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Justice BR Gavai Credits Affirmative Action for Judicial Success, Stresses Importance of Representation

Supreme Court Justice BR Gavai Reflects on Journey and Role in Upholding Rule of Law

Supreme Court Justice BR Gavai credits affirmative action for his elevation to the highest judicial office in India, citing the importance of representation for marginalized communities in government positions. His own advancement to the Supreme Court was expedited by two years to fulfill the Collegium’s objective of diversifying the Bench with judges from the Dalit community. Previously a prominent lawyer, Justice Gavai attributes his judicial journey to factors like his appointment to the Bombay High Court in 2003, where he became the only Dalit judge at the time.

Speaking at an event hosted by the New York City Bar Association (NYCB), Justice Gavai engaged in a cross-cultural dialogue on the judiciary’s role in India and the United States in upholding the rule of law and individual rights. The discussion, moderated by Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant, featured insights from Judge Joseph Zayas, the first Latino Chief Administrative Judge in New York State.

Justice Gavai recounted his humble beginnings growing up in a slum and attending a municipal school, underscoring the transformative power of education. Regarding the duties of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), he emphasized the importance of providing equitable leadership and safeguarding the judiciary’s independence. He expressed concerns about unwarranted criticism of judges, exemplified by recent incidents of manipulated video clips circulating on social media.

Reflecting on his career, Justice Gavai highlighted a gratifying moment as a lawyer when he secured a crucial stay from the Supreme Court, preserving the livelihoods of slum-dwellers in Nagpur.

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