Since 1928, the year then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, established High Court of Judicature, there has been not a single woman judge. But this year, with the appointment of Justice Gita Mittal as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, the unsaid norm was broken. Justice Mittal now has the distinction of becoming the first woman judge in the history to head J&K High Court.
Before her appointment as Chief Justice of J&K High Court, Justice Mittal was Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. The Chief Justices’ chair in J&K has been vacant after Badar Durrez Ahmad retired in March, 2018.
Justice Mittal has written extensively on ‘Access to Justice’, protection of human rights, death penalty, impact of religion, culture, tradition on judging, impact of incarceration on women, corporate social responsibility, corporate laws, procedure and intellectual property litigation and environmental laws and issues.
The pronouncement in Virender vs. State authored by Justice Mittal has extensively benefited Justice J S Verma Committee report that suggested amendments in criminal law, in the aftermath of infamous Nirbhaya (2012) gang rape case.
In 2008, Justice Mittal received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Vice President of India, awarded by the Lady Shriram College for Women.
In 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred on her Nari Shakti Puruskar, India’s highest civilian honour for women.
Justice Mittal has spearheaded the Vulnerable Witness Court Project in the trial courts in Delhi.
She presently chairs the court committees on the Delhi High Court’s Mediation and Conciliation Centre as well as the committee monitoring the Implementation of Judicial Guidelines for Dealing with Cases of Sexual Offences and Child Witnesses.
This culminated into the first such court-room in India being inaugurated on September 16, 2012, and the second on September 11, 2013.
Deeply engaged with the work of institutional strengthening, Justice Mittal has also served as a member of the Committee Against Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place; Working Conditions and Welfare Committee For Judicial Officers/Staff of High Court and District Courts among others.