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In A First An Indian Lawyer Makes It To Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders List: Indira Jaising Ranked 20 In The List On A Day She Faced Setback From SC

On a day when the Supreme Court made some scathing remarks against her submissions in the Judge Loya case, former Solicitor General of India and Senior Advocate Ms. Indira Jaising has been named by Fortune magazine as one of the World’s 50 greatest leaders of 2018.

This is the first time that the name of an Indian lawyer (and not a politician) has appeared on the list.

Speaking to LiveLaw, she said, “This comes on a day when the Supreme Court says I am guilty of contempt for arguing that contempt action should be taken against the administrative committee of the High court for having transferred the CBI judge hearing the Loya case in violation of the direction of the Supreme Court, I stand by my submissions in court, I respect decisions of the Supreme Court more than they respect their own decisions.”

Ms. Jaising completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bangalore University in 1962, and went on to complete her LLM from the University of Bombay. She began practicing in the 1960s, and has had a lot of firsts to her credit since then. The first woman senior advocate to be designated by the Bombay High Court, the first Indian woman to be elected to the U.N. Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the first woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India.

Ranked at 20, Ms. Jaising has now been lauded for her work through her NGO, Lawyers Collective. Fortune’s website says, “When the poorest in India need a voice, they find one in Jaising, a lawyer who has dedicated her life to battling injustice. Jaising has fought on behalf of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, helped Syrian Christian women in India win property rights equal to their male counterparts’, and helped draft India’s first domestic violence law. Her work has recently led her to Myanmar, where she was appointed by the UN to lead an investigation into the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.”

The news comes at a time when the Supreme Court today dismissed the Petitions seeking independent probe into CBI Special Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya’s mysterious death. Ms. Jaising had appeared on behalf of one of the intervors in the case.

Dismissing the Petitions, the Apex Court rapped Ms. Jaising for demanding initiation of contempt proceedings against the Administrative Committee of the Bombay High Court. It noted, “We must in this context record what we have heard during the course of the submissions. Mr. Dave has urged that (i) he wants to cross-examine the judges; and (ii) he does not believe the judicial officers. Aspersions have been cast on the Administrative Committee of the Bombay High Court. This court has been called upon to issue a notice of contempt to the judges on the Committee at the relevant time. Ms Jaising has joined the fray by requesting that this court to issue contempt notices to the Administrative Committee of the Bombay High Court. Junior counsel appearing with Mr. Giri went to the extent of urging that the judicial officers whose statements were recorded during the discreet inquiry are suspect. Even the judges of this Bench hearing the present proceedings, have not been spared from this vituperative assault on the judiciary. “

The Court, however, stopped short of initiating contempt proceedings against the petitioners and intervenors instead.

Apart from Ms. Jaising, the other Indians featured in the list are Mr. Mukesh Ambani and architect Balkrishna Doshi.

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