Six additional judges were sworn into the Madras High Court today. In a ceremony held at the Court premises, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee administered the Oath of Office to the newly appointed Justices S Ramathilagam, R Tharani, P Rajamanickam, T Krishnavalli, R Pongiappan and R Hemalatha.
The sitting strength of the Madras High Court has thereby risen to 60, as against the sanctioned strength of 75. Notably, with the addition of Justices Ramathilagam, Tharani, Krishnavalli and Hemalatha, the number of women judges currently sitting in the Madras High Court rises from seven to eleven. This is the highest number of sitting women judges the Court has seen in its history.
The incumbent Advocate General, President of the Madras Bar Association and Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bar Council, Vijay Narayan made special note of this fact while delivering the welcome address at the ceremony.
Expressing the elation of the Madras Bar on this milestone, the AG noted that it is currently on par with the Bombay High Court when it comes to the highest number of women judges. With the retirement of Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur on Monday, the Madras High Court would have the most sitting women judges across High Courts in the country.
President of the Madras High Court Advocates Association, G Mohanakrishnan remarked that it was a sign of real women empowerment, hope, and confidence for women lawyers that there are now eleven women judges on the Bench.
The Secretary of the Madras Bar Association, V Kamalanathan alluded to the embodiment of the judiciary in Lady Justice as well as historical figures such as Manuneedhi Cholan, as he wished the newly the newly inducted judges a memorable tenure.
President of the Women Lawyer’s Association V Nalini expressed her immense pride at having 60 sitting judges out which 11 were women judges. She thanked the Chief Justice and the Collegium for considering requests made for increasing representation for women in the Bench and hoped that it would be the case moving forward as well.
Law Association President, Krishnakumar also expressed similar sentiments as he noted that it certainly sets an example for the legal community.
The newly inducted judges each expressed their gratitude to the gathering for the welcome extended to them. A number of them also specifically thanked former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, as well as members of the High Court and Supreme Court Collegium for the recommendation made for their elevation to the Bench.
Justice Ramathilagam made special mention of her family for empowering her along the way and giving her the liberty to choose the legal profession. Referring to Chief Justice Indira Banerjee as the Goddess of the Madras High Court, she expressed her gratitude at being able to work under her in the Madras High Court.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Justice Tharani, who also thanked the litigant public for placing their faith in the judiciary, of which she has been part for 27 years. She remarked that given the rich history of the High Court, she accepts her new role with a sense of responsibility and humility.
Justice Rajamanickam thanked his parents, teachers and his Senior for having guided him along the way.
Justice Krishnavalli remarked that she would endeavour to discharge her functions to the best of her ability.
Justice Pongiappan promised to uphold the pride and dignity of the institution that is the Madras High Court, and to fulfil his oath in letter and spirit.
Justice Hemalatha noted that while her responsibility has now increased manifold, she hoped to do complete justice to it. She remarked that true women empowerment lay in hardwork and dedication.