Hon’ble Mrs.Chief Justice
Gyan Sudha Misra
Justice Mrs. Gyan Sudha Misra, who is presently functioning as Chief Justice in the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi in the State of Jharkhand (India), was born in an illustrious family of Lawyers and Judges on 28th of April, 1949. Having drawn inspiration from her late father, Shri Satish Chandra Misra, who retired as Chief Justice of the State of Bihar and her late brother, Shri Shilesh Chandra Misra, who was a distinguished Senior Advocate, she joined the legal profession after obtaining Graduate Degree in Law and Post Graduate Degree in Political Science from the Patna University.
Chief Justice Misra got herself enrolled as an Advocate in the Bihar State Bar Council of India in November, 1972 at a time when the legal profession for women in India was rather uncommon and the profession was primarily considered to be a male bastion. However, the determination, perservence, zeal and the hard effort came to her assistance when she started her training in the Supreme Court of India at New Delhi in the year 1973 in order to be able to appear in an examination known as the “Advocate on Records’ Examination” held by the Supreme Court of India. After successfully passing out the said examination, she started her practice in the Supreme Court of India at New Delhi and practiced on the Constitutional, Civil & Criminal side which awarded her an opportunity to handle a variety of cases from several High Courts in India. Justice Misra was appointed a Government Advocate for the State of Bihar in the year 1982 to represent its cases in the Supreme Court alongwith the other cases which she could handle in her individual capacity. While working in that capacity she had an occasion to handle and conduct matters relating to destitute women and children, particularly in regard to their claim for equal wages, their plight in jail and lunatic asylum apart from the cases viz. divorce, maintenance, judicial separation, custody of child, right to equal pay for equal work, claims of compensation against the State in cases of death in custody and a host of other matters including cases relating to environmental protection as she represented the State of Bihar in the matter of Ganga Pollution Control Board as also the well known Bhagalpur Blinding cases, in which important issues relating to violation of human rights came up for consideration after which compensation had been awarded to the blinded prisoners. She thus had an occasion to deal with the first hand account of human and legal problems in several cases before the Supreme Court which is of great assistance while functioning as a Judge.
As an Advocate, prior to her elevation, Justice Misra had been appointed as a Member of the Fact Finding Committee constituted by the Supreme Court of India in the year 1991 in the matter of Bandhua Mukti Morcha to examine the actual plight of the child bonded labourers who were engaged in the Carpet Manufacturing Industry in the State of Uttar Pradesh in India regarding which a report was submitted by the Committee to the Supreme Court, which has found its reference in some of the judgments of the Supreme Court also.
Prior to her appointment as a Judge, Justice Misra was also actively associated with the activities of the lawyers and the legal profession and hence was elected as a Treasurer, Joint Secretary, and Member Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association, several times, which is the premier association of lawyers in the country. Justice Misra had also been an office-bearer in several national and international voluntary organization prior to her elevation as a Judge including Asia Pacific Lawyers’ Association and other philanthropic organizations.
In recognition of her services and standing as a lawyer for more than 21 years she was appointed a Judge of the Patna High Court in the State of Bihar (India) on 16th March, 1994 but soon thereafter was transferred to the High Court of Rajasthan State in view of the then prevailing transfer policy of judges in the Indian judiciary. While functioning as a Judge in the Rajasthan High Court, she held several important assignments as Company Judge, Judge for Arbitration matters, Constitutional matters and was also appointed and continued as Chairman of the Advisory Board constituted under the National Security Act. She also chaired as a member of the Selection Committee constituted for appointment of Civil Judge Junior and Senior Division. She was later appointed Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority, which is a statutory body assigned with the duty of administering legal aid and assistance to the disadvantaged sections of society and also for taking effective and statutory steps for reduction of arrears in the State judiciary. In this capacity, she also worked effectively for checking the social problems which included the effective implementation of measures for checking the incidence of child marriages, female foeticide, exploitation of women and children in various forms and large number of such other social atrocities.
Justice Misra had also been invited to participate in the South Asian Conference on invitation of the UNICEF held at Kathmandu (Nepal) on the subject of “Ending Violence against the Women and Children”. In 1998 she also represented India, as a Guest Speaker, in the Conference of the International Association of Women Judges held at Ottawa in Canada where a variety of issues relating to women and children in the world at large were the subject matter of discussion and deliberations. After 14 years of successful tenure as a Judge of the Rajasthan High Court, Justice Mrs. Misra was elevated as Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court at Ranchi in the State of Jharkhand (India) on 13th of July, 2008 and is discharging the functions in that capacity till date.
As Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court, while hearing PIL matters, Justice Misra passed large number of prominent and effective orders, which resulted in initiation of probe by the Enforcement Directorate against eminent persons involving huge financial implications. In one of the PIL matters while relying upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of St. Mary’s School, New Delhi vs Election Commission of India, the Bench presided over by Justice Misra ruled that the School Building and the School Buses would not be utilized during the elections on any working day as it upsets the routine studies and also hinders the school’s administrative work. Treating a letter from Tapasi Choudhary to be a PIL relating to sensitive matter of mysterious death of her daughter Mousami Choudhary, a Trainee Air Hostess of AHA Airhostess Training Institute, Jamshedpur at Hotel Sonnet of Jamshedpur, Justice Misra sitting in a Division Bench with Justice D.K. Sinha directed for CBI probe into the matter and for filing charge-sheet.
As Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court, Justice Misra had recently been invited to be a member of the Indian Delegation, headed by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India alongwith other Hon’ble Judges, which visited Australia to participate in the Conference for “Protecting Rights and Promoting Access to Justice” project held between 18-27 September, 2009.
While functioning as a Judge and Chief Justice, Chief Justice Misra has demonstrated through her judgments and orders that she is a strong believer of the principle that social justice, which is one of the objectives of the Indian Constitution certainly helps us in bringing about a just society by removing imbalances in social, educational economic and political life of the people and protecting the rights of the weak, aged, destitute, women, children and other under privileged persons of the state against the ruthless treatment which is enshrined in the preamble to the Constitution itself.