A native of Nagercoil, Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu, Justice N. Seshasayee was born on 8th January 1963, to Shri.Narayana Iyer and Smt.Rukmoni at Mancompu, a village in the backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala.
His father was in the State Judicial Service, and hence he had his early schooling at multiple stations where his father was posted. He did his second half of his schooling at S.L.B. Govt. Higher Secondary School, Nagercoil, and proceed to pursue his graduation in Economics in the Scott Christian College, Nagercoil. He obtained his bachelors degree with a University rank from the Madurai Kamaraj University in 1983.Following his father’s footsteps, he joined law at the Madras Law College, and obtained his law degree in 1986.
On his enrolment on 10-09-1986, he joined the office of late N.Chidamabarakrishnan, a doyen of not just of the local Bar, but of the South Travancore prior to State Re-organisation. His office was about a century old with a vast library and substantial work on the civil side.
In May 1991, he was married to Priya, who was the only child to late S.Parameswaran, Advocate, Ernakulam, Kerala. Soon, calamity struck when Priya died in a road accident, following which Justice Seshasayee shifted his practice to the High Court of Kerala to practise under his father-in-law. This was between 1992-1995.
Both his seniors moulded his attitude and sculpted his character on a plane of strong ethical fidelity and professional standards. Justice Seshasayee is interested to work on the first principles, for which he had had abundant opportunity under his senior late Chidambarakrishnan to acquire and strengthen his knowlege on them. This period of tutelage also helped him develop an ability for linear thinking and analysis. Late Parameswaran, on the other hand, provided Justice Seshasayee enormous opportunities to sharpen his ability and skills in advocacy.
His stint at Ernakulam was also significant as it provided him with an incredible opportunity to be a law clerk of sort to assist late V.R.Krishna Iyer J in the latter’s legal writings – from legal research, to typing his manuscripts to proof reading. While paying tribute to him (in his reply speech delivered on his elevation to the address of the Advocate General) Justice Seshasayee recalls his private conversation with Justice Iyer, and says:
“He (Justice Iyer) observed that all that a Judge requires is a mind that can get painfully distressed to witness injustice, more particularly that which the voiceless millions of this country experience and are exposed to in all its multitudinous dimensions....... without pleading helplessness a judge only needs to be sensitive to respond to injustice. I have seen his eyes turning profusely lachrymose when some citizen walks into ‘Satgamaya’ to narrate his sufferings. They for me were the early lessons in judicial sensitivity to human suffering. Never did I realize that this limited and almost inconsequential experience under the great master will be of immeasurable advantage in my later years. On his centenary it's befitting to affirm that I am keen to stand by the values that he stood for. I must confess that at one time his influence on me was so dominant that it took me close to two decades to develop my own style of writing.”
In 1995 he returned to Nagercoil to shoulder the responsibility of continuing the legacy of his senior late Chidambarakrishnan. Within few years he built considerable practice on the civil side. He is since married to Bhagavathi alias Girija and has a son Mukunth Narayanan.
He joined the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Services as a District Judge (Direct Recruit) on 06.06.2004, and he was posted as a Trainee District Judge at Chengalpet. He was posted as the First Additional District Judge, Tirunelveli on 06.06.2006, from where he was transferred and posted as Presiding Officer, Special Court for TNPID Cases, Madurai on 07.04.2008. Between 2009-2011 he served as the Registrar (Judicial) of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court from 2009 to 2011. In April, 2011 he was posted at Coimbatore. He served as the Principal District Judge at Coimbatore and then at Salem. On 16-11-2016 he was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court. He was made a permanent judge of the said High Court on 02.11.2018.
He draws immense strength from a philosophy that he has developed for himself: “It is our moment in the history of the nation and human civilisation; what best can we do?” He constantly reminds himself: “Respect, and even revere the contributions of all eminent personalities who have hitherto walked on this planet, but forget not that they had given their best and had done what they were destined to deliver in their moments in the history. It is now our time, and we have a duty to the nation and the institutions to which we belong.”
He records his attitude to his work in his reply speech (above referred to ):
“I may not be a slot machine stuff to produce instant judgments all the time. However, I state that nothing is dearer to me than the commitment to fulfill the trust that the society reposes in our legal system and in that endeavour I promise I will not relax until my conscience is satisfied that I have given my best.....”
His other interests include fine arts, cricket, Indian philosophy and prefers books on philosophy, Indian history, spirituality, jurisprudence etc.