Senior judge Gopal Sri Ram in legal tussle over law books

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

Federal Court judge Datuk Gopal Sri Ram has filed a civil suit against his former partners in their legal firm over the right to claim a collection of law books that he says belong to him until he left in 1994.

Submissions were made by both sides at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday afternoon before Judicial Commissioner Harminder Singh and a verdict is expected on Aug 14.

At stake are law-related materials consisting of books, reports, journals and others that are part of the law library of the law firm of Sri Ram and Co up until Sri Ram's retirement from his partnership of that firm on Sept 17, 1994.

Sri Ram is the sole plaintiff while eight defendants have been named — Datuk C. Vijaya Kumar, C. Sri Kumar, R. Mohana Krishnan, Umadevi Govindasamy, Sabriya Khan, Balvinder Singh Kenth, Elizabeth Verghis and Godfrey D'Cruz.

Top lawyers Raja Aziz Addruse and Manjeet Singh Dhillon are representing Sri Ram in the suit and while his former partners have assigned Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, Nahendran Navaratnam, Alex D’Silva, N.V. Sree Harry and Chetan Jethwani as their lawyers.

According to court documents, Sri Ram claims that he built up the library as a sole proprietor of the law firm up until 1983 and partners who joined subsequent to that date were only profit and not asset-sharing partners.