and Sub Assistant Registrar in the Madras High Court service and Committee for designation as Senior Advocates.
Justice Manikumar also had the opportunity to serve as a Member and President of the Board of Governors of the Tamil Nadu Judicial Academy; Executive Chairman of Union Territory of Puducherry Legal Services Authority; and Chairman of the Committee to consider the grievances of the Bar.
Chairman of the Special Committee for awarding of ACP scales of pay to the Judicial Officers of Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service and Puducherry Judicial Service and Chairman of the Committee for implementation of Juvenile Justice Act.
Justice Manikumar was also the Member and Chairman of the Committee for considering matters under the Right to Information Act and Chairman of the High Court Legal Services Committee.
Furthermore, Justice S. Manikumar acted as the Chairman of various Committees like- Re-employment Committee; Committee for Sensitization of the Family Court matters; Special Committee to consider the compliance of the judgment of Supreme Court in Imtiyaz Ahmed v. State of UP, (2017) 3 SCC 658, with regard to implementation of the Interim Report of the Chairperson of the National Court Management Systems Committee concerning requirement of enhancing the Judges' strength for the District Judiciary and as Chairman for the Advisory Board for COFEPOSA and Black Marketing.
Notable Decisions of Justice S. Manikumar5
Kerala High Court issues notice to Centre & State in a PIL seeking extension of facilities to every person with disability in need of special assistance irrespective of percentage of disability
In a PIL seeking extension of facilities to every person with a disability in need of special assistance irrespective… of the percentage of disability, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar CJ., and Shaji P. Chaly J., issued notice to Central Government and State of Kerala. Read more…
[Blessen Baby v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 4269]
Bar on Government servants to engage in strikes? Kerala High Court elaborates
While expressing that, it is the duty of the welfare Government to protect not only the citizens but to continue with, all the Government work as expected, the Division Bench of S Manikumar, CJ., and Shaji P Chaly J., directed that government servants should be prevented from engaging in a strike. Read More…
[Chandra Chooden Nair S v. State of Kerala6,]
In the film industry, would production units have to constitute Internal Complaints Committee to deal with harassment against women? Kerala High Court elaborates
While expressing that, any organizations, establishments, or private institutions are employing workers whether for wages or not in contemplation of the provisions of the Act, 2013 coming under the definition of employer, employees, they are duty-bound to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J., held that, a production unit of each film industry is an establishment employing Actor Artists and other workers and therefore, such production units have to maintain an Internal Complaints Committee if they are engaging more than 10 workers. Read More..
[Women in Cinema Collective v. State of Kerala, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 1436,]
Kerala High Court | Elected Independent Candidate joining a political party or coalition shall acquire disqualification as per Section 3(1)(c) of the Kerala Local Authorities (Prohibition of Defection) Act
In an appeal filed challenging the judgment of the Single Judge upholding the State Election Commission's order of disqualifying the appellant from being a member of the Gram Panchayat and for further contesting as a candidate in an election to any local authorities for a period of six years, a Division Bench of S Manikumar, CJ., and Shaji P Chaly, J., upheld the said decision and observed that the appellant has violated the requirements of law; which is clear proof to show that the appellant has joined the coalition in terms of the provisions of the Act and the Rules and contested and won the election as a candidate fielded by the said political party/ coalition. Read More…
[Sheeba George v. State Election Commission of Kerala, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 4808, ]
Kerala High Court | Re-consideration of Minority status of Muslims and Christians; HC rejects plea stating a few people being rich does not determine advancement of whole community
The Division Bench of S.Manikumar, CJ, and Shaji P Chaly, J., rejected the petition seeking direction to the State government to re-consider minority status of Muslims and Christians in the State. The Bench stated
“Merely because there are a few people who are rich in the minority communities one cannot be expected to understand that their richness is due to them belonging to minority communities and…it cannot be taken for granted that the entire members of the minority are economically and socially advanced.” Read More…
[Citizen's Association for Democracy, Equality, Tranquility and Secularism, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2931,]
Kerala High Court | GST on petrol and diesel; HC seeks Centre's take on inclusion of petrol and diesel under the GST regime
The Division Bench comprising of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P Chaly, J. asked the Union Government if petrol and diesel should fall under GST regime,the Bench granted six weeks time to the Centre to decide the same. Read More…
[Kerala Pradesh Gandhi Darshanvedhi v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2674]
Kerala High Court| Dairy farm shutdown and exclusion of chicken/ meat from Mid-Day Meal; HC stays two controversial orders of Lakshadweep Administration
The Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ., and Shaji P Chaly, J., stayed the orders of Lakshadweep Administration to shut down dairy farms and ban chicken and meat in the midday menu. The Bench stated
“There cannot be a dispute that the National Programme of Mid- Day Meal in Schools, Annual Work Plan and Budget 2020-21 has to be implemented by Union Territory, and viewed in that angle, prima facie we are of the view that switching over to a different menu with the exclusion of chicken and meat would run contrary to the National Plan especially, when it is constituted with the avowed object of ensuring the physical and mental health of the children.” Read More…
[Ajmal Ahmed R v. Union of India, 2021 SCC Online Ker 2660]
Kerala High Court | Can State sub-classify minority communities for extending scholarship benefits? HC holds scheme of granting 80% minority scholarship to Muslims cannot legally sustain
The Division Bench comprising of S.Manikumar, CJ. and Shaji P. Chaly, J., addressed the issue… of disparity shown by the State… regarding grant of scholarship to the… minority community in the State. The Bench held that
“The orders passed by the State Government viz., Exhibits P2, P3 and P4 show that clear discrimination is shown by… favoring a particular minority community by providing scholarships in the ratio of 80:20, i.e., 80% to Muslims and 20% to the Latin Catholic Christians and Converted Christians, which is not the letter and spirit of the provisions Act, 1992 and the Act, 2014. Moreover, the mandates contained under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India are clearly violated by the State Government in the matter of the award of scholarships.” Read More...
[Justine Pallivathukkal v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2551]
Kerala High Court| “Why are spouse or relatives of each MLA required to be present in the ceremony”? HC allows physical swearing-in ceremony of newly elected government with certain restriction
The Division Bench of S. Manikumar CJ., and Shaji P. Chaly, J., allowed the physical Swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected government. The Bench issued detailed directions to be followed in the ceremony. The Bench remarked,
“We are unable to understand as to why the spouse or relatives of each MLA is required to be present in the ceremony and when they are not, indispensable, either for the performance of the performance of the ceremony or for witnessing.” Read More..
[Chikithsaneethi v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 2194]
Kerala High Court | Packaged drinking water units not to continue without proper clearance and permits; no low-quality ice bars to be distributed: Detailed report on Unauthorized Packaged Drinking Water units operating in State
The Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ. and Shaji P Chaly, J., issued directions to State to ensure that unauthorized drinking water units were not functioning in the State and that the packaged drinking water units were functioning with licenses. Read More..
[Human Rights Commission v. Kerala State Ground Water Department, 2021 SCC Online Ker 3502]
Are the sanitary workers employed in the Municipalities of the State entitled to be regularised with time scale of pay on completion of three years of service? Madras High Court answers
Madras High Court: In review applications filed by applicants seeking to review the order passed by the Division Bench of the Court questioning whether the sanitary workers employed in the Municipalities of the State are entitled to be regularised with time scale of pay on completion of three years of service, a Full Bench of S. Manikumar, S. Nagamuthu and R Mahadevan, JJ., held that persons employed as sanitary workers and covered by Government order no. 101 dated 30-04-1997 and Government Order No. 71 dated 05-05-98 are entitled to be regularized after the completion of the respective period under consolidated pay as specified in the Government Orders from the date of their initial appointment.
[The Secretary to Government v. V. Marisamy, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 1833,]
Even after death, caste and factionalism, have given rise to law/order situation; Madras High Court permits Chennai Corporation to provide graveyard exclusively to the Muslim community
In a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a writ to call for the records pertaining to the order dated 1-7-2018 allotting 0.24.5 hectares (60.5 cents) for the Muslim burial ground out of the total area of 2.20.0 hectares, in a survey of Injambakkam Village, as well as seeking quashing of the same, a Division Bench of S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., held that that communal and religious harmony should be maintained, for peaceful living of all Sections of the society, and thus directed the District Administration to take adequate measures to ensure the same.
[Saravanan v. District Collector, 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 26778,]
Madras High Court denies relief to lawyer filing PIL seeking protection of Purisai Village Velalar Street Panchayat well by covering it with barbed wire
In a PIL filed a practising lawyer of Madras High Court seeking directions from the District Collector (respondent) to protect Purisai Village Velalar Street Panchayat well, by covering it with protective barbed wire, to prevent any form of miscreants to the well and to ensure usage of the well by the villagers, without any hindrance or blockage of the pathway to the well as well in the street, by dumping the construction materials, affecting the free flow of ingress, egress to the well and the road traffic, by considering the representation, a Division Bench of S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., held that just because allegations have been made against an individual, mandamus directing the respondents to protect Purisai Village Velalar Street Panchayat well by covering it with protective barbed wire to prevent any form of miscreants to the well and to ensure the usage of the well by the villagers without any hindrance or blockage of the pathway to the well as well in the street by dumping the construction materials affecting the free flow of ingress, egress to the well and the road traffic, cannot be granted.
[S. Sivakumar v. District Collector, 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 11559,]
6. WP (C) 10478 of 2022