Kerala High Court

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Kerala High Court
കേരള ഉന്നത ന്യായാലയം
Kerala Unnatha Nyayalayam
High Court of Kerala Building.jpg
High Court complex from outside
Established 1956
Country  India
Location Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala
Composition method Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.
Authorized by Constitution of India
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of India
Judge term length Until 62 years of age
Number of positions 27
Chief Justice
Currently Ashok Bhushan

The High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The High Court of Kerala is headquartered at Ernakulam, Kochi. Drawing its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has the power to issue directions, orders and writs including the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for ensuring the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution to citizens or for other specified purposes. The High Court is empowered with original, appellate and revisional jurisdiction in civil as well as criminal matters, and the power to answer references to it under some statutes. The High Court has the superintendence and visitorial jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals of inferior jurisdiction covered under its territorial jurisdiction.

At present, the sanctioned Judge strength of the High Court of Kerala is 27 Permanent Judges including the Chief Justice and 12 Additional Judges.[1] Depending on the importance and nature of the question to be adjudicated, the judges sit as Single (one judge), Division (two judges), Full (three judges) or such other benches of larger strengths.

The foundation stone for the new multi-storied building now housing the High Court of Kerala was laid on 14 March 1994 by the then Chief Justice of India, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah. The estimated cost of construction was 10 crore Indian rupees.[2] The construction was completed in 2005 at a cost of 85 crore[clarification needed] Indian rupees. The completed High Court building was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Y. K. Sabharwal on 11 February 2006. The new High Court building is equipped with modern amenities like videoconferencing, air conditioned courtrooms, intranet, facilities for retrieval of order copies and publishing of the case status via the internet. The building is built on 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and has a built-up area of 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2) over nine floors. The building has in it a post office, bank, medical clinic, library, canteens and such other most needed utilities and services. The High Court of Kerala has moved to its new building from the date of its inauguration, from the adjacent Ram Mohan Palace, where it had been functioning.

History of judicial system in the State of Kerala[edit]

The present State of Kerala is result of integrating the erstwhile princely kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin with Malabar district and Kasaragod. The present judicial system in Kerala has its roots dating back to the days of the monarchs of the Kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin.

In 1811, following the 1808 insurrection against British Cochin and Quilon, Colonel H. M. Munro succeeded Colonel Macaulay as the Resident in Travancore with supervision over the Kingdom of Cochin. Following an investigation into the rampant lawlessness and the abuse of the system, Colonel Munro surveyed the region with his assistant Captain Blacker and established reforms including courts, pensions, construction of roads, bridges and schools. He functioned as the Diwan until February 1818 when he handed over the reins to Nanjappayya of Coimbatore. Thus it was Colonel Munro laid the foundations for a systematic legal system, resulting in the present day scenario. Until his time, there were no independent tribunals for the administration of justice.[3][citation needed]

Judicial system in the Kingdom of Travancore[edit]

In the Kingdom of Travancore, Colonel Munro recommended necessary regulations to be passed for the reorganisation of the Courts. These recommendations were accepted by the then Travancore monarch and a Regulation in tune to his recommendations was passed in 1811. Zilla Courts and a Huzur Court were established in the Kingdom of Travancore, in the years 1811 and 1814 respectively. Colonel Munro established five zilla (District) courts in A.D 1811 at Padmanabhapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Mavelikkara, Vaikom and Aluva. Huzur Court, which functioned as the final appellate Court was later replaced by Sadar Court in 1861. Sadar Court, which possessed almost all the powers of the present High Court of Kerala, continued functioning until 1881. Later in 1887, the High Court of Travancore was established with bench strength of five judges. One among the five judges was appointed as the Chief Justice. The judges had the assistance of a Pundit, who acted like an amicus curiae to advice them on the various points of Hindu law. Mr. Ramachandra Iyer was appointed as the first Chief Justice, at his prime age of 35.

Judicial system in the Kingdom of Cochin[edit]

In the Kingdom of Cochin, Desavazhis and Naduvazhis were empowered to settle the disputes following the prevailing customary law. More serious matters used to be attended by the monarch himself. In 1812, for the first time in its history, graded law courts were established under the Diwanship of Colonel Munro, in the Kingdom of Cochin. The first Subordinate Courts (Sub Courts) were established by Colonel Munro at Trichur (Thrissur) and Tripunithura. Until 1835, Huzur Court was the final appellate Court. Huzur Court had a bench strength of three judges. Later the Huzur Court was reconstituted as Rajah's Court of Appeal and Subordinate Courts were reconstituted as Zilla Courts. The Zilla Courts were empowered with unlimited jurisdiction, but subject to the confirmation from the Rajah's Court of Appeal. The Rajah's Court of Appeal was reconstituted as the Chief Court of Cochin in 1900. The Chief Court of Cochin had three permanent judges one of whom acted as the Chief Judge. Mr. S. Locke was appointed as the first Chief Judge. Later the Chief Court of Cochin was reconstituted as the High Court, during the Diwanship of Sri. Shanmukham Chettiyar.

After the integration of Travancore and Cochin kingdoms[edit]

After India gained her independence on 15 August 1947, the Kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin were integrated to form the Travancore-Cochin State or Thiru-Kochi on 1 July 1949. Later, the High Court of Travancore-Cochin was established at Ernakulam on 7 July 1949 under the Travancore-Cochin High Court Act (1949). Mr. Puthupally Krishna Pillai was the last Chief Justice of High Court of Travancore-Cochin.[citation needed]

Establishment of High Court of Kerala[edit]

On 1 November 1956, the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 was passed thereby integrating the State of Travancore-Cochin with Malabar district and Kasaragod to form the present State of Kerala. The High Court of Kerala, as it is today was established on 1 November 1956 as the High Court designated for the State of Kerala. The Kerala High Court Act, 1958 defined the jurisdiction and various functions, and powers of the High Court of Kerala. Initially, many cases from both the Travancore-Cochin High Court and the High Court of Madras were transferred to the High Court of Kerala for adjudication. Justice K. T. Koshi was appointed as the first Chief Justice of High Court of Kerala.


1 Justice Ashok Bhushan Acting Chief Justice
2 Manjula Chellur Previous Chief Justice 5 August 2014
3 C. N. Ramachandran Nair[4] Permanent Judge 1 October 2012
4 Pius C. Kuriakose[5] Permanent Judge 2 October 2013
5 A. K. Basheer[6] Permanent Judge 1 July 2011
6 R. Basant[7] Permanent Judge 5 May 2012
7 K. M. Joseph[8] Permanent Judge 19 June 2020
8 Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan[9] Permanent Judge 29 April 2021
9 V. Ramkumar[10] Permanent Judge 7 May 2012
10 K. Hema[11] Permanent Judge 23 March 2013
11 M. Sasidhraran Nambiar[12] Permanent Judge 3 January 2013
12 K.T. Sankaran[13] Permanent Judge 25 December 2016
13 S. Siri Jagan[14] Permanent Judge 22 January 2014
14 T. R. Ramachandran Nair[15] Permanent Judge 30 January 2015
15 Antony Dominic[16] Permanent Judge 30 May 2018
16 Harun Al Rashid[17] Permanent Judge 5 October 2014
17 V. K. Mohanan[18] Permanent Judge 6 August 2015
18 P. N. Raveendran Permanent Judge 29 May 2018
19 M.C.Hari Rani Permanent Judge 26 October 2011
20 Thomas P. Joseph Permanent Judge 19 July 2014
21 K. Surendra Mohan Additional Judge
22 P. R. Ramachandra Menon Additional Judge
23 C.K. Abdul Rehim Additional Judge
24 C. T. Ravi Kumar Additional Judge
25 P. Bhavadasan Additional Judge
26 S.S. Satheesachandran Additional Judge
27 M.L. Joseph Francis Additional Judge
28 P.S. Gopinathan Additional Judge
29 P.Q. Barkath Ali Additional Judge

Past Chief Justices[edit]

Sl No Name of the Chief Justice From To
1 K. T. Koshi 12 September 1944 30 Januvary 1959
2 K. Sankaran
3 Mohammed Ahmed Ansari[19] 29 March 1960 26 November 1961
4 M. S. Menon
5 P. T. Raman Nair
6 T. C. Raghavan
7 P. Govindan Nair
8 V. P. Gopalan Nambiyar
9 V. Balakrishna Eradi 1980 1981
10 P. Subramanian Poti
11 K. Bhaskaran
12 V. S. Malimath
13 V. S. Malimath
14 M. Jagannadha Rao[20] 1991 1994
15 Sujata V. Manohar
16 M. M. Pareed Pillay 3 January 1985 17 September 1995
17 U. P. Singh 23 July 1996 19 December 1997
18 Om Prakash 20 November 1997 19 March 1999
19 Arijit Pasayat 20 September 1999 8 May 2000
21 Arvind Vinayakarao Savant
22 K.K. Usha 25 February 1991 3 July 2001
23 B. N. Srikrishna
24 Jawahar Lal Gupta 1 November 2002 22 January 2004
25 N K Sodhi
26 B. Subhashan Reddy
27 Cyriac Joseph (Acting Chief Justice)
28 Rajeev Gupta 27 April 2005 11 January 2006
29 V. K. Bali 22 January 2006 24 January 2007
30 K. S. Radhakrishnan (as Acting Chief Justice) 17 May 2007
31 H L Dattu 18 May 2007 12 December 2008
32 S R Bannurmath 18 March 2009 22 January 2010
33 Jasti Chelameswar 17 March 2010 10 October 2011


The High of Kerala building in Kochi had not assigned Number 13 to any of its courtrooms due to triskaidekaphobia. This created a controversy in Kerala as the state prides itself on being the most literate in India. A petitioner questioned this in Kerala High Court itself whether it was due to superstitious beliefs, as the room numbering skipped from 12 to 14. After hearing this petition, the High Court not only dismissed it, but imposed a fine of INR10000 (US$160) on the petitioner. Later, the Supreme Court of India over-ruled the High Court's decision admonishing the encouragement of superstitions, "The High Court is an institution. It should not be allowed to encourage this sort of superstitions,"[21][22][23]

Kerala Assembly passed resolution for setting up a high court bench at Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of kerala. Government of India and Supreme court are favourable in sanctioning more High court benches in country and already sanctioned in many states. But a new high court bench at Thiruvananthpuram is still pending due to opposition by some in High court at Ernakulam. The opposition is based on the rationale that when the United State of Travancore-Cochin (the forerunner to the State of Kerala) was created it was agreed that the United State's capital will be Travancore's Capital of Thiruvananthapuram where the legislature and the executive will be based but the High Court will be based in Ernakulam, Cochin's Capital.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Funds for infrastructure of High Courts". Press Information Bureau for Government of India. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  3. ^ Playne S, Bond JW, Wright A. (2004) Southern India: its history, people, commerce, and industrial resources, page 368. Asian Educational Services
  4. ^ "Justice C. N. Ramachandran Nair". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  5. ^ "Justice Pius C. Kuriakose". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  6. ^ "Justice A.K.Basheer". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  7. ^ "Justice R.Basant". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  8. ^ "Justice K.M.Joseph". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  9. ^ "Justice Thottathil B.Radhakrishnan". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  10. ^ "Justice V.Ramkumar". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  11. ^ "Justice K.Hema". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  12. ^ "Justice M. Sasidharan Nambiar". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  13. ^ "Justice K.T.Sankaran". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  14. ^ "Justice S. Siri Jagan". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  15. ^ "Justice T. R. Ramachandran Nair". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  16. ^ "Justice Antony Dominic". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  17. ^ "Justice Harun-Ul-Rashid". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  18. ^ "Justice V.K.Mohanan". Office of Kerala High Court. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  19. ^ Profile of M. A. Ansari at Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  20. ^ Personal website of M. Jagannadha Rao
  21. ^ "Kerala high court told not to be superstitious". Gulf News. Retrieved 2006-11-22. 
  22. ^ "Number 13 finds ally in Kerala MLA". NDTV. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  23. ^ "SC regrets Kerala HC's superstitious belief". The Hindu. Retrieved 2006-11-21. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 9°59′10″N 76°16′29″E / 9.98611°N 76.27472°E / 9.98611; 76.27472