Judge who spoke against colonial orderly system got staffer suspended over bad food

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However, the judge told the Indian Express that the food was served in a very unhygienic manner, was adulterated, and it was brought from an unknown place. 

Justice S. M. Subramaniam of Madras High Court, who recently expressed his displeasure over Colonial Orderly system, got a junior court staffer at principal district court of Thanjavur suspended from service in December 2021 for failing to get lunch the way he had ordered it, the India Express reported.

According to the report, the judge said that the food brought for him was adulterated, bought from an unknown place. Further, he found nylon rubber bands in the food. He said it was also served in an unhygienic manner.

The incident took place during Justice Subramaniam’s private visit to the temple town of Kumbakonam.

The suspension order was issued by the Thanjavur principal district judge after Justice Subramaniam asked him to take severe action, the report adds.

The suspension of junior bailiff G Manikandan was revoked on January 5, 2022, citing “administrative convenience.” The order said that suspension was revoked “pending disciplinary proceedings”

Justice Subramaniam told The Indian Express over the phone: “I always pay for my food. That day, I asked the staff to buy food from a decent vegetarian restaurant. After I noticed these problems, I reported to the district judge. He conducted an inquiry, and action was taken.”

He further expressed that the government accommodation where he was served food was “an unhygienic old building with an ugly toilet" with maintenance work under way at the main block of the government guesthouse. He said he was served food in an open hall of the old building.

The suspension order stated that Manikandan had “failed to provide proper lunch to His Lordship with due care as instructed by His Lordship, and thereby violated Rule 20 (Integration and Devotion to duty) of Tamil Nadu Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1973.”

Justice Subramaniam had visited Kumbakonam with his family on December 26, 2021.

Contrary to what the judge had said a senior jurist told Indian Express: “He asked the junior court staffer, who was on duty as per protocol, to get vegetarian lunch from a hotel, prepared in a traditional way. There are no such hotels, as he insisted, in Kumbakonam these days…there are many popular vegetarian restaurant chains. So the court staff bought the lunch from the best vegetarian restaurant in town and brought it.”

The article further notes that Justice Subramaniam subsequently raised the issue with the district judge and “demanded severe action" and the district judge immediately placed Manikandan under suspension. The suspension order added that the court staffer “shall not leave the headquarters (Thanjavur) without obtaining prior permission of the authority concerned.”

Recently, Justice Subramaniam in one of his orders said that while we are moving towards a more vibrant democracy, higher police officials in the state of Tamil Nadu are employing the colonial slavery system of extracting household and menial labour from trained uniformed police personnel.

“It is a slap on the Constitution and the democracy of our great Nation”, he observed.