Gangtok, September 14, 2019:
Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai has been appointed the Acting Chief Justice in view of the impending retirement of incumbent Chief Justice Vijai Kumar Bist by the Government of India.
The notification issued to this effect yesterday states, “In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 223 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Smt. Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, senior-most Judge of the Sikkim High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court with effect from 17th September 2019 consequent upon the retirement of Shri Justice Vijai Kumar Bist, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court.”
Justice Rai has already served as the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court once, between July and October 2018. The first woman judge of the Sikkim High Court, Justice Rai pursued Political Science (Hons) in Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, and proceeded to join the Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, from where she did her three-year LL.B. course till 1989. She enrolled in the Bar Association of Delhi in 1990 and worked in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India under an Advocate on Record.
Justice Rai was appointed Judicial Magistrate 1st Class in December 1990, the first woman to hold the post in the state. She went on to become a District & Sessions Judge in 2004 and was later appointed as Registrar of the High Court that same year. After a few more stints as District & Sessions Judge, Justice Rai was appointed as a judge of the High Court in April 2015, becoming the first lady from Sikkim to be elevated to the post.
A Collegium recommendation was made last month to appoint Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, Justice Arup Kumar Goswami, as the next Chief Justice of the High Court of Sikkim. However, the Central Government is yet to act on the said notification.
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