High Court of Kerala
09°59′10″N 76°16′30″E / 9.98611°N 76.27500°E / 9.98611; 76.27500
Established1 November 1956; 67 years ago (1956-11-01)
Lakshadweep (union territory)
LocationKochi, Ernakulam, Kerala
Coordinates09°59′10″N 76°16′30″E / 9.98611°N 76.27500°E / 9.98611; 76.27500
Composition methodPresidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.
Authorized byConstitution of India
Appeals toSupreme Court of India
Judge term lengthMandatory retirement by age of 62
Number of positionsPermanent Judges: 35 (including CJ)
Additional Judges: 12
Chief Justice of Kerala
CurrentlyAshish Jitendra Desai
Since22 July 2023

The High Court of Kerala is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and the Union territory of Lakshadweep. It is located in Kochi. Drawing its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has the power to issue directions, orders and writs including the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for ensuring the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution to citizens or for other specified purposes. The High Court is empowered with original, appellate and revisional jurisdiction in civil as well as criminal matters, and the power to answer references to it under some statutes. The High Court has the superintendence and visitorial jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals of inferior jurisdiction covered under its territorial jurisdiction.

At present, the sanctioned Judge strength of the High Court of Kerala is 35 Permanent Judges including the Chief Justice and 12 Additional Judges.[1] Depending on the importance and nature of the question to be adjudicated, the judges sit as Single (one judge), Division (two judges), Full (three judges) or such other benches of larger strengths.

The foundation stone for the new multi-storied building now housing the High Court of Kerala was laid on 14 March 1994 by the then Chief Justice of India, Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah. The estimated cost of construction was 100 million Indian rupees.[2] The construction was completed in 2005 at a cost of 850 million Indian rupees. The completed High Court building was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Y. K. Sabharwal on 11 February 2006. The new High Court building is equipped with modern amenities like videoconferencing, air conditioned courtrooms, internet, and facilities for retrieval of order copies and publishing of the case status via the internet. The building is built on 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and has a built-up area of 550,000 square feet (51,000 m2) over nine floors. The building has in it a post office, bank, medical clinic, library, canteens and such other most needed utilities and services. The High Court of Kerala has moved to its new building from the date of its inauguration, from the adjacent palace, where it had been functioning.

History of judicial system in the State of Kerala

KHCAA Golden Jubilee Chamber Complex
Ernakulam District Court Complex
Heritage Building of Ernakulam District Court

The present State of Kerala is result of integrating the erstwhile princely kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin with Malabar district and Kasaragod. The present judicial system in Kerala has its roots dating back to the days of the monarchs of the Kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin.

Early Reforms in the Kingdom of Travancore

In 1799, the Kingdom of Travancore became a vassal state of the British Empire. British diplomats encouraged judicial reform as they became involved in the political affairs of Travancore.

In 1811, following the 1808 insurrection against British Cochin and Quilon, Colonel H. M. Munro succeeded Colonel Macaulay as the Resident in Travancore with supervision over the Kingdom of Cochin. Following an investigation into the rampant lawlessness and the abuse of the system, Colonel Munro surveyed the region with his assistant Captain Blacker and established reforms including courts, pensions, and construction of roads, bridges and schools. He functioned as the Diwan until February 1818 when he handed over the reins to Nanjappayya of Coimbatore. Thus it was Colonel Munro who laid the foundations for a systematic legal system, resulting in the present day scenario. Until his time, there were no independent tribunals for the administration of justice.[3][citation needed]

Judicial system in the Kingdom of Travancore

In the Kingdom of Travancore, Munro recommended necessary regulations to be passed for the reorganisation of the Courts. These recommendations were accepted by the then king and a Regulation in tune to his recommendations was passed in 1811. Zilla Courts and a Huzur Court were established in the Kingdom of Travancore, in the years 1811 and 1814 respectively. Munro established five zilla (District) courts in A.D 1811 at Padmanabhapuram, Thiruvananthapuram, Mavelikkara, Vaikom and Aluva. Huzur Court, which functioned as the final appellate Court was later replaced by Sadar Court in 1861. Sadar Court, which possessed almost all the powers of the present High Court of Kerala, continued functioning until 1881. Later in 1887, the High Court of Travancore was established with bench strength of five judges. One among the five judges was appointed as the Chief Justice. The judges had the assistance of a Pundit, who acted as an amicus curiae to advise them on the various points of Hindu law. Ramachandra Iyer was appointed as the first Chief Justice.[citation needed]

Judicial system in the Kingdom of Cochin

In the Kingdom of Cochin, Desavazhis and Naduvazhis were empowered to settle the disputes following the prevailing customary law. More serious matters used to be attended by the monarch himself. In 1812, for the first time in its history, graded law courts were established under the Diwanship of Colonel Munro, in the Kingdom of Cochin. The first Subordinate Courts (Sub Courts) were established by Colonel Munro at Trichur (Thrissur) and Tripunithura. Until 1835, Huzur Court was the final appellate Court. Huzur Court had a bench strength of three judges. Later the Huzur Court was reconstituted as Rajah's Court of Appeal and Subordinate Courts were reconstituted as Zilla Courts. The Zilla Courts were empowered with unlimited jurisdiction, but subject to the confirmation from the Rajah's Court of Appeal. The Rajah's Court of Appeal was reconstituted as the Chief Court of Cochin in 1900. The Chief Court of Cochin had three permanent judges one of whom acted as the Chief Judge. Mr. S. Locke was appointed as the first Chief Judge. Later the Chief Court of Cochin was reconstituted as the High Court, during the Diwanship of Sri. Shanmukham Chettiyar.

After the integration of Travancore and Cochin kingdoms

After India gained her independence on 15 August 1947, the Kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin were integrated to form the Travancore-Cochin State or Thiru-Kochi on 1 July 1949. Later, the High Court of Travancore-Cochin was established at Ernakulam on 7 July 1949 under the Travancore-Cochin High Court Act (1949). Mr. Puthupally Krishna Pillai was the last Chief Justice of High Court of Travancore-Cochin.[citation needed]

Establishment of High Court of Kerala

On 1 November 1956, the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 was passed thereby integrating the State of Travancore-Cochin with Malabar district and Kasaragod to form the present State of Kerala. The High Court of Kerala, as it is today was established on 1 November 1956 as the High Court designated for the State of Kerala. The Kerala High Court Act, 1958 defined the jurisdiction and various functions, and powers of the High Court of Kerala. Initially, many cases from both the Travancore-Cochin High Court and the High Court of Madras were transferred to the High Court of Kerala for adjudication. Justice K. T. Koshi was appointed as the first Chief Justice of High Court of Kerala.


The current sitting judges of the court are as follows:[4]

Name Position From
Ashish Jitendra Desai Chief Justice 21 November 2011
(CJ w.e.f. 22 July 2023)
A. Muhamed Mustaque Permanent Judge 10 March 2016
A. K. Jayasankaran Nambiar Permanent Judge 10 March 2016
Anil K. Narendran Permanent Judge 10 March 2016
P. B. Suresh Kumar Permanent Judge 20 May 2016
Amit Rawal Permanent Judge 12 November 2019
Anu Sivaraman Permanent Judge 5 April 2017
Raja Vijayaraghavan V. Permanent Judge 5 April 2017
Mary Joseph Permanent Judge 5 April 2017
Sathish Ninan Permanent Judge 16 March 2018
Devan Ramachandran Permanent Judge 16 March 2018
P. Somarajan Permanent Judge 16 March 2018
Dinesh Kumar Singh Permanent Judge 21 July 2023
V. G. Arun Permanent Judge 5 November 2018
N. Nagaresh Permanent Judge 5 November 2018
C. S. Dias Permanent Judge 18 November 2019
P. V. Kunhikrishnan Permanent Judge 13 February 2020
T. R. Ravi Permanent Judge 6 March 2020
Bechu Kurian Thomas Permanent Judge 6 March 2020
Gopinath P Permanent Judge 6 March 2020
Murali Purushothaman Permanent Judge 25 February 2021
Ziyad Rahman A. A Permanent Judge 25 February 2021
K. Babu Permanent Judge 25 February 2021
Kauser Edappagath Permanent Judge 25 February 2021
A. Badharudeen Permanent Judge 25 June 2021
Viju Abraham Permanent Judge 13 August 2021
Mohammed Nias C. P Permanent Judge 13 August 2021
Basant Balaji Additional Judge 8 October 2021
C. Jayachandran Additional Judge 20 October 2021
Sophy Thomas Additional Judge 20 October 2021
P. G. Ajithkumar Additional Judge 20 October 2021
C. S. Sudha Additional Judge 20 October 2021
Shoba Annamma Eapen Additional Judge 18 May 2022
Johnson John Additional Judge 25 October 2023
G Girish Additional Judge 25 October 2023
C Pratheep Kumar Additional Judge 25 October 2023

Former Chief Justices

Sl No Name of the Chief Justice From To
1 K. T. Koshi 12 September 1944 30 January 1959
2 K. Sankaran 16 August 1946 29 March 1960
3 Mohammed Ahmed Ansari[5] 29 March 1960 26 November 1961
4 M. S. Menon 29 January 1953 12 June 1969
5 P. T. Raman Nair 22 February 1957 1 September 1971
6 T. C. Raghavan 15 December 1959 21 May 1973
7 P. Govindan Nair 29 January 1962 3 January 1977
8 V. P. Gopalan Nambiyar 22 March 1965 19 January 1980
9 V. Balakrishna Eradi 5 April 1967 30 January 1981
10 P. Subramanian Poti 20 March 1969 26 September 1983
11 K. Bhaskaran 3 April 1972 9 October 1985
12 V. S. Malimath 24 October 1985 11 June 1991
13 M. Jagannadha Rao[6] 8 August 1991 5 April 1994
14 Sujata V. Manohar 21 April 1994 4 November 1994
15 M. M. Pareed Pillay 3 January 1985 17 September 1995
16 U. P. Singh 23 July 1996 19 December 1997
17 Om Prakash Verma 20 November 1997 19 March 1999
18 Arijit Pasayat 20 September 1999 8 May 2000
19 Arvind Vinayakarao Savant 30 May 2000 17 September 2000
20 K.K. Usha 25 February 2001 3 July 2001
21 B. N. Srikrishna 6 September 2001 1 October 2002
22 Jawahar Lal Gupta 1 November 2002 22 January 2004
23 N K Sodhi 5 April 2004 17 November 2004
24 B. Subhashan Reddy 21 November 2004 2 March 2005
25 Rajeev Gupta 27 April 2005 11 January 2006
26 Vinod Kumar Bali 22 January 2006 24 January 2007
27 H. L. Dattu 18 May 2007 12 December 2008
28 S. R. Bannurmath 18 March 2009 22 January 2010
29 Jasti Chelameswar 17 March 2010 10 October 2011
30 Manjula Chellur 26 September 2012 5 August 2014
31 Ashok Bhushan 26 March 2015 12 May 2016
32 Mohan Shantanagoudar 22 September 2016 17 February 2017
33 Navniti Prasad Singh 20 March 2017 5 November 2017
34 Antony Dominic 6 February 2018 28 May 2018
35 Hrishikesh Roy 8 August 2018 22 September 2019
36 S. Manikumar 11 October 2019 23 April 2023
37 Sarasa Venkatanarayana Bhatti 1 June 2023 13 July 2023


The High Court of Kerala building in Kochi had not assigned Number 13 to any of its courtrooms due to triskaidekaphobia. This created a controversy in Kerala as the state prides itself on being the most literate in India. A petitioner questioned this in Kerala High Court itself whether it was due to superstitious beliefs, as the room numbering skipped from 12 to 14. After hearing this petition, the High Court not only dismissed it, but imposed a fine of 10,000 (US$130) on the petitioner. Later, the Supreme Court of India over-ruled the High Court's decision admonishing the encouragement of superstitions saying that "The High Court is an institution. It should not be allowed to encourage this sort of superstitions"[7][8][9]

Kerala Legislative Assembly passed resolution for setting up a high court bench at Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala. The Union Government and the Supreme Court are favourable in sanctioning more high court benches in country, and had already sanctioned many in other states. However, a new high court bench at Thiruvananthapuram is still pending, due to opposition by some in the high court at Ernakulam. The opposition is based on the rationale that when the United State of Travancore-Cochin (the forerunner to the State of Kerala) was created, it was agreed that its capital would be Travancore's capital Thiruvananthapuram, where the legislature and the executive would be based, but that the judiciary would be based in Kochi, Cochin's capital.

Notable Judges

Justice KG Balakrishnan former chief justice of india

Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer former supreme court Judge

Justice CT Ravikumar Judge, Supremecourt of India

Justice K.M.Joseph former Judge, Supreme court of India

Justice Kurien joseph former Judge Supreme court of India

Justice V. Balakrishna Eradi Former Judge, Supreme court of India

See also

How To Check Kerala High Court Case Status Online?


  1. ^ "High Court of Kerala Profile". highcourtofkerala.nic.in. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Funds for infrastructure of High Courts". Press Information Bureau for Government of India. Archived from the original on 4 January 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  3. ^ Playne S, Bond JW, Wright A. (2004) Southern India: its history, people, commerce, and industrial resources, page 368. Asian Educational Services
  4. ^ "High Court of Kerala – Profile of sitting judges". Archived from the original on 3 July 2023. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  5. ^ Profile of M. A. Ansari at Andhra Pradesh High Court.
  6. ^ Personal website of M. Jagannadha Rao Archived 17 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Kerala high court told not to be superstitious". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2006.
  8. ^ "Number 13 finds ally in Kerala MLA". NDTV. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  9. ^ "SC regrets Kerala HC's superstitious belief". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 November 2006.[dead link]