PM Modi’s Independence Day speech has a special mention of three women judges of Supreme Court
The presence of three women judges in the Supreme Court for the first time since Independence found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day, today.
“Now, in a first, there are three women judges in the Supreme Court,” Modi said from stage set at the Red Fort.Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra was present on the occasion and the television visuals showed him smiling at the reference made by the prime minister. With the swearing-in of Justice Indira Banerjee on August 7, the Supreme Court now, for the first time in its history, has three sitting women judges. Justice Banerjee is the eighth woman judge to be appointed to the apex court since Independence, thereby breaking the male hegemony in the Supreme Court. Before her, senior advocate Indu Malhotra was appointed as the seventh woman judge to the Supreme Court. Malhotra was the first senior woman advocate to be directly appointed as a judge to the apex court. Among the three sitting women judges, Justice R Banumathi is the senior-most. She was elevated to the apex court on August 13, 2014.
The first woman judge of the apex court was Justice Fathima Beevi, who was appointed to the top court in 1989, 39 years after it was set up in 1950. She was elevated to the apex court after her retirement as a judge of the Kerala High Court. The second woman judge to be appointed to the top court was Justice Sujata V Manohar, who started her career as a judge of the Bombay High Court and rose to become the chief justice of the Kerala High Court. She remained as a judge of the apex court from November 8, 1994 till August 27, 1999.
Justice Ruma Pal followed Justice Manohar after a gap of around five months and went on to become the longest-serving woman judge in the apex court, from January 28, 2000 to June 2, 2006. After her retirement, it took four years to appoint the next woman judge to the top court. Justice Gyan Sudha Misra was elevated to the Supreme Court from the Jharkhand High Court, where she was the chief justice. Her tenure in the apex court was from April 30, 2010 to April 27, 2014. During Justice Misra’s stint, she was joined by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, who served in the apex court between September 13, 2011 and October 29, 2014. These two judges created history by holding court together as an all-women bench for a day in 2013. After the retirement of Justice Desai on October 29, 2014, Justice Banumathi was the lone woman judge in the apex court till the appointment of Justice Malhotra on April 27 this year. Modi also said that narrow mentality towards women has to end and justice must prevail.
“We have to free our society and country from this disgusting mentality of rape,” Modi said in his Independence Day address from the Red Fort. “In Madhya Pradesh a rapist was hanged by a fast track court. People should know this. Rule of law is supreme and no one can take the law in their hands,” he said.