From women's rights to woman empowerment, culturally speaking, we've come a long way. But not far enough, to shrug off any woman taking over the top echelons as just another day.
As Justice Hima Kohli is sworn in as the new and the first woman Chief Justice of Telangana High Court, it calls for some fireworks. Justice Kohli, till recently, served as a senior judge of the Delhi High Court.
More power to women
The netizens were quick to notice and raise a toast to the fact that the one administering the oath of office to Justice Kohli happened to be the woman state governor of Telangana Tamilisai Soundararajan.
Today history is made with Hon.— Karate Padhu (@KaratePadhu) January 7, 2021
Governor of Telangana Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan Ji, AKKA becoming the first woman Governor to give oath to a woman Chief Justice of a High Court. Also, Justice Hima Kohli becomes the first woman Chief Justice of Telangana High Court! pic.twitter.com/HdQPXUqgdi
First woman Chief Justice of a state High Court
The present feat led many directly to recall the first ever woman Chief Justice of any state High Court. Justice Leila Seth, on August 5 1991 became the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. The first CJ of a state high Court India had ever seen.
Among the other State High Courts that have had woman Chief Justice include, Sujata Manohar who was appointed as the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court in 1999. Jharkhand High Court has the distinction of having two woman Chief Justices with Justice Gyan Sudha Misra being appointed as the CJ in April 2010. While Justice R Bhanumathi became the Chief Justice in August 2014. Justice Indira Banerjee, the former Chief Justice of Madras High Court, is currently among the only two female judges of the Supreme Court.
There has never been a woman CJI, so far
From as a victim to as an advocate, women have been a very integral part of the legal system of India. Women have been practising as lawyers since 1922, yet decades and decades down the line, the gender ratio of judges remains skewed.
Justice J.S Khehar once remarked, "The ratio of female judges to male judges must be in the same ratio." In a country of a billion plus, where the list of Chief Justices of India post Independence runs long enough to not be on the finger tips, it's a little unfortunate that India is yet to see its woman CJI.
It was only in December that Attorney-General K.K.Venugopal suggested that more women judges in constitutional courts would improve gender sensitivity. He was speaking on Supreme Court's invitation to suggest ways to gender sensitize judges. An opportunity he seized to also let the Apex Court know that we've not had a woman Chief Justice of India. So far.