The history of judiciary of Kodagu that was earlier known as Coorg, forming a beautiful hilly terrain of South India, does not have any recorded history to trace the origins beyond say, three centuries. However, similar to many dynasties in India, this hilly district formed a kingdom extending at time up to the coastal district of South Kanara, and parts of the present Mysore and Hassan District and also parts of the border areas of Kerala, was ruled by kings of various sets of natives, Nayakas etc, the last of them being the Lingayath Rajas of Halleri till it was annexed by the British in 1834.
In between it was ruled by the Mysore rulers – Hyder Ali and Tippu also for a decade. The rule of law during the above period was more a rule of might though prominent citizens participated in the rule making process. However, it is to be mentioned here that the land tenure and divisions and tax system had their roots, though at the pleasure of the Rulers,
in the welfare of the people. You will not find anywhere else the land revenue system and the mode of inheritance and prevention of divisions except by arbitration that was in practice there. After the British annexed this tiny State, administration was streamlined and was subjected to the then Madras Presidency and several reforms are found during the period up to 1947 when India got her independence. Yet the district continued to be a part “C” State Governed centrally.
There was Chief Commissioner under whom the judicial system also functioned with the hierarchy of Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner and so on. Advocates from distant places like Calicut and Ernakulam, Madras used to attend the Madikeri Courts. it was in 1956 that Coorg merged in the then State of Mysore and became a district. The history of Judiciary in and of Kodagu makes interesting reading. The details are unique. It is in this backdrop that the Judiciary of Kodagu functions with a blend of tradition and modernity. Presently Kodagu has a District and Sessions Court at Madikeri, the District Centre.
There is a Fast track Court, Senior Civil Judge & CJM Court and two Civil Judge & JMFC Courts at Madikeri. For dispensation of justice in other areas, there is a Labour Court and a District Consumer Redressal Forum also at Madikeri. The two other Taluk Centres are Somwarpet and Virajpet. Somwarpet has two Civil Judge & JMFC Courts, while Virajpet has a Senior Civil Judge & JMFC Court and one Civil Judge & JMFC Court. A Civil Judge and JMFC court has been recently opened in Ponnampet, a hobli centre of Virajpet Taluk.
The District Court is situated in the heart of Madikeri Town and almost all the Government offices are situated nearly. All the courts in the unit of Kodagu are computerised. All most all the courts are supplied with xerox machines. The District Court is having Fax Machine also. All the courts are well furnished except the newly established court at Ponnampet which is not having own building and the process of the construction is under progress. Own Court building and quarters to Presiding Officers of Labour Court and residential quarters to Addl.Civil Judge & JMFC Somwarpet and Civil Judge & JMFC Ponnampet are the present requirements.
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