Punch Coomaraswamy

Punch Coomaraswamy, Justice, (b.1925, Segamat, Johor, Malaysia - d. 8 January 1999, Singapore), High Court judge and High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia and Fiji. Also Ambassador to the US and Brazil.

His early education was at the English College in Johor. He obtained his law degree from the University of Nottingham in England.

Coomaraswamy made his mark in both the legal sphere and diplomatic arena, as an envoy for Singapore. He was High Commissioner and Ambassador to over eight countries. He was also acknowledged by noted lawyers as their teacher in the finer points of law during the 1950s and 1960s.

1960s : Practised law at Braddell Brothers.
1966 : Appointed Deputy Speaker.
1966 - 1970 : Speaker of Parliament.
1970 - 1973 : High Commissioner to India, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh (from 1972) and the Ambassador to Nepal.
1973 - 1976 : High Commissioner to Australia and Fiji.
Oct 1976 - Aug 1984 : He served as Ambassador to the United States and Brazil.
Aug 1984 : Appointed a Supreme Court judge.
1984 - 1993 : High Court judge.
Oct 1993 : Retired.

1946 : The Pacific War (1941 to 1945) Medal (UK).
1980 : The Meritorious Service Medal.

After a bout of lung problems, he died in his sleep at his Bukit Timah home on 8 January 1999 at the age of 73.

Wife: Kaila nee Appachy (b. 1928?), whom he married in 1956
Sons: Mohan, banker, and Vinodh, lawyer. Vinodh is married to Shantini Tharmanason, also a lawyer by training. Vinodh was the first Singaporean to top the UK Bar exams which he did in 1991.
Daughter: Shoba, teacher.

He had 5 grandchildren.

Bonny Tan

Who's who in Malaysia and guide to Singapore (p. 29). (1973). Kuala Lumpur: J. V. Morais.
(Call no.: RCLOS 920.0595 WWM)

After nine years, Justice Punch Coomawaraswamy retires from Bench. (1993, October 1). The Straits Times, p. 3.

Ex-envoy and High Court judge dies. (1999, January 9). The Straits Times, Home, p. 48.

Judges and lawyers pay last respects. (1999, January 10). The Straits Times, Home, p. 23. 

Know your law and apply it well, judge tells new lawyers. (1992, June 11). The Straits Times, p. 19. 

Further Readings
President and SM pay respects. (1999, January 13 ). The Straits Times, Home, p. 32.

The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.

Community leaders
Law and government>>Public administration
Personalities>>Biographies>>Community leaders
Coomaraswamy, Punch, 1925-1999

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