Justice S. Vaidyanathan Meghalaya High Court

Early Life and Education1

Justice S. Vaidyanathan was born on 17-08-1962 at Coimbatore to V. Subramanian. Justice Vaidyanathan’s father started his life as a shoe polish seller and later grew to be a committed trade unionist.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan did his schooling in Singaram Pillai High School Villivakkam, Chennai and graduation in B.A. (Economics) at D.G. Vaishnav College, Arumbakkam during 1979-82. He obtained his law degree from Madras Law College (now known as Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College) during 1982-85 and Post Graduate Diploma in Personal Management, Labour Welfare and Industrial Relations in 1986.

Did you Know? Justice Vaidyanathan’s father, V. Subramanian was the founder member of the first white-collared Employees’ Union in 1946, i.e., Madras Commercial Employees Union.

Career as an Advocate2

Justice Vaidyanathan got enrolled as an advocate on 27-08-1986 and started his practise in the Madras High Court and various Tribunals. His area of practice was mainly focused on labour, service, criminal and company matters.

Did you Know? Justice Vaidyanathan’s paternal grandfather L. S. Vaidyanathan served as a Superintendent, Copyist Section in the Madras High Court and retired in the year 1952.


Justice Vaidyanathan’s skills and humility were suitably rewarded when he was elevated on 25-10-2013 as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Madras and subsequently on 14-04-2015 he was elevated as a Permanent Judge of the High Court.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan also performed the duties of Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court with effect from 25-05-2023 after the retirement of Justice T. Raja, former Acting Chief Justice4.

Justice Vaidyanathan’s competency, judicial acumen and considerable experience in dispensing justice in one of the largest High Courts in the country was recognised by the Supreme Court Collegium when they recommended his name as the 12th Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court.

The Collegium’s recommendation was accepted by the Ministry of Law and Justice and the President of India on 02-02-2024 appointed Justice S. Vaidyanathan as Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya. He took charge of his new office on 11-02-2024.

Notable Judgments

Did you Know? During his tenure of 10 years as a Judge of Madras High Court, Justice S. Vaidyanathan authored 1219 reported judgments of which 692 were delivered during last 5 years5.

“Woman is not a pendulum and cannot be forced to swing between motherhood and employment”, Madras HC upholds maternity benefits

In the case titled Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Coimbatore) Ltd v. B. Rajeswari, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 143, filed against the order of the Single Judge directing the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation to treat the respondent’s maternity leave period as duty period for all purposes, the division bench of S. Vaidyanathan* and Mohammad Shaffiq, JJ. upheld the Single Judge order granting paid maternity leave to the respondent.

Without ascertaining whether information asked falls under the ambit of S. 8(1)(d) of RTI Act, PIOs rejecting RTI applications mechanically, should be shown doors: Madras HC

In Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission v. P. Muthian, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2167, the bench of S. Vaidyanathan, J., observed that officials adopting a tactic answer in a mechanical manner that the information sought for is exempted in the light of Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, without actually ascertaining as to whether the information sought falls within the ambit of the said provision should be shown doors.

Madras High Court dismisses lawyers’ pleas praying to participate as eligible candidates in direct recruitment to the post of Civil Judge

The division bench of S. Vaidyanathan* and K. Rajasekar, JJ., in K. Indulekha v Chairman, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 5086, filed to direct Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (‘TNPSC’) for permitting the petitioners to participate as eligible candidate in the direct recruitment to the post of Civil Judge in the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Service vide Advertisement and Notification dated 01-06-2023, as a special extraordinary case in view of the delay in enrolment with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry caused by the COVID -19 Pandemic induced lockdown, dismissed the writ petitions, noting that in the absence of any arbitrariness, infringement and fickleness, the petitioners are not entitled to any relief.

Madras High Court issues directions for making High Court and City Civil Court premises plastic free zone

In Tamil Nadu Pondy Plastic Association v. Government of Tamil Nadu, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 5081, seeking compliance for disposal of plastic wastes and other items that are likely to cause pollution to the environment and usage of alternatives, the division bench of S. Vaidyanathan and P.T. Asha, JJ. directed all the officials to implement in letter and spirit the directions issued by the Government periodically to achieve a plastic-free society. In the current order, the Court noted that the status report submitted by the respondent, suggested intensive steps being taken to bring awareness about single-use plastics (“SUP”) amongst the public in the form of meetings and setting awareness campaigns in schools, colleges, merchant’s associations, trader’s associations, local bodies, etc. Further, a campaign styled ‘Meendum Manchapai’ has been initiated at eliminating SUP carry bags along with declaring Koyambedu Market Complex a plastic-free zone.

Mushrooming Unemployment | Madras HC on menace of job racketing and scams cropping up | Detailed report on how a person fraudulently acted as an employee of Court cheated several people

Addressing the issue of the growing menace of job racketing and tackling the unemployment problem, Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and S. Vaidyanathan, JJ, in Ministry of Human Resources, In re., 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2947, suggested the Central and State Government promote entrepreneurs and create self-employment opportunities for youth so that the future of this country can be safeguarded from falling prey to such money mongering vultures. Instant suo motu writ petition was filed to direct the respondents 1 to 10 to conduct a thorough enquiry and register an FIR so as to proceed against respondents 11 to 15 for preparing and sending fake interview/appointment letters with an intention to defraud the innocent public with an oblique motive and to make unlawful gain and to proceed in accordance with law.

‘Amend! Make Human Rights Act a Complete Code’, Madras HC suggests to collective wisdom of Parliament

A Full Bench of S. Vaidyanathan, V. Parthiban and M. Sundar, JJ., in Abdul Sathar v. State6, held that the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission made under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (“Human Rights Act”) is binding on the Government or the Authority concerned. The Government is under a legal obligation to forward its comments on the Report including the action taken or proposed to be taken to the Commission in terms of sub-clause (e) of Section 18. Therefore, the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission under Section 18 is an adjudicatory order which is legally and immediately enforceable.

COVID 19 |Madras HC declines to interfere with conversion of railway coaches into isolation wards; passes injunction against videographing online proceedings, warns of penal liability

S. Vaidyanathan, J., in M. Munusamy v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 915, dismissed a petition filed for a direction to both the Union and T.N. Governments to increase a number of private hospitals to provide medical aid to the Corona infected patients instead of confining them in carriages for treatment, on the ground of lack of sanitation and infrastructure. The petitioner contended that both the Central and State Governments, instead of adding infrastructure facilities in private hospitals, have chosen to provide treatment to Corona affected persons in carriages for the reasons best known to them and those carriages would not have been maintained with proper sanitation, thereby leading to a health hazard to patients, who are going to be confined therein.

Repossession of goods by the financial institution in case of default in repayment of loan does not amount to theft

While setting aside the FIR registered against the officials of the Bank for an offence under Section 379 Penal Code, a bench of S. Vaidyanathan J., in HDFC Bank Limited v. State, 2015 SCC Online Mad 10573, ruled that no criminal action could be taken against the financier/ financial institution for repossessing the goods hypothecated with them in case of default in repayment of loan. In the instant case, a loan agreement was signed between the petitioner and the 2nd respondent for a sum of Rs.9,00,000/- for purchase of a car. The petitioner seized the car on default in the repayment of loan and kept it in their custody. The 2nd respondent filed a case against the officials of the Bank for an offence under Section 379 IPC. After registering the case, the 1st respondent Police sent a communication to the bank, asking them to surrender the vehicle, as the same is required for investigation as well as for production before the Court. Aggrieved by the same, the petitioner filed the present petition under Section 482 of CrPC to quash the FIR pending on the file of the 1st respondent Police.

Madras High Court draws distinction between “expiry date” and “best before date”

While discussing the issue that whether “expiry date” and “best before date” are similar as contended by the petitioner in the present case, the bench of S. Vaidyanathan, J., in Amrut Distilleries Limited v. Authorized Officer, 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 321, observed that there is a clear distinction between the two terms. While “expiry date” means the end of estimated period under any stated storage conditions, after which product probably will not have the quality and safety attributes normally expected by the consumers; whereas “best before date” means the period during which the product shall remain fully marketable and shall retain specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made. The Court further added that Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 has clearly drawn the distinction between the terms.

1. Madras High Court | Profile of Judges (tn.nic.in)

2. Chief Justice & Judges | High Court of Meghalaya (meghalayahighcourt.nic.in)

3. Madras High Court | Profile of Judges (tn.nic.in)

4. Justice Vaidyanathan named acting chief justice of Madras high court | Chennai News – Times of India (indiatimes.com)

5. SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (s3waas.gov.in)

6. WP No. 41791 of 2006

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