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2013 appears to be the year of many “firsts” for Meghalaya. In the Assembly elections last month, four women legislators, a “first” for matrilineal Meghalaya, were elected.

The state, and for that matter, the Northeast, got its “first” woman home minister in Roshan Warjri on March 12.

To add to the list, on March 11, Meghalaya got its “first” non-indigenous legislator — Abu Taher Mondal — to occupy the office of the Speaker of the state Assembly.

And this month, the state got its “first” Chief Justice and a woman at that, Justice T. Meena Kumari, when Governor Ranjit S. Mooshahary administered the oath of office to the erstwhile judge of Patna High Court at the Raj Bhavan, reports The Telegraph from Kolkata.

Justice Meena Kumari, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, was appointed Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court by President Pranab Mukherjee.

But the building of the high court, which was earlier designated as the Shillong bench of the Gauhati High Court, located near the state secretariat, will be formally inaugurated on Monday by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir and Union law minister Ashwani Kumar.

Meghalaya, along with Manipur and Tripura, which were all under Gauhati High Court, received their separate high courts when the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 and other relevant laws were amended by Parliament last year.

Today, the Chief Justice also administered the oath of office to two new judges of the high court — Justice T. Nandakumar Singh and Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen — on the premises of the high court.

Justice Singh was earlier a judge of the Gauhati High Court (Imphal bench) in Manipur and Justice Sen, who had served as the district and sessions judge in Shillong, was the additional judge in the Gauhati High Court in Assam.

Fast track courts: Justice Meena Kumari stated that setting up of fast track courts would be a priority for her to ensure speedy delivery of justice. “Yes, my first priority is to see that fast track courts are set up,” she said in a brief interaction with reporters after she was sworn-in.

On the growing crimes against women, she said, “I have to first settle down and understand the problems and know the number of pending cases.”

Expressing happiness on becoming the first Chief Justice of the state high court, Justice Meena Kumari said, “It is a great honour and privilege to be chosen for the post, and I will try to live up to the expectations of all the people.”

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