Perumbavoor

Vayaliparambil, Vazhakkala Annex..!

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A dream come true.. A home for my twins to run around.. Some land for me to plant trees.. Introducing my new address – Vayaliparambil, Moolepadam Road, Vazhakkala, Kakkand West – 682030. Everyone is invited.!

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Cosmopolitan city of Perumbavoor

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I’m obsessed with the greatness of my home town – Perumbavoor. Its a beautiful place, with vibrant people. The industrial capital of Ernakulam. The city of migrant labours and the land of opportunities. Now, the first place to have Oriya and Hindi Church Mass, making Perumbavoor, the true cosmopolitan city of Kerala.

ജഡ്ജിമാർക്ക് പുസ്തകം എഴുതികൊടുക്കുന്ന വക്കീല്

കീഴില്ലം എൽദോസ് ചേട്ടൻ എന്റെ ഓഫീസിലെ ഒരു സ്ഥിരം സന്ദർശകനാണ്. ടിയാന്റെ പ്ലൈവുഡ് ഫാക്ടറിക്കു പഞ്ചായത്ത് ലൈസൻസ് നേടിക്കൊടുത്തതാണ് എന്റെ ആദ്യത്തെ പ്രമാദമായ വിജയം. അദ്ദേഹം ഒരു ദിവസം കുശലാന്വേഷണത്തിന് എന്റെ ഓഫീസിൽ വന്നപ്പോൾ മേശപ്പുറത്തിരിക്കുന്ന മാഗസിൻചട്ടയിൽ എന്റെ പേര് എഴുതിയിരിക്കുന്നത് ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചു. പുസ്തകം മറിച്ച് നോക്കുന്നത് കണ്ട് ഞാൻ പറഞ്ഞു കൊടുത്തു ആ പുസ്തകത്തിലാണ് കേരളാ ഹൈകോടതിയുടെ പ്രധാനമായ വിധികൾ പ്രസ്ഥീകരിക്കുന്നതെന്ന്. എല്ലാം മനസ്സിലായി എന്ന മട്ടിൽ എൽദോസ് ചേട്ടൻ തലയാട്ടി സ്ഥലം വിട്ടു.

ഒരാഴ്ച്ചക്ക് ശേഷം ഞാൻ ഫയൽ ചെയ്ത ഒരു ചെറിയ കേസിൽ ഒരു കാരണവുമില്ലാതെ എതിർകക്ഷി ഒരു മുതിർന്ന അഭിഭാഷകനെ ഹാജരാക്കി. ഞാൻ കൌതുകത്തോടെ എൻഗേജിങ് വക്കിലിനോട് ചോദിച്ചു എന്താണ് പെട്ടെന്ന് ഈ കേസിൽ മുതിർന്ന അഭിഭാഷകനെ കൊണ്ടുവരാൻ കാരണമെന്ന്. പുള്ളി ചിരിച്ചു കൊണ്ട് പറഞ്ഞു ടിയാന്റെ കക്ഷി എന്നെ പറ്റി അന്വേഷിച്ചപ്പോൾ ഞാൻ ജഡ്ജിമാർക്ക് പുസ്തകം എഴുതി കൊടുക്കുന്ന വക്കീലാണെന്നാണ് അറിഞ്ഞതെന്ന്. അമ്പരന്ന് ഞാൻ കൂടുതൽ അന്വേഷിച്ചപ്പോൾ, ടി വൃത്താന്തത്തിന്റെ ഉറവിടം എൽദോസ് ചേട്ടൻ ആണെന്ന് മനസ്സിലായി. ഒന്നും പറയാൻ കഴിയാതെ ചിരിച്ചുകൊണ്ട് ഞാൻ എൽദോസ് ചേട്ടനെ വിളിച്ചു, ഒരു ചായ മേടിച്ചുതരാമെന്നു പറഞ്ഞു.

Kerala High Court Cases

Winter is coming..!

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A beautiful scene from my backyard! Flowering of Vella Chamba Tree

Finally I’m included in the nameboard !

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It took five years for my father to put my name up on his office nameboard.

Extend metro rail to Perumbavoor !

The collection reports of recently introduced Volvo AC Buses would reveal that maximum profit is derived from buses plying in EKM-PBVR route.  Perumbavoor is an industrial satellite town of Ernakulam located 32kms east, at the intersection of two primary state highways -MC Road and AM Road. The daily commuters from Perumbavoor to Ernakulam far exceed inflow of people from any other region. Being an industrial town, Perumbavoor is burping with business and migrant labours. It has made Perumbavoor very thickly populated and wealthy in comparison to other historically important, but presently inferior towns like N.Paravoor and Muvattupuzha. However, Perumbavoor lacks proper transportation facilities like most of the other towns in Kerala. There is neither any railway station nor many roads to sustain the industrial growth of the municipality.

The Kochi Metro Rail is a dream project of every malayali. Today’s newspaper carried an advertisement that UDF Government is finally laying stone for the Metro-Rail project. It is not sure, how many more of those stones are needed to make the project a reality, but nevertheless it is a positive step in the right direction.

At this juncture I would like to suggest that the metro rail project should be extended to Perumbavoor also, at least in the second phase, so as to address the aspirations of the people of the region. It is heresy knowledge that there are plans for extending the metro rail to Nedumbassey/Airport in its second phase of expansion. In that phase, if the alignment of the metro rail project is given a minor detour to Perumbavoor, it could cater the needs of an extra million people, and provide maximum value to the investment. Perumbavoor is only 5kms aerially away from the International airport [but 15km by road]. So such a realignment of metro rail project is possible and feasible. It could also serve people of high range areas like Adimaly, Munnar, Kothamangalam etc, as Perumbavoor acts as their base town. Further, presence of daily commuters from Perumbavoor would give assured returns to the project vis-a-vis occasional commuters to the airport.

Hence, it is suggested that Kochi Metro Rail may be extended to Perumbavoor from Aluva, and then alone be routed to Nedumbassery/Airport. It would be in the best interest of Greater Cochin as well as the State of Kerala

I lie with garbage but got up with flies : Story of my First Victory

Law practice of any junior lawyer in High court is mostly confined to adjournments, pass-overs, stay extensions and the like summary proceedings. One just has to memorize some usual phrases like ‘Your Lordship may kindly have the case on some other day’. ‘My lord, the senior is engaged in another court, may kindly pass over the matter’ etc. Opportunities to make full length arguments are hard to come by since the Kerala High Court is more a ‘Court of Interim Orders’ rather than supposed to be ‘Court of Record’. Even if something comes up in a hearing court, a junior lawyer has no chance to represent, unless the case is absolutely absurd and someone is required to bury the garbage. I have done many garbage-processing-full-length-arguments and on many occasions, the judges have buried me along with the garbage.

Anyway, this post is about my first victory in a full-length-argument, which is special and was surprise to all. This time the case was entrusted to me not by my senior but by a family friend, Moiduka, who wanted a junior lawyer to do the garbage processing. Moidukka, when he had sawmill business, did not disclose the actual number of workers he had for payment of ESI Contributions.  The ESI Inspector detected it and made a Best Judgment Assessment on omitted wages against him. The case, before it reached me, had already undergone several rounds of litigation and at every forum, it was decided against my client. I got the brief only in its last stage when the ESI Corp despite winning the case in court below, got greedy and filed an Insurance Appeal in High court for granting interest on contribution due to it. Basically the appeal is just for getting the statuary prescribed Interest which, I would say, EI Court forgot to provide in its judgment after upholding the Assessment made against my client. There was hardly any scope to defend the appeal since the aspect was already covered by many decisions of the Supreme Court and the assessment period was long long back viz 1976-1982 (I was born only in 1985). My client who had successfully evaded payment of any contribution even after losing the case in EI court, just wanted me to prolong the litigation little longer,  specifically, till he kicks the bucket. He was 82 years old and had already settled all his assets along with the saw mill in favour of his children.

Apprehending disposal of the case in the admission stage itself, I started investigating into old records of the case. I understood that Assessment was tilted in my client’s favour and any further fiddling with it would be like rocking a Pandora’s box. But then luckily I found out from the records that there was a delay of 5 years in completing re-assessment in 1991 by ESI Corporation, after the High court set aside the initial assessment in the first round of litigation. Though no objection was made about it, either by the party with ESI Inspector or before the lower court, it gave me some weird ideas. I took my chances and filed a cross objection under Order 41 Rule 22 of CPC highlighting the delay in re-assessment and prejudice that has caused to my client. (Cross Appeal was not feasible since there would be delay of 3 years).

When the matter came up before Justice M.N. Krishnan for admission, first thing he noticed was why a cross objection and not a cross appeal? Whether a cross objection is maintainable in an Insurance Appeal? Why an attack is fielded against delay in Re-Assessment rather than on merits of the concluded Assessment? He got skeptical and understood that it was just a ‘Modaku petition’ to prevent the 100% merited appeal from disposing off in admission stage itself and to prolong the matter. He got very angry and indigently declared that Cross objection would be dismissed on delay (I had 7 days of delay in filing Cross Objection, courtesy my clerk who had never heard about it) and directed the opposite counsel to file an objection against my delay condonation petition.

Honestly, I got disappointed. Not that the case didn’t deserve it, but the client actually mattered to me. He had been our client from my great grandfather’s age and was very much incidental to Appa’s success and promotion of Appa’s office at Perumbavoor. I felt that if the case is again heard before the same judge, he may allow the appeal and dismiss my cross objection with cost. So I even asked my clerk Sanoj, to talk/cajole the people at section and try to bury the case somewhere deep so that it doesn’t come up before the same judge. But the opposite counsel very promptly filed the objection to my delay condonation petition and moved for early posting of the case.

When the case came after a week as Item 405 in the petition list which is the de-facto hearing list of Court-5B, the judge immediately recognized the case, the wicked cross objection and the delay of 7 days useful to neutralize my wickedness. But this time he was more pleasant and listening and very curiously asked my original intentions. I very honestly explained that it was my personal case and couldn’t afford to lose it, unlike briefs of my senior, where my obligation is limited. May be to encourage a junior lawyer or to see what I’ve come up with (coz I had some big books with me) he very patiently decided to hear the matter on merits before condoning the delay. I argued the case for about 25mins and explained the unresonablity of 5 years delay in re-assessment (caused only because my client changed his address about which I maintained my discretion) and the prejudice it has caused to my client. The judge very skilfully pointed out that such an objection was not taken up in the court below.  I painted the lower court lawyer with ignorance of limitation vis-à-vis reasonable period and suggested that court below did not consider the case from the angle ie of reasonable time . I pinned my entire arguments on the principle that when an authority is vested with power, the power has to be exercised within a reasonable time. The judge after hearing my arguments became interested in formulating some guidelines for re-assessment and enquired scope for remanding the matter with the opposite counsel. Shocked at the change in attitude of the Judge, he explained that the Assessment was of 1976-1982, ie 30 years old and any remand would kill the whole process. Thereafter, I embellished the aspect of prejudice that has visited my client and made the judge dictate the judgment before opposite counsel waste any more precious time of the court (he didn’t argue even for 3mins). In result, my cross objection was allowed and the judgment of EI court was set aside for fresh consideration from the perspective of reasonable time for re-assessment. In simple words, nothing would happen for next 5 years. It also opened up new ground to set aside the Assessment itself before EI court.

It was an enormous victory for the reason that even without filing any appeal I got the judgment of lower court set aside. No body including Moiduka or Appa expected the case to last any more than the admission stage, but now entire garbage got recycled and became a good case. After the victory, Moiduka presented me with a big Tiffin Carrier of Thalasherri Mutton Biriyani and some pocket money..:) It was Appa’s advice at night after his celebration drinks that prompted me to write this blog and share my experience. ‘A junior lawyer is given only garbage. Handle the garbage, lie with dogs, when possible get up and fly up with flies. In time you will learn to fly and dominate the sky.’