Full Court References

Kapila Hingorani

The Supreme Court of India held a Full Court Reference on February 13, 2014, for the first time for a woman lawyer, with the then Chief Justice of India (on behalf of the entire judiciary), Attorney General of India and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association paying rich tributes to Kapila Hingorani, while lauding her pioneering role in the genesis of PIL, and her influence over the movement as a whole.

The then Chief Justice of India stated at the Full Court Reference:

" The landmark case which saw the emergence of public interest litigation in India, later known to every law student in India as Hussainara Khatoon case was the first PIL in India. Mrs. Pushpa Kapila Hingorani was the first Indian lawyer to file a PIL on behalf of prisoners awaiting trial in the jails of Bihar for a period longer than the sentence supposed to be imposed. Forty thousand prisoners in jails all over India were set free. This case gave rise to a revolution in the Indian legal syatem. She also revealed the Bhagalpur Blindings, resulting in the Supreme Court directing that the policemen who tortured 33 criminals be prosecuted and the victims were released with medical aid andpension for life.....Mrs. Pushpa Kapila Hingorani was a revolutionary in her 35 years - long crusade for justice. She was the lady behind many movements. She was a pioneer in the use of public interest litigation....we have lost not only a leading lawyer, but a true harbinger of justice to the voiceless...when she breathed her last, she left behind a rich legacy of selfless pro bono fight for the under-privileged through PILs."


Nirmal Hardasmal Hingorani

The Supreme Court of India held a Full Court Reference on September 10, 2015 in the memory of Nirmal Hardasmal Hingorani, with the then Chief Justice of India, on behalf of the entire judiciary, Attorney General of India and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association paying homage to him for his pioneering role in the genesis of PIL in India, and influence over the movement as a whole.

At the Full Court Reference, the Chief Justice of India stated as under :

"...Through championing the rights of the most marginalized and impoverished section of our society, Shri N. H. Hingorani has left behind his footprint on the sand of time that provide an inspiration to us all. With his late wife, the revolutionary Shrimati Kapila Hingorani, he made an unparalleled contribution to Constitutional Law and Fundamental Rights by filing the first ever Public Interest Litigation in India in Hussainara Khatoon's case. Together they filed and argued more than 100 Public Interest Litigation actions pro bono.

Shri N. H. Hingorani championed the rights to equality and freedom not only in his capacity as an advocate, but also in his personal life. As a husband, he was a true feminist, and provided unflagging support to his successful partner...

Shri N. H. Hingorani has left behind him a legacy that can never really go away, for he will live on in the hearts and mind of us all...."