Vande Mataram: Headline-grabbing orders not new for Madras HC judge Muralidaran

Muralidaran, 54, has also made news with his orders on NEET, cattle slaughter and farm loan waiver and beat the SC on the national song. 

The Madras High Court Tuesday directed all educational institutions in the state to mandatorily play and sing Vande Mataram, the national song, at least once a week.

While the order itself is being widely talked about – coming as it does months after the Supreme Court made it mandatory for the national anthem to be played in cinema halls across the country – the spotlight is also on Justice M.V. Muralidaran who wrote the order.

The judge’s name has hit the headlines quite a few times recently.

Last month, Muralidharan stayed publication of results of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test 2017 (NEET) for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2017 across the country.

The order caused panic among medical admission aspirants until the apex court vacated the stay and allowed NEET results to be declared.

A few days earlier, the judge was part of a bench with Justice C.V. Kartikeyan which stayed the implementation of the controversial Central government notification in the state regulating livestock trade and cattle transportation. The apex court later extended this stay across India, forcing the centre to reconsider the rules.

The 54-year-old judge, who was elevated to the Madras High Court in March 2016, also drew the nation’s attention to the plight of farmers in Tamil Nadu when a group of farmers from the state sat in protest in Delhi. He and Justice S. Nagamuthu directed the government to waive all farm loans in the state. The Tamil Nadu government challenged the order before the apex court saying the ruling would drain the state exchequer.

In December 2016, in an unprecedented move, the judge directed the Chief Election Commissioner to remain personally present in court after an officer of the Election Commission failed to respond. The court was hearing a challenge to a poll result in the state assembly bye-Elections.

Muralidaran has, in fact, overtaken the Supreme Court with his order on the national song. A bench headed by apex court judge Dipak Misra is hearing a petition filed by BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay asking the government to make singing Vande Mataram mandatory in schools, Parliament, state assemblies, public offices and courts.

Muralidaran has practiced law for more than 25 years before he was elevated as a judge. He has a tenure of eight more years if he is not elevated to the Supreme Court.

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