Justice M.Karpaga Vinayagam was born on 16.05.1946 at Devakottai, Tamil Nadu. His parents are Thiru K.Muthuswami Pillai and Tmt. Saraswathi Ammal. He hails from a family which has contributed several personalities from the legal background. Justice M.Karpaga Vinayagam had his early education at Devakottai. He graduated in B.A.(Economics) in 1969 from Alagappa College, Karaikudi. He got his law degree from the Madras Law College in 1972. Interestingly, it was at the Madras Law College that another facet of Justice Karpaga Vinayagam’s personality came to the fore, that of an artist, for he shone as an actor in several dramas and TV plays like ‘Panchali Sabatham’ a famous Tamil play in the ‘70s, staged by the ‘Seva Stage’ conducted by the famous cine personality S.V.Sahasranamam.
In 1972, Justice Karpaga Vinayagam enrolled as an Advocate in the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu. He made a name for himself in the legal field and in July 1977 he was appointed as the Government Counsel (Criminal) in the Madras High Court and later appeared in several landmark cases on behalf of the Government over the next seven years.
Justice Karpaga Vinayagam’s family consists of his wife Padmini, whom he married in 1978, his son Arun and daughter Sathya.
Justice Karpaga Vinayagam set up his own office in 1984 and had a flourishing legal practice on the criminal side. He has been appreciated and complimented in several judgments by eminent Judges of the Madras High Court for his keen sense of law and legal procedure. In 1993 he was nominated as an Editor for the Law Journal “Current Criminal Reports” (C.C.R.), New Delhi.
As yet another feather to the illustrious cap of Justice Karpaga Vinayagam, the year 1996 saw him being elevated as a Judge in the High Court of Judicature at Madras. His tenure as Judge too was quite notable for several landmark judgments given by him.
17th September 2006 heralded another eventful period for Hon. Justice M. Karpaga Vinayagam, when he attained greater heights in his illustrious career when he was deservingly elevated, this time as Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court.
As has been the case throughout his career, even while being the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court, Justice Karpaga Vinayagam has given several landmark and path-breaking judgments. One such glaring and prominent example was when a call for bandh given by a constituent of the ruling coalition was supported by the State Government against the conviction of a political leader hailing from the State. Against this, a PIL was filed for stay of bandh. In a landmark judgment, the first Bench of the Jharkhand High Court headed by Hon'ble Chief Justice M.Karpaga Vinayagam directed the Chief Secretary of the State to ensure the functioning of all the Government offices and also give protection to the people wanting to carry on with their regular work, and ruled that the announcement of Bandh by the ruling party was unconstitutional as the Government is the savior for the citizens of the State with a duty to protect their fundamental rights as per the Supreme Court Judgment. The effect of this momentous ruling was the calling off of the bandh by the ruling party which took the decision in its Executive Committee meeting, by paying respect and heeding to the orders of the Chief Justice. The people of Jharkhand appreciated this Judgment, as a consequence of which they were able to peacefully and happily attend to their work unhindered.
Justice Karpaga Vinayagam was responsible for delivering yet another pioneering Judgment, one which has had a far-reaching and positive impact on the common man. Hon'ble Chief Justice took immediate cognizance of a letter from a college girl who underwent severe trauma when she was abducted when four young people in a car stopped and took her away forcibly. The plea of this victim was that the main reason other people could not come to her help was that no one could see and notice her plight, because the car of her abductors had tinted glasses. Her modesty was outraged by four youngsters in the car and fearing social boycott, the girl’s family was desisted even from filing a written complaint. The poor victim further stated that after sending the letter, she would commit suicide, but that her soul would be grateful if something was done legally about the use of tinted glasses in vehicles. Hon. Chief Justice Karpaga Vinayagam gave an immediate direction to the State Government following which use of tinted glasses in all vehicles was subsequently banned in Jharkhand State. This move, prompted by the direction from Justice Karpaga Vinayagam, which was of a very high moral standard with legal connotations, was also very much appreciated by the people of the State.
As the Chief Justice of Jharkhand, Justice Karpaga Vinayagam initiated a orientation programme for training young advocates, which found wide acceptance and appreciation.
Justice Karpaga Vinayagam superannuated as Chief Justice on 15.05.2008. Subsequently, he came to Delhi and began his private practice in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in a full court meeting held on 14th October 2008 took a decision to designate him as a Senior Advocate under Section 16 (ii) of the Advocates Act.
A few months later, the Chief Justice of India recommended him for appointing as the Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity. Accepting the Chief Justice’s recommendation, the Central Government appointed him as the Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity for dealing with the subject relating to Electricity and Petroleum Laws. He assumed Charge as Chairperson of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity on 14th November, 2008.
The multi-faceted personality of Justice M.Karpaga Vinayagam includes a literary side as well. Keenly aware that his mother tongue Tamil is both an ancient as well as a classical language, he has made concerted efforts to promote the language further and popularize its literature even among the legal fraternity. He took a leading role in presenting papers on the topic ‘Criminal Law in the Ancient Period’ at a seminar convened in 1994 by the International Institute of Tamil Studies. His presentations have been published in the form of a book which gives an illuminating and comparative study of criminal laws prevailing in the present period and the ‘Sangam’ period, known as the golden period for Tamil literature.
Justice M.Karpaga Vinayagam is a believer in God and is also an ardent devotee of Sri Sai Baba. He strongly attributes His blessings and wishes as being the reasons for his intellectual and spiritual elevation in life.
Appellate Tribunal For Electricity, 7th Floor, Core 4, SCOPE Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003