Just prior to the International Women`s Day, for the
fifth time in the annals of the Madras High Court, a woman was called upon to occupy the prestigious seat of the judge of the Madras
High Court. With this appointment another chapter opened in Prabha Sridevan`s life.
" I will have to re-orientate my
perspectives", says Prabha. "When a woman achieves something it sends positive feelings among other women egging them on to follow
Like all conventional girls, as soon as she finished her graduation in English literature, she got married to Sridevan, an
outstanding lawyer. Her father-in-law was also a leading lawyer in Mayavaram. After marriage, Prabha settled into the routine life of a
housewife rearing two sons.
Coming from a rich lineage steeped in law, what with her grandfather and great grandfather all great
lawyers who had carved their names in the archives of the Madras High Court, did she not want to study law?
"No", smiles Prabha.
She was more interested in the English language and even did a correspondence course in journalism.
Once her two sons grew up
she found time hanging on her hands. The dormant genes were suddenly kindled and she contemplated taking a degree in law.
gap of thirteen years, in 1980, she went back to college - the Madras Law College. In 1983 she enrolled in the bar and started helping
her husband. In 1988, Sridevan was designated as Senior Counsel and in 1989 was made Government Pleader. Since he could not meet
clients directly, Prabha took charge and plunged into the profession full time.
But fate played truant. In 1993, at the young age
of 53 years, Sridevan passed away. Though his untimely death left her shattered, she was no weeping willow and went back to work on the
Did the clients move away after her husband`s death? " Some did, as they felt I did not have as much experience as my
husband". But the people from the districts had immense faith in her and egged her on.
" It is tough going
for a young lawyer to make his or her mark and all the more difficult for a woman. But today more and more women are taking to this
profession. If the clients know the merits of the lawyer and her sincerity to the cases dealt with, they will come back to you" feels
As a woman advocate empathising with the issues faced by women, she feels that legal awareness must come in for women in
rural as well as urban areas. She took up divorce cases, something which her husband had never done.
loves writing and theatre and has acted in English and Tamil plays. She also writes short stories in Tamil. She has written on legal
concepts for children in the Hindu and a column on women`s rights in the Indian Express
Donning the mantle of a judge on her
gentle shoulders with simplicity and a ready smile, Prabha will surely be a beacon for other women to follow suit.