Considered to be a male bastion by many, the Supreme Court is becoming more gender friendly. A full court of 28 judges has for the first time designated three women lawyers as ‘seniors’ in one go.
The three are - Meenakshi Arora, Kiran Suri and Vibha Datta Makhijha. The court also designated advocate Sushil Kumar Jain as a senior. “The counsel practice continues to be dominated by male advocates so the frequency to designate women as seniors should be more,” said Arora.
This is only the third time that the top court has designated women advocates as senior.
The move comes six years after the SC had designated Indu Malhotra as a ‘senior advocate.’ The first was Leila Seth, mother of author Vikram Seth, who became a senior in 1977. She later went on to become India’s first woman chief justice of a high court. An advocate is designated on the basis of his or her track record.
The decision comes over a month after the new Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam told HT that he would take initiative to designate more women advocates as seniors.
“HCs should be more proactive in designating women advocates as seniors. Even if there aren’t many applicants, the court should designate (women advocates) on its own,” he had said.