In Focus

Lawyers who defy the rules...and win!

Team TWS | New Delhi

The role of women, particularly in India is understated. The global narrative on Indian women paints them as helpless, vulnerable and mostly unable to fight for their rights. Sadly, this trend persists despite the loud warnings against generalisations. There are uncountable examples of women who are not only independent but trailblazers in their respective fields or professions. They march ahead, paving their own path, undeterred with pre-conceived notions and societal perception. Their lives and achievements inspire millions of women in the country and beyond. While every successful woman is an inspiration, the success is particularly noteworthy for women lawyers as they fight for others' rights. Here go a list of some of the most famous women lawyers in the country.

From left: Meenakshi Arora, Meenakshi Lekhi, Sushma Swaraj and Pinky Anand

Meenakshi Arora: Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India
A Supreme Court lawyer since 1986, Meenakshi Arora was designated as a senior advocate in the Supreme Court by a full bench headed by Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam. She was the fifth woman in the country with the title. Meenakshi has been a part of many landmark cases. She has been the counsel for the Election Commission of India. She was also part of the seven-member drafting committee for 'The Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations, 2013'. These regulations had come in the wake of the apex court's 1997 judgement of the Bhanwari Devi rape case that laid the Visakha guidelines to protect women from sexual harassment at workplace. More recently, she has been taken on board to represent the parties challenging Article 35-A in the Supreme Court.

Meenakshi Lekhi: Member of Parliament and Supreme Court Lawyer
Meenakshi Lekhi dons myriad caps. She is a Supreme Court lawyer, a Member of Parliament from New Delhi constituency, National Spokesperson of the BJP, Chairperson of the Committee on Privileges of the Lok Sabha, an eloquent speaker and a socio-political activist. In the past, she has been member of the Special Committee of the National Commission for Women and Chairperson of the Special Task Force on Women Empowerment. She has worked on several important cases such as the Permanent Commissioning of Women in the Indian Armed Forces, Banning of Lotteries in Delhi, Shantimukund Rape Case, revoking of Ban on Media Coverage of case proceedings, etc. She has also been member of drafting committees of 'Women Reservation Bill' & 'Problem of Sexual Harassment at Workplace'.

Sushma Swaraj: Minister of External Affairs, India and former Supreme Court Lawyer
Sushma Swaraj is a woman par excellence. She has defied every rule in the book and set several milestones in her illustrious career that challenge not just women but men too. A seasoned politician, Sushma Swaraj has been elected as a Member of Parliament seven times and a Member of Legislative Assembly three times. In 1977, aged 25, she became the youngest cabinet minister of Haryana. She briefly served as the Chief Minister of Delhi too. Her political career is closely linked with her career as a lawyer. Soon after finishing law in Chandigarh, Sushma Swaraj started practising as an advocate in the Supreme Court. Her interest in politics led her to join political movements of the time. She was part of George Fernandes' legal defence team. Later, she joined the BJP and rose through the ranks quickly to become a national leader.

Pinky Anand: Additional Solicitor General of India at the Supreme Court
With a career spanning more than 25 years, constitutional law expert Pinky Anand is one of the foremost names in the Indian legal fraternity. Her legal career soon merged with politics when she was chosen as the head of All India Legal Cell of BJP. She later became the national spokesperson of the party too. Some of her prominent cases include - representing the French government in Clemenceau case, Arjun Munda case, Constitutional Right of Freedom and Expression for actress Khushboo, etc. In 2014, Pinky Anand was appointed the Additional Solicitor General of India at the Supreme Court making her the second woman ASG after Indira Jaising.