India’s First Deaf Lawyer Makes History

 

India’s First Deaf Lawyer Makes History

Last week, Sarah Sunny made history after she became India’s first deaf lawyer to argue in the sounty’s Supreme Court.

In a groundbreaking moment for India’s legal system, 27-year-old Sarah Sunny achieved a historic milestone as she argued before Chief Justice DY Chandrachudu in the supreme Court.Sarah Sunny, a resident of Bengaluru has shattered barriers by becoming the first deaf lawyer to make her case before the highest court in the land.

A Remarkable Journey Begins.

Sarah Sunny embarked on her pioneering journey in the legal profession two years ago when she began practicing law in Bengaluru’s lower courts. Initially, she faced obstacles as judges were hesitant to allow sign language interpreters, fearing a lack of understanding og legal terminology. Consequently, she had to submit her arguments in writing.

Overcoming Challenges with Determination

Saurav Roychowdhury, an interpreter with experience translating for lawyers and legal students, assisted Sarah Sunny when she appeared before the Supreme Court. Although he did not have a legal background, he provided invaluable support during her early courtroom appearance. However, the absence of Indian sign language interpreters trained in legal terminology remains a challenge, making progress a continuous endeavour.

A Family of Achievers

Sarah Sunny was born into a family that believed in equal opportunities. Her twin sister, Maria Sunny, and her brother, Pratik Kuruvilla, are also deaf. While Pratik became a software engineer in the US and now teaches at a school for the deaf in Texas, Maria pursued a career as a chartered accountant. Their parents, committed to equality, ensured that all three siblings recieved education in regula schools.

A Dream Realized

Supported by family and friends, Saray Sunny studied law at st. Joseph’s College in Bengaluru, passed the bar exam in 2021, and became an advocate, crediting her parents’ belief in equality for her confidence in pursuing her dreams.

Breaking Down Barriers

Deaf individuals in India face stigma and interpreter shortages in law careers. Sarah Sunny’s success contributes to a broader effort for legal inclusivity. In April, Delhi High Court allowed deaf lawyer Saudamini Pethe, aided by an interpreter. In September. they started appointing their own interpreters.

A Bright Future For Deaf Advocates

Experts are creating a sign language legal thesaurus, benefiting deal lawyers and 18 million deaf or hard-of hearing individuals in India while opening doors for more interpreters.

 

A Voice For The Deaf

Ranjini Ramanujam, a former badminton player and deaf IT professional, praised Supreme Court’s action as a “blessing” and a model for others, empowering the deaf community and promoting accessibility.

In the words of Sarah Sunny herself, ” I wanted to show those who cannot hear that is I can do it, they can also do it.”

With her historic appearance in the Supreme Court, Sarah Sunny has indeed become a trailblazer, inspiring a more inclusive and equitable legal system in India.

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