Kerala High Court

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High Court of Kerala
High Court of Kerala Building.jpg
Established1 November 1956;66 years ago (1956-11-01)
Jurisdiction Kerala
Lakshadweep (union territory)
Location Kochi, Ernakulam, Kerala
Coordinates 9°59′11″N76°16′30″E / 9.986313°N 76.275063°E / 9.986313; 76.275063 Coordinates: 9°59′11″N76°16′30″E / 9.986313°N 76.275063°E / 9.986313; 76.275063
Composition method Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.
Authorized by Constitution of India
Appeals to Supreme Court of India
Judge term lengthMandatory retirement by age of 62
Number of positionsPermanent Judges: 35 (including CJ)
Additional Judges: 12
Chief Justice of Kerala
Currently S. Manikumar
Since11 October 2019

The High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and the Union territory of Lakshadweep. It is located in 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 35 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 100 million Indian rupees. [2] The construction was completed in 2005 at a cost of 850 million 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, internet, and 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 palace, where it had been functioning.

History of judicial system in the State of Kerala

KHCAA Golden Jubilee Chamber Complex KHCAA Golden Jubilee Chamber Complex DSW.jpg
KHCAA Golden Jubilee Chamber Complex
Ernakulam District Court Complex Ernakulam District Court Complex by Augustus Binu.jpg
Ernakulam District Court Complex
Heritage Building of Ernakulam District Court Heritage Building of Ernakulam District Court by Augustus Binu.jpg
Heritage Building of Ernakulam District Court

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.

Early Reforms in the Kingdom of Travancore

In 1799, the Kingdom of Travancore became a vassal state of the British Empire. British diplomats encouraged judicial reform as they became involved in the political affairs of Travancore.

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, and 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 who 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

In the Kingdom of Travancore, Munro recommended necessary regulations to be passed for the reorganisation of the Courts. These recommendations were accepted by the then king 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. 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. Ramachandra Iyer was appointed as the first Chief Justice.[ citation needed ]

Judicial system in the Kingdom of Cochin

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

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

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.


The current sitting judges of the court are as follows: [4]

S. Manikumar Chief Justice11 October 2019
K. Vinod Chandran Permanent Judge24 June 2013
Sarasa Venkatanarayana Bhatti Permanent Judge19 March 2019
Alexander ThomasPermanent Judge10 March 2016
A. Muhamed Mustaque Permanent Judge10 March 2016
A. K. Jayasankaran Nambiar Permanent Judge10 March 2016
Anil K. Narendran Permanent Judge10 March 2016
P. B. Suresh KumarPermanent Judge20 May 2016
Amit Rawal Permanent Judge12 November 2019
Shaji P. Chaly Permanent Judge5 April 2017
Anu Sivaraman Permanent Judge5 April 2017
Raja Vijayaraghavan V. Permanent Judge5 April 2017
Mary Joseph Permanent Judge5 April 2017
Sathish Ninan Permanent Judge16 March 2018
Devan Ramachandran Permanent Judge16 March 2018
P. Somarajan Permanent Judge16 March 2018
V. Shircy Permanent Judge16 March 2018
V. G. Arun Permanent Judge5 November 2018
N. Nagaresh Permanent Judge5 November 2018
C. S. Dias Permanent Judge18 November 2019
P. V. Kunhikrishnan Permanent Judge13 February 2020
T. R. Ravi Permanent Judge6 March 2020
Bechu Kurian Thomas Permanent Judge6 March 2020
Gopinath P Permanent Judge6 March 2020
M. R. Anitha Permanent Judge6 March 2020
Murali Purushothaman Permanent Judge25 February 2021
Ziyad Rahman A. A Permanent Judge25 February 2021
K. Babu Permanent Judge25 February 2021
Dr. Kauser Edappagath Permanent Judge25 February 2021
A. BadharudeenAdditional Judge25 June 2021
Viju Abraham Additional Judge13 August 2021
Mohammed Nias C. P Additional Judge13 August 2021
Basant BalajiAdditional Judge8 October 2021
C. JayachandranAdditional Judge20 October 2021
Sophy ThomasAdditional Judge20 October 2021
P. G. AjithkumarAdditional Judge20 October 2021
C. S. SudhaAdditional Judge20 October 2021
Shoba Annamma EapenAdditional Judge18 May 2022

Former Chief Justices

Sl NoName of the Chief JusticeFromTo
1K. T. Koshi12 September 194430 January 1959
2K. Sankaran16 August 194629 March 1960
3Mohammed Ahmed Ansari [5] 29 March 196026 November 1961
4M. S. Menon29 January 195312 June 1969
5P. T. Raman Nair22 February 19571 September 1971
6T. C. Raghavan15 December 195921 May 1973
7P. Govindan Nair29 January 19623 January 1977
8V. P. Gopalan Nambiyar22 March 196519 January 1980
9 V. Balakrishna Eradi 5 April 196730 January 1981
10 P. Subramanian Poti 20 March 196926 September 1983
11K. Bhaskaran3 April 19729 October 1985
12 V. S. Malimath 24 October 198511 June 1991
13 M. Jagannadha Rao [6] 8 August 19915 April 1994
14 Sujata V. Manohar 21 April 19944 November 1994
15 M. M. Pareed Pillay 3 January 198517 September 1995
16U. P. Singh23 July 199619 December 1997
17 Om Prakash Verma 20 November 199719 March 1999
18 Arijit Pasayat 20 September 19998 May 2000
19Arvind Vinayakarao Savant30 May 200017 September 2000
20 K.K. Usha 25 February 20013 July 2001
21 B. N. Srikrishna 6 September 20011 October 2002
22 Jawahar Lal Gupta 1 November 200222 January 2004
23 N K Sodhi 5 April 200417 November 2004
24 B. Subhashan Reddy 21 November 20042 March 2005
25 Rajeev Gupta 27 April 200511 January 2006
26 Vinod Kumar Bali 22 January 200624 January 2007
27 H. L. Dattu 18 May 200712 December 2008
28 S. R. Bannurmath 18 March 200922 January 2010
29 Jasti Chelameswar 17 March 201010 October 2011
30 Manjula Chellur 26 September 20125 August 2014
31 Ashok Bhushan 26 March 201512 May 2016
32 Mohan Shantanagoudar 22 September 201617 February 2017
33 Navniti Prasad Singh 20 March 20175 November 2017
34 Antony Dominic 6 February 201828 May 2018
35 Hrishikesh Roy 8 August 201822 September 2019
36 S. Manikumar 11 October 2019Incumbent


The High Court 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$130) on the petitioner. Later, the Supreme Court of India over-ruled the High Court's decision admonishing the encouragement of superstitions saying that "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 its 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

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  5. Profile of M. A. Ansari at Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  6. Personal website of M. Jagannadha Rao Archived 17 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Kerala high court told not to be superstitious". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
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