Kerala High Court

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Kerala High Court
കേരള ഉന്നത ന്യായാലയം
Kēraḷa Unnata Nyāyālayaṁ
High Court of Kerala Building.jpg
Established 1956
Country  India
Location Kochi, Kerala
Coordinates 9°59′10″N 76°16′29″E / 9.98611°N 76.27472°E / 9.98611; 76.27472Coordinates: 9°59′10″N 76°16′29″E / 9.98611°N 76.27472°E / 9.98611; 76.27472
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 mandatory retirement by age of 62
No. of positions 35
Chief Justice
Currently Justice Navniti Prasad Singh
Since 20 March 2017

The Kerala High Court is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. It is headquartered at Kochi, Ernakulam. 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 as an amicus curiae to advise 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.


Name Position From
Navniti Prasad Singh Chief Justice 20 March 2017


Mohan Shantanagoudar Chief Justice 22 September 2016
Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan Permanent Judge Permanent Judge
K.T. Sankaran Permanent Judge 22 November 2006
Antony Dominic Permanent Judge 02 December 2008
P. N. Ravindran Permanent Judge 09 December 2009
K. Surendra Mohan Permanent Judge 15 December 2010
P. R. Ramachandra Menon Permanent Judge 15 December 2010
C.K. Abdul Rehim Permanent Judge 15 December 2010
C. T. Ravi Kumar Permanent Judge 15 December 2010
P. Bhavadasan Permanent Judge 15 December 2010
V. Chitambaresh Permanent Judge 07 December 2012
A.M. Shaffique Permanent Judge 07 December 2012
K. Harilal Permanent Judge 24 June 2013
K. Vinod Chandran Permanent Judge 24 June 2013
Babu Mathew P. Joseph Permanent Judge 16 January 2014
P. D . Rajan Permanent Judge 16 January 2014
K. Ramakrishnan Permanent Judge 30 June 2014
B. Kemal Pasha Permanent Judge 30 June 2014
A. Hariprasad Permanent Judge 30 June 2014
Dama Seshadri Naidu Permanent Judge 30 June 2014
P.Ubaid Additional Judge 01 January 2014
K.Abraham Mathew Additional Judge 01 January 2014
Alexander Thomas Additional Judge 23 January 2014
A.Muhamed Mustaque Additional Judge 23 January 2014
A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar Additional Judge 23 January 2014
Anil K. Narendran Additional Judge 23 January 2014
P. V. Asha Additional Judge 21 May 2014
P. B. Suresh Kumar Additional Judge 21 May 2014
Sunil Thomas Additional Judge 10 April 2015
Shaji P. Chaly Additional Judge 10 April 2015
Anu Sivaraman Additional Judge 10 April 2015
Raja Vijayaraghavan V Additional Judge 21 May 2014
B. Sudheendra Kumar Additional Judge 10 April 2015
K.P. Jyothindranath Additional Judge 10 April 2015
Mary Joseph Additional Judge 10 April 2015
Sathish Ninan Additional Judge 05 October 2016
Devan Ramachandran Additional Judge 05 October 2016
P.Somarajan Additional Judge 05 October 2016
V.Shircy Additional Judge 05 October 2016
A.M.Babu Additional Judge 05 October 2016

Past Chief Justices[edit]

Sl No Name of the Chief Justice From To
1 K. T. Koshi 12 September 1944 30 January 1959
2 K. Sankaran 16 August 1946 29 March 1960
3 Mohammed Ahmed Ansari[5] 29 March 1960 26 November 1961
4 M. S. Menon 29 January 1953 12 June 1969
5 P. T. Raman Nair 22 February 1957 01 September 1971
6 T. C. Raghavan 15 December 1959 21 May 1973
7 P. Govindan Nair 29 January 1962 03 January 1977
8 V. P. Gopalan Nambiyar 22 March 1965 19 January 1980
9 V. Balakrishna Eradi 05 April 1967 30 January 1981
10 P. Subramanian Poti 20 March 1969 26 September 1983
11 K. Bhaskaran 03 April 1972 09 October 1985
12 V. S. Malimath 24 October 1985 11 June 1991
13 M. Jagannadha Rao[6] 08 August 1991 05 April 1994
14 Sujata V. Manohar 21 April 1994 04 November 1994
15 M. M. Pareed Pillay 03 January 1985 17 September 1995
16 U. P. Singh 23 July 1996 19 December 1997
17 Om Prakash Verma 20 November 1997 19 March 1999
18 Arijit Pasayat 20 September 1999 08 May 2000
19 Arvind Vinayakarao Savant 30 May 2000 17 September 2000
20 K.K. Usha 25 February 1991 03 July 2001
21 B. N. Srikrishna 06 September 2001 01 October 2002
22 Jawahar Lal Gupta 1 November 2002 22 January 2004
23 N K Sodhi 05 April 2004 17 November 2004
24 B. Subhashan Reddy 21 November 2004 02 March 2005
25 Rajeev Gupta 27 April 2005 11 January 2006
26 Vinod Kumar Bali 22 January 2006 24 January 2007
27 H. L. Dattu 18 May 2007 12 December 2008
28 S. R. Bannurmath 18 March 2009 22 January 2010
29 Jasti Chelameswar 17 March 2010 10 October 2011
30 Manjula Chellur 26 September 2012 05 August 2014
31 Ashok Bhushan 26 March 2015 12 May 2016
32 Mohan Shantanagoudar 22 September 2016 incumbent


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 10,000 (US$150) 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,"[7][8][9]

Kerala Legislative Assembly passed resolution for setting up a high court bench at Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of kerala. The Union Government and the Supreme Court are favourable in sanctioning more high court benches in country, and had already sanctioned many in other states. However, a new high court bench at Thiruvananthapuram is still pending, due to opposition by some in the 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 would be Travancore's capital Thiruvananthapuram, where the legislature and the executive would be based, but that the judiciary would be based in Kochi, 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. ^ High Court of Kerala - Profile of sitting judges
  5. ^ Profile of M. A. Ansari at Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  6. ^ Personal website of M. Jagannadha Rao
  7. ^ "Kerala high court told not to be superstitious". Gulf News. Retrieved 2006-11-22. 
  8. ^ "Number 13 finds ally in Kerala MLA". NDTV. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  9. ^ "SC regrets Kerala HC's superstitious belief". The Hindu. Retrieved 2006-11-21. [dead link]

External links[edit]