Eldest son of the late Justice Ch. Raghava Rao of the High Court of
Madras and the late Srimathi Chintagunta Seethalakshmamma garu. Father died
in 1954 at the age of fifty eight even before his retirement from the Bench
of the High Court which he adorned for about five years from 1949.
Mother died in 1986 at the age of eighty four.
had no school education but enough culture, as a bashful young wife, to
correct father who was reading a word in the Daasaraathi Satakam, as
“Durvaaraka - bandha rakshasa viraama” and learnt to read it
correctly from her as “Durvaarakabandha raakshasa viraama. Father picked up
enough Sanskrit and Telugu for a high reputation in his own life time for
scholarship, but his recalling of the incident was proof of his candour and
studied the English Language and literature under rare masters like Dr. Sir
R. Venkataratnam Naidu of the Andhra University and Professor Mark Hunter
of the Madras Presidency College. He then studied law and did his apprentice-ship
at law under the late Dr. Alladi Krishna Swami who had a long innings as
Advocate General of the Madras High Court. Father was a resounding success
at the Bar of the Madras High Court from his first year as a legal
practitioner until his elevation to the Bench of that court.
the time of his accession to the Bench, the then President of the
Madras High Court Advocates’ Association, Pappu Soma Sundaram, a veteran of
many a passage – at – arms at the Bar observed in his welcome address,
“A terror to his opponent at the Bar, a terror to the presiding
judge, we shall be missing his reverberating eloquence in these court halls
for long years to come”. The observation was greeted with long and loud
cheers by the audience. At the time of his premature demise in 1954, Dr.
Rajamannar Chief Justice of the High Court said, “Shri Raghava Rao
was not merely an advocate, he was an orator. His oratory was sound
in theory and good in effect”.
Ch. Raghava Rao was arguing for the appellant in a second appeal before a
Division Bench consisting of their Lordships Mr. Justice King, an English
man, and Mr. Justice S.Varadachari. He was relying on a judgment of the
Privy Council which had been used against his client by both the courts below.
The judgement of the Privy council, brief and crisp, yielded to a
sentence-by-sentence treatment at his hands. After listening for some
time, Mr. Justice King took occasion to remark, “Mr. Raghava Rao, you talk
like a Professor of English!” And, pat went the reply “Well, my lord, your
Lordship may be born to the language but I have been bred up to it. And it
may interest your Lordship to know that I am blessed with a degree of this
University which entitles me to speak like a professor of English”. Shortly
thereafter, the argument came to a close and the judgement went entirely in
favour of the appellant, Recalling the incident, Sri Ch.
Raghava Rao cautioned his son, “Had it not been that Mr. Justice King
was an Englishman with a sporting spirit, I might not have gone in
for that kind of retort, which paid off well, as it turned out.”
for the legal profession by such a distinguished luminary at the Bar, Sri
Ch.S.Rao has his own success stories to relate with reference to his
professional years but he feels enriched with memories of his official
career linked to the stage-by-stage growth of the Department of company
affairs in the Government of India for a stretch of over 27 years, from
Ch.S.Rao derives his taste for English from his father, so also the taste
for Sanskrit and Telugu to which he is passionately attached and in which
he has gained a proficiency by dint of enthusiastic personal effort. In
reference to the last two languages an equal share of credit goes to
his mother for encouragement amply received.