In a historic moment that marks a significant stride towards inclusivity, 27-year-old Sarah Sunny recently achieved a remarkable feat as India’s first deaf lawyer to argue in the country’s Supreme Court. This groundbreaking event has not only paved the way for greater inclusiveness within the Indian legal system but also serves as an inspirational milestone for the deaf community.
A Landmark Moment in Legal History
Sarah Sunny’s journey to the Supreme Court was not without its challenges. Her initial appearance before Chief Justice DY Chandrachud in September saw the court making an exception by allowing a sign language interpreter to assist her during arguments.
Justice Chandrachud’s statement, “she could understand what was going on,” reflects the court’s commitment to ensuring equal access to justice. It’s noteworthy that discussions are underway to have interpreters for constitution bench hearings, thus ensuring that everyone can actively engage in legal proceedings.
Fostering Inclusivity in the Indian Legal System
Observers and legal experts alike acknowledge that Sarah Sunny’s presence in the highest court of India carries significant implications for the legal landscape. Senior lawyer Menaka Guruswamy rightly termed it a “truly historic and momentous” occasion, highlighting the societal shift it represents.
Sanchita Ain, Ms. Sunny’s colleague, affirmed that this momentous event would have far-reaching effects. “She has broken many stereotypes; this will encourage more deaf students to study law and make the legal system accessible to the deaf,” she said.
The Road Less Traveled: Ms. Sunny’s Journey
Residing in the vibrant city of Bengaluru, Sarah Sunny has been practicing law for two years. Her early career in the city’s lower courts presented unique challenges. Judges hesitated to allow interpreters, fearing a lack of legal knowledge in understanding terminology. As a result, Ms. Sunny resorted to submitting her arguments in writing.
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