Mother Of PILs, Kapila Hingorani, To Become First Woman To Get A Portrait In The Supreme Court Library

Home / Blog / Mother Of PILs, Kapila Hingorani, To Become First Woman To Get A Portrait In The Supreme Court Library

Ms. Kapila Hingorani is set to become the first woman lawyer whose portraiture will adorn the walls of the Supreme Court library for the first time in its 67-year history.

The portraiture was unveiled on Tuesday by Chief Justice Deepak Misra, who rightly said that “this was long timeless”.

Famously known as the ‘Mother of PILs’, Ms. Hingorani was born in 1927 in Nairobi and proceed up idolizing Mahatma Gandhi. She was reportedly the first girl from her community to travel to the UK in the year 1947 for higher studies and is recognize to be the first woman to separate from Cardiff Law School, Wales. She began exercises in the Supreme Court of India in 1961, at a time when there were just three woman lawyers at the Court.

Her most renowned contribution to law and society was the undertaking of the unique remedial jurisprudence of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in India in 1979. The very first PIL in India, which was filed and discuss by Ms. Hingorani in the Supreme Court, pertained to under consideration prisoners languishing in jail for ruthlessly long periods, at times exceeding the period they would have been in jail had they been tried, delinquent and given maximum sentence.


The historic case, afterwards known to every law student in India as Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, Bihar, led to the studying of the fundamental right of speedy trial as being implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution and to the instantaneously release about 40,000 undertrial prisoners.

Since then, Ms. Hingorani, along with her husband Mr. Nirmal Hingorani, took up nearly 100 PIL cases pro bono which, in practical terms, have provided amenities to millions of people at their doorsteps.

While she did have to overcome favoritism within the legal fraternity initially, her efforts did attract recognizance and appreciation, nationally and internationally, over time. For instance, the Cardiff University delivered upon her the Honorary Fellowship of the University in 2007, and the Supreme Court Bar Association honored her in 2011 for consummate 50 years at the Bar. She was, in fact, the senior most woman lawyer designated with the Supreme Court until her passing away on 30 December.


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