Spotlight shines on no-nonsense judge Michael D'Cunha yet again

By convicting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha for amassing wealth disproportionate to her known source of income, Special Judge John Michael D’Cunha has hogged the limelight for the second time.

The first time he made headlines was when he issued a non-bailable warrant against the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti in August 2004 in connection with her role in the 1994 Hubli riots over hoisting of the national flag at the Idgah Maidan. He was serving as Additional Sessions Judge in Hubli then.

D’Cunha was appointed fifth judge in October 2013 to preside over the special court in Bangalore conducting the trial of the case against Jayalalitha. He heard the final arguments afresh and even passed strictures against the accused and their counsel.
During the course of hearing of final arguments, he gave an indication of his stern approach by rebuking the defence for what he called attempts at “protracting the trial and suppressing the facts from the court.”

A native of Gurpur Kaikamba, about 18 km from Mangalore, D’Cunha began his practice in 1985, after his studies at SDM Law College in Mangalore. After practising for a few years under eminent lawyers, four advocates joined together to form Manu Associates in 1996. While ‘M’ stands for Michael D’Cunha, ‘A’ stands for Amruth Kini, ‘N’ for M P Noronha and ‘U’ for Ullal S K.

However, in 1999, he quit the Port City for better prospects and started practising in the Karnataka High Court. He was selected District Judge in 2002 and since then, has served in various positions in Dharwad, Bellary and Bangalore courts, including secretary to the Chief Justice and Registrar (Vigilance) of the High Court, before taking up the present position in October 2013.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Advocate M P Noronha, one of the partners of Manu Associates, said D’Cunha had earned name and fame not only in the Uma Bharti case, but also in a number of cases pertaining to family court, during his term as a family court judge.

He had also served as president of the Karnataka Judges Association. During his student days, he was a good volleyball player, too, recalled Advocate Amruth Kini, another partner of Manu Associates.

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