Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Gita Mittal has been chosen to be awarded the "Nari Shakti Puraskar" by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The award, touted as the "highest civilian honor for women in India", will be bestowed upon 30 women and organizations on 8 March (International Women's day). A poster announcing the award said,
"Justice Gita Mittal long recognized that following a universal procedural approach in typical court room trials involving sexual violence on women and children severely impedes equal access to justice. It results in secondary traumatization during trial and further exacerbates their victimization. To address these procedural bottlenecks and institutional barriers, Justice Mittal as a judge of the Delhi high Court spearheaded the Vulnerable Witness Project. It emerged as an unparalleled example of jurisprudential intervention and judicial leadership in which the legal and institutional barriers for access to justice to women were removed."
Justice Mittal was appointed as an Additional Judge at Delhi High Court in 2004 and was made permanent in 2006. She was then elevated as the Acting Chief Justice in April last year, taking over from Justice G. Rohini.
During her tenure, she has authored several significant judgments, including pronouncements on compensation for riot victims, right to shelter of internally displaced persons, right to marriage of a female member of the Armed Force, principles governing DNA testing in paternity issues in the absence of statutory provisions, and right to workers in labor force.
Further, her contribution to making Delhi the first city to have its own 'Vulnerable Witness Deposition Complex' has been appreciated by the judiciary and the citizenry alike. The complex was inaugurated in 2013, "to provide protection, privacy, confidentiality and comfort to vulnerable witnesses in an in-camera atmosphere".