C. Nagalingam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
C. Nagalingam
Chellappah Nagalingam.jpg
Acting Governor-General of Ceylon
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister John Kotelawala
Preceded by Lord Soulbury
Succeeded by Lord Soulbury
Acting Chief Justice of Ceylon
In office
Preceded by Alan Rose
Succeeded by Hema Henry Basnayake
Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Ceylon
In office
27th Attorney General of Ceylon
In office
25 January 1946 – 1947
Preceded by Manikku Wadumestri Hendrick de Silva
Succeeded by Edward Percival Rose
Personal details
Born (1893-10-25)25 October 1893
Died 25 October 1958(1958-10-25) (aged 65)
Nationality Ceylonese
Spouse(s) Gnanam
Relations C. Amirthalingam
C. Panchalingam
C. Suntharalingam
C. Thiagalingam
Alma mater Ceylon Law College
Royal College, Colombo
St. John's College, Jaffna
Profession Judge, lawyer
Ethnicity Ceylon Tamil

Justice Chellappah Nagalingam, KC was a leading Ceylonese judge and lawyer. He was a Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon and served as acting Governor-General of Ceylon in 1954.[1][2] He also served as acting Chief Justice, acting Legal Secretary and Attorney General. He was the first Ceylon Tamil to be appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Ceylon.[2][3]

Early life and family[edit]

Nagalingam was born on 25 October 1893.[2][4] He was the son of Chellappah and Meenachchi from Urumpirai in Northern Province of Ceylon. He hailed from a distinguished family and had four eminent brothers: C. Suntharalingam, a member of parliament and government minister; C. Panchalingam, a medical doctor; C. Amirthalingam, Director of Fisheries; and C. Thiagalingam, a leading lawyer. Nagalingam was educated at St. John's College, Jaffna and Royal College, Colombo where he excelled in studies and sports and won the De Soysa Science Prize.[2][4] Thereafter he entered Ceylon Law College, qualifying as an advocate in 1917.[2]

Nagalingam married Gnanam, daughter of Vaithilingam. They had two sons (Yogalingam and Bakthilingam) and four daughters (Maheswari, Sarveswari, Vigneswari and Nandeswari).[4]


After Nagalingam was called to the bar, he practised law in Colombo until 1937.[2] In 1938 he was appointed as an Additional District Judge of Colombo.[2][4] He was appointed District Judge of Kandy in 1941 and acting Attorney General in 1946.[2][4] He was also appointed King's Counsel in 1946.[2] In 1947 he became acting Legal Secretary, one of the three official members of the State Council, heading committee of justice with ministerial rank in the Board of Minister.[2][4] He was also called to the bench as an acting Puisne Judge and was confirmed judge of the Supreme Court in 1947, the first Tamil to hold that post.[2][4] He was later appointed Senior Supreme Court Judge and acted as Chief Justice on a number of occasions.[2][4] In this capacity he was called upon to briefly serve as acting Governor-General in 1954 whilst Lord Soulbury was out of the country.[2][4]

Nagalingam was chairman of the Civil Courts Commission and the Salaries Commission, and member of the Council of Legal Education and the Judicial Service Commission.[2]

Nagalingam was one of the founders of the Hindu Educational Society which founded the Colombo Hindu College in 1951.[5]

Nagalingam died on 25 October 1958.[4]


  1. ^ Abeyesekera, Kirthie (11 February 2001). "Casteism in the north". The Island, Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Maniccavasagar, Chelvathamby (25 October 2011). "Justice Nagalingam – first Tamil Supreme Court judge". Daily News. 
  3. ^ Amerasinghe, A. Ranjit B (1986), The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka : the first 185 years, Sarvodaya Book Pub. Services, ISBN 978-955-599-000-4 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Arumugam, S. (1997). Dictionary of Biography of the Tamils of Ceylon. p. 111. 
  5. ^ "History of College". Colombo Hindu College. 
Government offices
Preceded by
Lord Soulbury
Governor-General of Ceylon

Succeeded by
Lord Soulbury
Legal offices
Preceded by
Alan Rose
Chief Justice of Ceylon

Succeeded by
Hema Henry Basnayake
Preceded by
Manikku Wadumestri Hendrick de Silva
Attorney General of Ceylon
Succeeded by
Edward Percival Rose