Several Madras High Court judges boycotted Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s “at home” reception on Wednesday, India’s Independence Day. The judges were reportedly miffed about the seating arrangement at Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony of the new chief justice of the High Court at the Raj Bhavan.
While Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani and some other judges were present at the reception, several chairs reserved for judges were unoccupied, PTI reported. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam also attended the event.
On Sunday, some judges had complained that they were made to sit behind ministers and police officers during Tahilramani’s swearing-in. Some judges had also reportedly asked whether it was a “deliberate act” by officials at the Raj Bhavan.
However, some reports claimed that Governor Purohit spoke to Tahilramani and apologised for the protocol error, following which the chief justice called for a meeting with the other High Court judges on Wednesday. She told them that Purohit apologised while extending an invitation for Wednesday’s reception, according to The Hindu. She reportedly also told them that the governor’s Principal Secretary R Rajagopal also apologised for the gaffe.
Soon after the swearing-in ceremony on August 12, Justice MS Ramesh wrote on a WhatsApp group of judges that he was dismayed at the “incautious protocol” for the High Court judges. “It was not only a disappointment but an issue of serious concern,” he said. The judges were also pushed out of their “legitimate seats” at another event in Madurai earlier this year, he alleged.
Advocate General Vijay Narayan had said the huge turnout of guests from Maharashtra may have led to the confusion. The new chief justice belongs to Maharashtra.