JUSTICE (RETIRED) Giridhar Malaviya was born in a family of freedom fighters in November 1936. Grandson of Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and son of Late Pandit Govind Malaviya, he is a product of the Banaras Hindu University. Enrolled as a pleader in 1959 and an advocate in 1960, he worked for some time with Sardar Gyan Singh Vohra in the Tis Hazari Courts of Delhi.
After the untimely death of his father who was a member of Lok Sabha from Sultanpur, in 1961 he settled in Allahabad. He practised in district courts with the leading lawyer Pt Vishwanath Pandey for three years and then shifted to the High Court in 1965. Although, Justice Malaviya had his training and practice on the civil side he was appointed a counsel for the State of UP on the criminal side and was one of the most sought after government counsels by the State officials.
He was elevated to the Bench of the Allahabad High Court, on March 14, 1988. As a judge, Justice Malaviya was almost always put by the Chief Justices to decide the cases pending on the criminal side. It was he, who, for the sake of individual liberty of citizens, decided that since in UP provisions of anticipatory bail had been done away with and as there was no dearth of cases involving false implications by interested parties against the persons purely due to malice, it was necessary that any person accused of a criminal offence could be sent to jail after a judicial officer had examined the papers thoroughly and was satisfied that there was a prima facie evidence of his involvement in the crime and not merely on the asking of interested party or a police inspector.
Justice Malaviya believed that a large number of pending cases in the High Court required a judge to decide as many cases as could be practicable but only after hearing the counsel so that neither the counsel nor the client should have the feeling that he was not properly heard.
Justice Malaviya never bothered to find out the approximate number of cases that were decided by him during his tenure of ten years and seven months. However, he disposed of a large number of cases to ensure speedy justice. He took stock of cases pending in the High Court on the criminal side and decided to reduce its back log. He even took initiative to dispose of a large number of cases on the basis of the plea bargain which was, in fact not in force in the country at that time.
In 1997 Justice Malaviya took up the issue of pollution in the Ganga and the Yamuna and passed effective orders in this direction. After his retirement from the High Court Justice Malaviya remain the Executive Chairman of the UP Legal Services Authority. Thereafter, he was appointed chairman of the Agra Enquiry Commission. He has completed the enquiry and will shortly submit his report to the UP Government. He is involved with many social and cultural organisations
Excerpts from the interview
When I was a nine-year-old boy, my grandfather Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya told my father Pt Govind Malaviya that it was time for my 'yagyopavit' (thread ceremony). When my father said that it was too early, the grandfather said: " I wish to impart the 'diksha' of Gayatri Mantra to Giridhar." Brahmins of Kashi asked me to repeat whatever Mahamana was reciting in my ear when imparting diksha.
I repeated every word of the Gayatri Mantra which was recited by Mahamana in a very weak voice. When the mantra was complete, Mahamana blessed me with the words "Chiranjivi Bhav" and I repeated these words too. On this, every body present there burst into laughter and Mahamana said: "I am being blessed by a new Brahmin."
My father Pt Govind Malaviya remained secretary to his father Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya for several years during his tenure as vice-chancellor of BHU. He assisted Mahamana so well in his functioning that Mahatma Gandhi wrote in his article that had he got a secretary like Govind Malaviya he would have succeeded in doing much more.
My father and Nehruji were very good friends despite differences on cultural issues. During Lok Sabha elections in 1957, all Congress aspirants were asked to give an undertaking that they would not practise casteism in social and personal relations. However, my father, who was asked to contest from Sultanpur seat, declined to give this undertaking despite pleas made by KC Pant and other prominent leaders.
The then Congress president UN Dhebar allotted the ticket to some other person and sent the list to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru for its finalisation.
When Nehru saw my father's name missing, he enquired about the reason. The next day Nehru's secretary phoned my father and requested him to meet Nehru in Delhi. When my father called on Nehruji, he asked: Do you still believe in untouchability.
Govindji said neither Mahamana nor he ever believed in untouchability and that he even avoided to take food or water at his nephew and Petroleum Minister Keshav Dev Malaviya's place because he was non-vegetarian. "It is a matter of personal hygiene," he quipped. On this Nehruji told him that he was right and he must file his nomination.
However, Govindji said he won't do so until the Congress president talked to him. After getting a letter from the Congress president, Govindji filed his papers and won the election from Sultanpur.
In 1992, I was suffering from the problem of slip disk and doctors advised to take bed rest for at least six weeks. After some time when the doctors permitted me to sit with a back rest for a short while I asked my doctor if I could go to the High Court and do some work lying on a hard bed and I was allowed to do so. I then resolved to decide the government appeals against the orders of acquittal filed in the High Court, pending admission since the year 1972 onwards as in those cases I had only to hear the government counsel. I heard all the pending appeals for admission and by the time I resumed my normal sitting in court the government appeals for admission were filed straight in the court and disposed of.
It's a different matter that one of the complainants who had filed a government appeal against the acquittal of the accused went to the Supreme Court and the apex court remanded the matter back to the High Court for giving detailed reasons for not admitting the appeal at the preliminary hearing without considering its earlier views.