Justice S. R. Bannurmath

Chairperson, Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission, Mumbai
(w.e.f. 12 September, 2013)
Justice S.R.Bannurmath 64 years
Former Judge of High Court of Karnataka 1997 - 2009
Former Chief Justice of Kerala 2009 - 2010
Date of Birth 23.01.1948
Educational qualification B.Sc. L.L.B (Spl)
  • After law graduation started practice at Belgaum Dist.Court. Conducted number of Session Trials and other Criminal cases, apart from civil cases.
  • In 1974 shifted practice to High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore by joining office of Shri.K.A.Swami (who was elevated to Bench in 1979 & later retired as Chief Justice of Tamil Nadu).
  • 1979 started independent practice, dealing in all branches of law. Specialising in Civil, Criminal and Constitutional cases in Karnataka High Court.
  • Also appeared regularly in Supreme Court of India.
  • Considering early achievements and outstanding merit, especially in criminal law, in 1990. The Karnataka Government appointed him as Addl.State Public Prosecutor (1990-1993) & Advocate also for some time worked as Addl.Govt. Advocate (1993-1994).
  • Appointed as State public Prosecutor (1994-1997).
  • 11th June 1997 elevated as Judge of High Court of Karnataka.
  • Between 1997-2009 rendered thousands of judgements in all branches of law.
  • However considering his vast knowledge and Expertise in criminal law, as a defence advocate, as State Public Prosecutor, majority of times he was assigned with major criminal cases both as a single judge and in division bench.
  • Rendered hundreds of landmark judgments in criminal law, giving new dimension to criminal justice system, safeguarding interest of accused, victims and the society.
  • Landmark Judgments include five death penalty judgments. Noted amongst them are Swami Shardhdhananda case & psychopath serial killer Umesh Reddy.
  • In an acid throwing case known as Haseena case, first time in India, imprisonment for 5 years was enhanced to life imprisonment with compensation of Rs.2 lakhs to the victim. At the same time considering plights of such victims in general, directed the Govt. To implement a scheme framed by him for such acid victims including medical and monitory help, rehabilitation etc.
  • He was the designated judge as per direction of the Supreme Court to monitor mental health of citizens of Karnataka and issued numerous directions including renovations of mental health institute Dharwad, which is today one of the best mental health institute serving needy people of north Karnataka.
  • As a founder first President of Banglaore mediation centre, he was invited to USA by Justice Dept. Of America to have discussions with major institutions like Warner Brothers, Microsoft, GM and Stanford University.
  • Elevated as Chief Justice of Kerala in 2009.
  • Though tenure as Chief Justice in Kerala was hardly one year, because of integrity and uncontroversial nature, his efforts to improve the justice delivery system with innovative ideas earned him good name and he was acclaimed by one and all as only the second best chief justice after Dr.Justice V.S.Malimath, Kerala ever had.
  • He was the first Chief Justice in India, who declared his assets along with all judges of Kerala High Court and posted on website of Kerala High court in September, 2009 and also established first Green Bench to protect environment and bio-structure of Kerala.
  • In fact on the date of his retirement, Justice Krishna Iyer, Former Supreme Court Judge and acclaimed jurist of international repute wrote thus

         "To honour the great Chief Justice Bannurmath, the Chief Justice of Kerala, I join you to pay homage to that high noble functionary. He was a great judge and the qualities of a good justice in the words of Socrates run thus: four things belonged to judge; to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly and to decide impartially".

         His departure leaves a void in the judiciary of Kerala, because it is difficult to find a man of his humility, erudition, compassion and gentlemanliness. He is too young to retire as his rich services are needed for the country at a time when judiciary is normally losing its sublime stature. Our nation is glorious because there are some good bannurmaths. My age and physical ailments prevent me from attending the send-off function. But I wish with all my heart a fine span of peaceful but useful life ahead for this excellent judge.

  • Justice Bannurmath retired on 22.01.2010
  • After retirement he is rendering services as expert committee Chairman of “Advanced Centre of Cyber law and forensics established by National Law School University Bangalore under the project of Department of Information Technology Govt. Of India and also as guest resource person to the NLS and Judicial Academy at Banglore and Bhopal. He was the Chairman “Ethics Committees on Medical Research” of Manipal Group of hospitals.