Hearing-impaired lawyer argues in Supreme Court using language interpreter

Initially, the control room denied screen space to lawyer SarahSunny, but CJI DY Chandrachud later allowed her to argue her case concerning the rights of persons with disability (PwD)

Sarah Sunny, first hearing-impaired advocate of India (Photo: @Sarah Sunny/LinkedIn)
Sarah Sunny, first hearing-impaired advocate of India (Photo: @Sarah Sunny/LinkedIn)
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NH Digital

For the first time, a hearing-impaired lawyer argued a case in the Supreme Court on Friday, 22 September, with the help of an Indian sign language interpreter. It was made possible by her advocate-on-record Sanchita Ain.

Sarah Sunny appeared before the apex court and watched court proceedings live with the help of a sign language interpreter, Saurabh Roy Choudhary, who assisted her in understanding everything.

Initially, the control room which manages the virtual proceedings refused to give screen space to Sunny but permitted her interpreter Choudhary on the screen. When it was their turn, Choudhary began his arguments before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud interpreting Sunny’s signs.

Ain then requested Chandrachud to permit Sunny to argue her case concerning the rights of persons with disability (PwD). Chandrachud then instructed the control room and the interpreter to give screen space to Sunny. She then appeared and argued in front of the CJI.

When the CJI had questions, it was rapidly translated back to Sunny who responded equally quickly. As it was concerning the rights of people with disabilities, CJI then turned to additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati for a response. She said the union government would file an updated status report so that the petition could be disposed off soon.

On Sunday, 24 September, the Supreme Court also for the first time used sign language interpreters at its two-day national stakeholders consultation on child protection. The invitation for the event and programme details were issued in Braille for the first time to help the visually impaired read them. The annual event was organised by the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare.

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