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Vol. XXVIII No. 9, August 16-31, 2018

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More on Norton

This refers to the article of Suresh Balakrishnan Eardley Norton – Lawyer outstanding (MM, August 1st).

It was stated in the article that Eardley Norton was enrolled at the Madras Bar and being the latest entrant was appointed Secretary of what in later times came to be known as “Madras Bar Association”.

In the book titled A Century completed – The Madras High Court (1862-1962) edited by late V.C. Gopalratnam, late N. Krishnaswamy Ayengar, retired District Judge and earlier a practising lawyer at Madras High court during the period when Eardley Norton had his practice and had the privilege of instructing him on behalf of his Senior, another renowned Advocate of Madras High Court R. Sadagopachariar observed that Norton practised at the Madras Bar for more than three decades and as his practice widened, he shifted himself to Calcutta and yet Norton would come to Madras to appear in important cases, civil or criminal. While referring to R. Sadagopachariar as one of the leading lawyers, it was remarked that his early appearances were marked by a type of forensic eloquence almost unknown to the profession at that time. Both Norton and Sadagopachariar were very good friends. The approach to a case by Eardley Norton and Sadagopachariar was different. Norton’s way of cross examination was always aggressive. Sadagopachariar’s method was exactly the contrary, he was conciliatory.

Norton has observed in his self typed letter written on 31-12-1960, “where is the patient, courteous hearing, the desire to learn all that had to be learnt, meticulous scrutiny, lest inadvertently injustice perpetrated, the fearless of consequences – where all these have gone? Do our judges possess them now? What is the answer?” Norton has added, “We need strong men with determination to do right irrespective of all consequences. Where are they? You will not find them among the puny clique in Simla or Delhi. I am sometimes very sick at heart.” Norton has concluded addressing Sadagopachariar as “Your affect(sic) friend Eardley Norton.

Late N. Krishnaswamy Ayengar has observed, “Eardley Norton’s name will ever remain immortal in the history of the Madras Bar as a brilliant and fearless advocate, as a quick and resourceful cross-examiner, and as an accomplished and mellifluous speaker.” He has further remarked, “Norton was a true friend of India and strove in his public to promote only her interest. He was associated with Indian National Congress as Chairman of the Reception Committee.”

P.S. Subrahmanian
No 87, Dr.Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore
Chennai 600 004

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