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SC Creates History, 11 Women Lawyers Given “Senior Advocate” Status

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NEW DELHI, Jan 19: The Supreme Court on Friday created history giving “Senior Advocate” status to 11 women lawyers in a single day. In the court’s history of 75 years, only 12 women lawyers so far have been given the status of Senior Advocate.

Under the leadership of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, 56 lawyers including the 11 women and 34 first-generation lawyers were given the status of Senior Advocate.

The 11 women lawyers are Shobha Gupta, Swarupama Chaturvedi, Liz Mathew, Karuna Nundy, Uttara Babbar, Haripriya Padmanabhan, Archana Pathak Dave, Shirin Khajuria, NS Nappinai, S Janani, and Nisha Bagchi.

The first-generation lawyers included Amit Anand Tiwari, Saurabh Mishra and Abhinav Mukherjee. The decision was taken in a full-court meeting of the Supreme Court held earlier in the day.

Welcoming the decision of giving the status of Senior Advocate to a large number of women lawyers, Additional Solicitor General and Senior Advocate Aishwarya Bhati said this was a historic step of the Supreme Court, and “truly a service to gender justice by recognising the merit of women lawyers, which shows respect for them.”

The Supreme Court had until now given Senior Advocate status to only 14 women – including two retired judges. In 2019, the Supreme Court had simultaneously given Senior Lawyer status to six women lawyers – Madhavi Dewan, Maneka Guruswamy, Anita Shenoy, Aparajita Singh, Aishwarya Bhati, and Priya Hingorani.

The first woman lawyer to be made a Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court was Justice Indu Malhotra, who later became a judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Malhotra was nominated in 2007, 57 years after the Supreme Court came into existence. After this, in 2013, Meenakshi Arora, Kiran Suri and Vibha Dutta Makhija were made Senior Lawyers, taking the number to four. In 2015, two more women lawyers were nominated – V Mohana and Mahalakshmi Pavani – taking the total to six. Two retired women high court judges were also nominated later – Justice Sharda Agarwal in 2006, and Justice Rekha Sharma in 2015.

(Manas Dasgupta)

 

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