The authorities at the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are yet to get over the shock of finding that a man managed to served the Tamil Nadu judicial service as a magistrate for more than 21 years without any recognised law degree.
Responding to a showcause notice from the Bar Council, the ‘magistrate’, P Natarajan of Ulaganeri in Madurai, said, “It is not fair and justified to cancel enrollment as advocate of a person who was in judicial service for more than 25 years, including 21 years as judicial magistrate.”
Natarajan said he did his BGL ‘course’ at Sarada Law College affiliated to Mysore University in Karnataka for two years through correspondence/distance education mode and was awarded a ‘degree’. Apparently, he attended classes only for the third year during 1975-78.
At the time of the convocation, he told the Bar Council, he was not informed that his degree was valid only for ‘academic’ purposes and not for employment.
He was then selected as judicial magistrate on February 15, 1982, and after a ‘peaceful’ tenure of nearly 22 years, he retired on June 30, 2003.
Within a month of his retirement, he enrolled himself Jas lawyer with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and was assigned enrolment number MS1739/2003. After the Supreme Court ordered verification of certificates, the Bar council authorities stumbled upon his case and slapped a showcause notice on Natarajan on January 4, 2016.
The notice traced the academic as well as service history of Natarajan and called upon him to explain why he should not be removed from the rolls.