Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not in session

In most commonwealth countries, the lowest level of the justice system is the Magistrates Court. Most of the cases that come up here are of the type where the presence of a judge is necessary to carry out the bureaucratic processes that are a large chunk of legal proceedings - remand of suspects, swearing of affidavits, issue of warrants - all those little bits of paper that add up to the might of the law.

Chennai has 26 Metropolitan Magistrates; 24 of them operate out of fixed offices and 2 are 'Mobile Courts' - a large van that travels around within the Court's jurisdiction, taking justice to the people. Between them, they cover all the police stations in the city, though it might take quite a while to figure out how exactly they are connected - if you have the patience to do it. This building in Saidapet houses 7 of the 26 Magistrates (the biggest chunk is with Egmore which has 12 and George Town takes up the remaining 5; both Mobile Courts are attached to Egmore)

At 8 am, the buildings are shut and sleepy. As the time for the courts to begin their day approaches, the pavements wil be filled with all kinds of touts, lawyers, police constables, small time criminals hoping to either advance or retard the wheels of justice. I don't think it is a fun place to be unless you have a good idea how to work the system - or if you're just there to take pictures!


Dan said...

Beautiful building. The trend for buildings like that around here is toward a neo-empire style of architecture.

Shantaram said...

>> Dan>> Somehow this building has been spared the current trend in Chennai of all government buildings being painted light blue or light cream - the red brick effect gives it a really nice look!