With the appointment of Justice Indira Banerjee as the Chief justice of the Madras High Court on Wednesday, four high courts in India are now headed by women. The sex ratio in the Indian judicial system is skewed as it is not representative of the female population of the country, and therefore, this seems to be a step forward.
However, this progress may be short lived since Chief Justice Rohini will be retiring in two days. Taking into account that two of these women were being considered for elevation to the supreme court, we can hope that there will be more women entering our judicial system.
Justice NN Mhatre, Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court
Born in 1955, Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre graduated from Government Law College, Mumbai. Enrolled as an advocate on the rolls of Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa on 10 November 1978, she practised in the Industrial Tribunal and Labour Court, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal and the High Court at Bombay.
She was transferred to the High Court in Calcutta, and sworn in as its Judge on 6 January 2012.
Further, she was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court on 1 December 2016.
The Calcutta High Court ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation. A division bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty asked the CBI to complete its preliminary inquiry in 72 hours.
Justice Indira Banerjee, Chief Justice of the
Madras High Court
Justice Indira Banerjee served as a judge in the Delhi High Court . She enrolled as an advocate in 1985.
She was appointed permanent judge of Calcutta High Court in February 2002, and was transferred to Delhi High Court in August last year.
She was sworn-in as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on 5 April 2017.
Justice Gorla Rohini, Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court
Born in 1955 at Visakhapatnam, Justice G. Rohini graduated from Osmania University and obtained a degree in Law from the College of Law, Visakhapatnam.
She was enrolled as an Advocate on 18 December 1980, and was active in the Andhra Pradesh High Court at Hyderabad.
She was then appointed as Additional Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on 25 June 2001, and as a Permanent Judge on 31 July 2002.
On 21 April, she was appointed as the first woman Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
Having grown up in an environment where women were only supposed to be involved in the home, she has taken up several cases regarding female infanticide and girl child abuse. She has also fought for the equal rights of working women who are not given the same positions as men in several regions of India.
Justice Manjula Chellur, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court
Born in 1955, Justice Manjula Chellur, obtained her LLB degree from Renukacharya Law College in 1977.
She was the first woman advocate of Bellary, and served as a legal advisor to several banks and agro- industries.
In April 1988, she joined the Karnataka Judicial Service .
She was appointed as a Judge of the Karnataka High Court in February 2000 as its first woman judge, and was also an Executive Chairperson of Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, and took keen interest for the welfare of the transgender community in Karnataka.
She was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court on 9 November 2011, and then as its Chief Justice on 26 September 2012.
Assuming the office of Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court in August 2014, she became the 37th and first ever woman Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.
On 22 August 2016, she assumed the office of Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
Recently, she was at a hearing of a petition filed by a 14-year-old rape victim, seeking Rs three lakh as compensation under the government’s ‘Manodhairya Yojana’. Chellur did not like the way the government was approaching the case as she thought they were being insensitive, and asked them to start taking such matters ‘from the heart’.
(With inputs from: PTI)