History of Vicissitudes of The Wilkinson Law Library and the Calicut Bar Association
The nucleus of Bar Association, Kozhikode was formed at a meeting held on 06th March 1886 in the District Court, Kozhikode with the then District Judge, Mr.F.H.Wilkinson in the chair. It was decided to form a committee with District Judge as President, the Sub Judge as Vice President and Four practitioners at the Bar as Members to select books and frame rules. Another committee was also formed consisting of 7 members of the Bar to collect donations. A sum of Rs.865/- was promised as donation at the meeting. Because of the active role participation of Mr.Wilkinson, the library came to be named after him. The formal inauguration was done at General Body meeting held on 31st March 1886.
Till about 1896, the District Judge used to be the President and the Sub Judge as Vice President of the Association. In those days there were two classes of members, resident and non-resident.But after 1892, there have been only resident members. Till 1925 there was only this Library Association. On 3rd April 1925 at a meeting of the Members of the Law Library it was resolved “that the Bar Association consists of the Members of the Wilkinson Law Library and the office-bearers of the library shall be ex-officio office-bearers of the Bar Association”.
In its early days, the library was housed in a room in the District Court building. Because of the insufficient accommodation there, the Library was ultimately shifted to its present building.
At the end of the first year, the library consisted of 58 volumes. 65 books belonging to the District Court were also allowed to be used by the members. This practice of making court books available to the members of Bar Association was later discontinued. Almost every year new books are used to be purchased out of the Library funds. This practice has continued till now.Also many eminent lawyers and personalities gifted library books for the use of Bar Association. Presently the library of Bar Association is fairly well equipped with over 3000 volumes.
The Association consisted of 23 resident and 14 non-resident members in the first year. The number of members increased year after year. In 1951-52 a tennis court was also opened for the use of the Members.
In 1957 Sri.K.V.Suryanarayana Ayyar who continued to be the President of Bar Association even after leaving on 01.11.1956 for Ernakulam as Advocate General, succeeded in getting a handsome donation from the late Sri.T.K.Ramanatha Iyer, son of the brilliant lawyer, late Sri.T.A.Kalyanakrishna Iyer, for putting up a hall in memory of his father and on 23.07.1957 Sri.K.T.Koshy, Hon’ble Chief Justice of Kerala, laid foundation stone for the Kalyanakrishna Iyer Hall. In 1975, the then President Sri.Varkey Paikada succeeded in putting up an Annex for housing Canteen for the members.
The Association has always interested itself in matters of general public interest. All important pieces of legislative reforms have been discussed by the Association and its views communicated to the authorities concerned. In matters relating to Tenancy legislation and Marumakkathayam Act, prominent Members of our Association, like late Sir Mannath Krishnan Nair, K.P.Raman Menon, K,Madhavan Nair, K.P.Kutikrishnan Nair and others took leading parts and made valuable contributions.
In the battle for freedom, the Association members played a very prominent role. Late Sri Madhavan Nair, Sri.U.Gopala Menon and Sri.K.P.Kesava menon were pioneers in the movement. Among those who gave up practice during the period were Messrs K.V.Gopala Menon, P.Achuthan, A.Karunakara Menon and K.Kesavan Nair. Among those who courted imprisonment were Sarvashri K.Madhavan Nair,U.Gopala Menon, A.Karunakara Menon, Kozhipurath Madhava Menon, K.P.Ramunni Menon, K.P.Kuttikrishnan Nair, P.I.Kaimal, M.Govinda Menon, V.Raman Menon and K.Bhaskara Menon. Sri.K.Madhava Menon and Sri.K.P.Kuttikrishnan Nair became Law Ministers in the Madras Cabinet before the Presidency was dismembered. Late Sri.Kongat Raman Menon who took a leading part in the movement died while holding the office of Minister for Court and prisons. The Association as a whole also suffered the effects of the repressive measures of the then Government in 1942 when for a month (December 1942) it was sent out of its premises for using the premises to discuss political questions not connected with the profession of Law, by passing a resolution condemning the speech despising India by the British Premier, Churchil.
In Muncipal matters also, the members of Bar Association have taken active part. The first Chairman of Kozhikode Muncipality, Sarvashri Manjeri Subramania Iyer was a member of Calicut Bar Association. Sri.C.V.Narayana Menon, Sri.E.Narayanan Nair, Sri.U.Gopala Menon, Sri.K.V.Suryanarayana Iyer, Sri.K.Madhava Menon, Sri.K.P.Kuttikrishnan Nair and Sri.P.Govinda Menon were members of Kozhikode Muncipality. After Calicut became a Corporation, Sri.P.V.Sankaranarayanan and Sri.C.J.Robin were chaired as Mayors.
On the formation of Kerala state, the then President of Bar Association Sri.K.V.Surya Narayana Iyyer was appointed as the first Advocate General of Kerala, a privilege seldom conferred on muffusil lawyers. Sri.P.Govinda Menon and Sri.S.K.Kader were elevated as Judges of High Court. Sri.P.K.Sankaran Kutty and Sri.P.V.Sankaranarayanan were members of Legislative Assembly.
In 1936 the Association celebrated its Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee in the year 1950.Association conducted Madras State Lawyers Conference in Kozhikode in which the then Attorney General of India Sri.M.C.Setalvad and Hon’ble Supreme Court Judge Sri.P.Govinda Menon guided the proceedings. In 1973 the first Conference of Lawyers from all over Kerala had organized and Hon’ble Justice P.N.Bhagavathi and Hon’ble Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer guided the proceedings.In this conference, the then President of Bar Association Sri.Joseph Jacob was unanimously elected as the first President of the Kerala Bar Federation on its formation.
With a view to render free legal aid to indigent litigants, the Kozhikode Legal Aid Council was inaugurated in 1976 by Hon’ble Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer and the National Forum for Legal Aid wa inaugurated in 1977 by Dr.V.A.Syed Muhammed, M.P. In 1977 March, the Lawyers Democratic Front was inaugurated by Sri.Shanti Bhushan, the then Union Minister of Law.
The Bar Association, Kozhikode has always a good tradition of comraderie and commonness of purpose in all matters affecting its Members and general public. It has on several occasions contributed liberally to help members who need help. When the freedom of the judiciary was jeopardized and impaired, the Bar Association raised its voice and carried on its fight successfully to restore the Rule of Law and Equality before Law.
OFFICE BEARERS OF VARIOUS BAR ASSOCIATION IN KOZHIKODE
|President||Adv. P Chandran||9387209055|
|Secretary||Adv. Praveen Ottur||8547069120|