A native of Ambasamudram, Tirunelveli, Honourable Dr TN Vallinayagam, gets into a conversation with WE MAGAZINE about his thrilling profession as the Former Judge of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and of Lok Adalat currently, and as the Chairman of National Cyber Defence Research Centre, Tamil Nadu
My parents were strict with me with regard to discipline and education, which in turn made me more eager to learn new things. I also got a double promotion in class one. I used to juggle extracurricular activities with studies and thus, developed my oratory and poetry writing skills.
I pledged my sister’s gold bangle to pursue my BA. My Tamil knowledge fetched me government sponsorship that took care of my graduation expenses. I wanted to become a teacher, but thanks to my brother who not only insisted I did law, but also let me stay at his place to reduce my expenses. My course was funded by my uncle. Thus, I became a Lawyer. I eventually inculcated the habit of reading too.
I joined under Anatachari, as his junior. He was strict and hardworking. I used to step in for the clerk during his absence to write notes for him. I learnt a lot under him. I used to handle his clients and he was very happy with my work. I eventually developed a personal bond with him, so much so that I used to even throw surprise birthday parties for him!
FROM ADVOCATE TO JUDGE
I had earned a good name and thus, was chosen to become Government’s Civil Advocate in 1979. Eventually, I became Senior Advocate and then Judge of Tamil Nadu High Court in 1996. Every judge gets a transfer and thus, I was moved to Karnataka. I stayed there till my retirement, which was in 2001.
AS A JUDGE
Rajendra Babu, Chief Justice of India, helped me a lot in this phase. I started solving all piled up cases, attending to 20 of them every day, when the others would check just one or two. Thus, I earned a lot of accolades.
MEMORABLE CASE HANDLED AS A JUDGE
A poor tea stall owner had a tea stall in the military quarters for several years. He continued being there even after his licence expired. Technically, though what he was doing was wrong, on humanitarian grounds I granted him a year’s extension, within which he was asked to look for an alternate place, which he did. Thus, the case got settled with minimal loss or complications.
PUNISHMENTS FOR RAPISTS
According to me, they should be made sexually dysfunctional and whiplashed in public! The fear of strict punishments is the key to reduce such brutal crimes. For rapists, bail must not be granted.
CHANGES YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
The changes I wished happened are — The burden of proof should be on the criminal and not the prosecution. If this is followed, 90% of cases would have been solved by now. – Any statement given to a police officer should be accepted without any inhibition. Though this is followed, it has to be made stricter to get better results. – The number of cases filed is more than the number of authorities to handle them. This needs to be looked into as well.
Every judge who completes the age of 65 is supposed to look after tribunal, but having got no government support, I started being legal advisor for leading companies. Currently, I also work for `Lok Adalat’ disputes, where I call people from both the sides, talk to them and solve their disputes in a peaceful manner.
MESSAGE FOR YOUNGSTERS
Be a responsible citizen. Do not accept or encourage bribery in any form. Approach the right person and do things the right way to get a solution to any problem. Respect women! And, last but not the least, always give back to the society.