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Justice Choor Singh is no More

Justice Choor Singh's rise from a law clerk to the bench of the Supreme Court made him a 'a symbol of a self-made man', in the words of a Bar Commission member. It was a fitting tribute to Mr Choor Singh, a son of a port security guard, who died on Tuesday (March 31, 2009) at the age of 98.

He was four years old when he arrived in Singapore from Punjab with his mother and sister to join his father.

After his primary education in Pearl's Hill School and Outram School, he studied at Raffles Institution, successfully completing his Senior Cambridge Examinations in 1929. He became a clerk in a local law firm. Three years later, he joined the Government Clerical Services and was posted to the Official Assignee's chambers.

He had far loftier ambitions. Determined to be a lawyer, he spent his spare time reading law books while saving to do a law degree in England. He did not have to. A change in the education policy then allows him to study law at Gray's Inn as an external student and he was called to the English Bar in 1955.

Although studying for his degree, Mr Singh also worked hard and earned an appointment as assistant coroner in 1948. Two years later, he was a full-fledged coroner, and became a district judge in 1960. He was elevated to the Supreme Court bench in August 1963.

Justice Singh also authored two law books, titled Gaming in Malaya published in 1960 and The Law Relating to Money Lenders in 1963. An avid cricketeer in his younger days, he turned to gardening after his retirement in 1981. He leaves behind two sons and a daughter. His wife died earlier.


The sad news of the passing away of Justice Choor Singh cast gloom at the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh. Silence for two minutes was observed to pray for the divine salvation of the departed soul and grant of forbearance to the members of his family.
At the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Institute today, rich tributes were paid to the memory of Justice Choor Singh who had a long association with our Institute and had played a very constructive role in the promotion of the Institute. He will be long remembered with regards for his ready advice on all aspects of the Sikh causes with his vast experience and knowledge of Sikhism.

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