Suburban resident lawyer helps in social causes

By S Vishnu Sharmaa Published on Jul 23, 2018 01:07 PM IST

Chennai: Vaidyanathan S is a man with many talents.

A resident of Rajiv Gandhi Street in Muthulakshmi Nagar in Tambaram in the city suburb, he has been a CBI officer and a banker and, today as a lawyer, serves the public on social causes.

His work to save the Chitlapakkam lake is acknowledged by everyone. Using his knowledge of the law, he tackles civic issues like bad roads, garbage dumping and encroachments in the neighbourhood through RTI petitions.

News Today spoke to him to know more about his busy, eventful life and his contributions to the locality.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q) What motivated you to study law and what is the most memorable part of your career as lawyer?

A: To be honest, my law degree was purely a coincidence. Since I was working with the CBI, I was naturally attracted to this qualification for honing my skills as an investigator. However, down the line, law became my passion and my career.

I always believed that I had good argumentative skills and the power of rational thinking. My wife, children and close friends were also convinced of my abilities and I decided to make law my career at a point in life when most people think of settling down their children and planning a decent retirement.

Q) Tell us about your service to Chitlapakkam and Tambaram as a lawyer.

A: I have been taking up day-to-day issues like garbage dumping, road encroachments, illegal meat shops, poor quality of road laying by the Panchayat and so on by filing RTI petitions.

However, the response from government officials is poor and they tend to take it personally. Other like-minded organisations and individuals and I are doing our best to question the encroachments in our area and are fighting hard to save the Chitlapakkam lake.

Q) You were a banker and also worked in CBI. How did that happen?

A: Banking industry had a charm during our college days. After joining the bank as a vigilance officer, I realised that in an organisation, it is important to be in the mainstream.

Hence, I switched to general banking and was a branch manager at various branches. During this time I found that the smaller borrowers, especially agriculturists, were more sincere than the bigger ones in repaying loans.

Q) What constructive role can lawyers play in building a healthy society?

A: The common man tends to believe what lawyers say and, hence, we must try not to encourage litigation and, instead, try and sort out problems through discussions.

People must be encouraged by lawyers to use the RTI Act, PILs, ombudsman, consumer forum and other such platforms for the common good. The process may be slow but will definitely yield results.

Advocates can devote some time to highlight common causes and in educating people about their rights and responsibilities.

Vaidyanathan can be reached at 9444204922.