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Former Supreme Court judge Justice AR Lakshmanan dies at 78

Justice AR Lakshmanan, former judge of the Supreme Court and ex-chairman of the Law Commission of India, died following a heart attack at a hospital, his family said on Thursday.

He was 78 and he died at a hospital in Tiruchirappalli on Wednesday at 11.30 pm. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.

“He suffered a heart attack at 11 am on Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in Karaikudi where he was stabilised and then admitted to a hospital in Tiruchirappalli where he collapsed before a procedure could be done,” Lakshmanan’s son, ARL Sundaresan, a designated senior advocate, told PTI.

He had been a member, representing Tamil Nadu, in the Supreme Court-appointed empowered committee on Mullaiperiyar dam.

Justice Lakshmanan Arunachalam’s death comes two days after the death of his wife Meenakshi Aachi who passed away on August 24.

A native of Devakottai in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, he was born on March 22, 1942 and graduated from the Madras Law College and enrolled as an advocate in 1968 and practised in writs and criminal matters on the original and appellate sides of the Madras High Court.

He had served as a government pleader, Tamil Nadu government, and had also been a standing counsel to banks before elevation as permanent judge of the Madras High Court on June 14, 1990.

Transferred to the Kerala High Court in 1997, he had also served as Acting Chief Justice there.

He was appointed Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court in 2000 and later served as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2001.

Appointed judge of the Supreme Court on December 20, 2002, he retired on March 22, 2007.

Post-retirement, he was chairman of the Law Commission (18th Law Commission). Justice Lakshmanan was part of a bench that banned smoking in public places.

He permitted “gold cover” for the Sabarimala temple and had ordered that anyone who donated elephant to temples should create a cash endowment for the care of the elephant.

Also, he had issued a telephonic order to permit a student to write a university exam.

A prolific reader, he has authored several books in Tamil and English, including ‘Neethiyin Kural’ (The Voice of Justice) and ‘The Judge Speaks’, a compilation of lectures on various judicial and social issues.