Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28For the first time since it was established more than a century ago, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has an all-women Bench. The exceptional distinction came as Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha administered oath to six judicial officers from Punjab and Haryana, taking the total number of women Judges in the High Court to a record 10.

The all-women Bench comprises senior-most woman Judge, Justice Daya Chaudhary, and Justice Meenakshi Mehta, who was administered oath as an additional Judge of the High Court this morning along with Justice Ashok Kumar Verma, Justice Sant Parkash Phutela, Justice Karamjit Singh, Justice Vivek Puri and Justice Archana Puri.The oath ceremony was also unique as married couple Justice Vivek Puri and Justice Archana Puri took oath together as judges for the first time ever in the High Court’s long and glorious history. Available information suggests this is the second time ever in the country’s judicial history that a couple was sworn-in together. It is believed that a husband-wife duo was sworn in together in Delhi High Court almost a decade ago.

Justice Daya Chaudhary, who heads the Division Bench, was rather the first woman advocate to be administered oath as a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge in December 2007. Hailing from Haryana, Justice Chaudhary was followed by Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, who became the first woman advocate from Punjab to be administered oath as a High Court Judge here in July 2008.

At a simple ceremony attended by sitting and retired judges of the High Court, bureaucrats, relatives and advocates, the newly-appointed judges today swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established”.

The number of judges with their elevation has gone up to 56 against the sanctioned strength of 85. The increase in strength comes at a time when the High Court is facing an unprecedented pendency of 5,14,966 cases, with 3,68,155 cases pending for more than a year. No less than 2,986 cases are pending for more than 20 years. Out of the total, 22,636 cases have been filed by women.


Couple takes oath 

  • The oath ceremony was also unique as married couple Justice Vivek Puri and Justice Archana Puri took oath together as judges for the first time ever in the High Court’s long and glorious history. 
  • Available information suggests this is the second time ever in the country’s judicial history that a couple was sworn-in together. 
  • It is believed that a husband-wife duo was sworn in together in Delhi High Court almost a decade ago.

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