Trailblazing Women of Today: Madhavi Goradia Divan

Updated: Jun 23

Nehal Gaikwad [Advocate, Bombay High Court]

 

“I just say to younger people; this is a profession which takes a while. I think it's a race. Race in the sense, not in a competitive way, I just mean it's something that you will have to be able to soldier on and hang in there for long to be really able to enjoy your practice. I think that notion of success doesn't come so quickly because you really need long years of very hard work and commitment for things to grow. So, I just say, Hang in there.” - Madhavi Goradia Divan


It was my first day at the Supreme Court when I was interning at a Senior Advocate’s chamber. The penultimate law student in me could not hold the excitement and privilege of being in the apex court for the first time. It is true when they say that you learn a lot just by observing lawyers argue in court. It was then that a woman in law walked in and later took the podium for her arguments. She stood up, took the podium, and started with her oral submissions. She was confident, articulate, and passionate through the course of her arguments and yet held a calm and composed demeanor. This woman was none other than Mrs. Madhavi Goradia Divan.


Mrs. Madhavi Goradia Divan is an Additional Solicitor General in the Supreme Court of India. She completed her BA Honours in English Literature from St. Stephens College, Delhi, and holds a degree in law from Cambridge University where she was a Cambridge Commonwealth Scholar. She is the third woman to be appointed as the ASG and was designated as a Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court of India where she has practiced since 2007 across various subjects which include constitutional law, media law, commercial law, environment law, and arbitration. Prior to 2007, she was based in Mumbai where she practiced as a junior counsel at the Chambers of Senior Counsel, Mr. Janak Dwarkadas, and had a large commercial law practice. She has also appeared pro bono in several public causes which involve gender rights, environmental issues, child rights, and rights of the visually challenged. She has represented the Government of India in several landmark cases in the Supreme Court which include challenges to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the Triple Talaq case, and the NJAC case on judges’ appointments to name a few.


Apart from her legal practice, Mrs. Divan is a prolific writer and regularly writes for leading law journals, newspapers and has authored several books. She was the editor of The Indian Advocate, a journal published by the Bar Association of India. She is also the author of Facets of Media Law and is the co-author of Halsbury's Laws of India – Environment, 2003 (Butterworths). She has also contributed to the seminal publication Courts of India – Past to Present, published by the Supreme Court of India in 2016, and has authored the chapter titled Opening up Appointments: Civil Society Participation in the NJAC in the book titled Appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court of India, Oxford University Press, (2018).


She has also been the recipient of various awards like the Woman Lawyer of the Year Award 2017-18, conferred by Legal Era at Mumbai, March 2018, and The Excellence Award 2018: Honouring Distinguished Service & Contribution to Media & Constitution Laws, CXO & GC Leadership Summit, New Delhi, and the Woman Lawyer of the Year Award, 2019 by Business Legal World.


Mrs. Divan is an example of striving for excellence and teaches us to never stop believing in ourselves. Keep marching forward Mrs. Divan and keep inspiring those around you!


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