Sarah Sunny

Sarah Sunny: India’s First And Only Practising Deaf Lawyer

Updated on July 5, 2024

Meet Sarah Sunny, India’s first hearing-impaired lawyer from Kottayam, Kerala. Her recent remarkable appearance in the Supreme Court of India has become an inspiration. Have you heard her story?

Sarah Sunny: India’s Only Deaf Practising Advocate

In the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court, a historic moment unfolded, rewriting the narrative of inclusivity in the legal realm. A few days ago, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud presided over a hearing that would etch its mark in the annals of legal history. At the centre of this groundbreaking event was Sarah Sunny, India’s first hearing-impaired lawyer. What made this occasion truly extraordinary was the Chief Justice’s decision to allow another advocate to interpret Sarah’s arguments in real-time—a move that not only demonstrated a commitment to accessibility but also spoke volumes about the resilience of one woman determined to overcome barriers. This is the remarkable story of Sarah Sunny, a trailblazer in the legal arena.

A Life Of Triumph Over Challenges

Sarah’s journey is nothing short of inspiring. Born to Sunny Kuruvila, a chartered accountant, and Betty, she and her twin sister Mariah faced the challenge of hearing impairment. However, Sarah’s parents were determined to empower them to live life to the fullest.

Betty, leaving her job as a teacher, took charge of training the twins in various activities, including dancing, where they surprised everyone with their synchronized steps. Sarah and Mariah also excelled in painting, badminton, and crafts.

Sarah’s education was inclusive; she attended regular school and college, earning her BCom degree. Her passion for asking questions and cross-examining naturally led her to pursue law. Despite the challenges of gaining admission, she became part of the first batch at St Joseph’s Institution Law College near her father’s office.

A Trailblazer In The Legal Arena

Sarah’s determination and persistence propelled her through law school and into the Supreme Court. On September 22, 2023, she etched her name in history as India’s first practising deaf lawyer to present a case before the Supreme Court. The case revolved around the rights of persons with disabilities.

Advocacy Beyond The Courtroom

Hailing from Kottayam and currently based in Bengaluru, Sarah is not just a lawyer but an advocate for inclusivity. She actively contributes to the Advocacy of the National Association of Deaf, striving to break down barriers for the deaf community.

Even after this historic feat, Sarah’s journey continues. The Supreme Court, recognizing the need for accessibility, directed its registry to appoint an interpreter for her, bearing the expenses—a first in the court’s history.

Chief Justice Chandrachud’s commitment to accessibility in the justice system is evident through the Supreme Court committee on accessibility. Infrastructural changes have been made to enhance accessibility for specially-abled persons, aligning with his belief that actions, not just words, define progress.

But Sarah’s journey doesn’t end with a moment in the courtroom. As an active advocate for the National Association of Deaf, she continues to champion the cause of inclusivity beyond the legal realm. The Supreme Court’s infrastructural changes and its unprecedented move to bear the expenses of an interpreter for Sarah speak volumes about a judiciary striving for accessibility.

In Sarah Sunny’s story, we find not just a legal trailblazer but a beacon of inspiration for those facing obstacles. As she continues to shape the narrative of inclusivity, Sarah leaves an indelible mark, reminding us that in breaking silence, we break barriers for everyone. The journey doesn’t end; it’s a trail of triumph that paves the way for a more inclusive and understanding future.

Sarah Sunny’s Conversation With Onmanorama

Navigating Challenges In Education

In her conversation with Onmanorama, Sarah Sunny reflects on her educational journey, challenging the notion of how a hearing-impaired girl could thrive in a ‘normal’ school. She credits her elder brother Prateek for breaking norms and instilling confidence in teachers.

Triumph Amidst Career Challenges

Sarah shares her struggles in finding employment, facing numerous rejections. The turning point came with the assistance of Tiruvenkidam, a senior advocate in Bengaluru. Initially assigned to office work, Sarah eventually seized the chance to visit the court and present submissions.

Dreaming Of The Courtroom

The dream of arguing in court seemed distant until a senior advocate introduced Sarah to a judge. Encouraged by the judge, she embarked on making legal arguments, overcoming unforeseen challenges.

Confidence Boost: The Role Of Interpreters

Expressing herself posed difficulties at times, leading Sarah to write her thoughts on paper. The idea of using an interpreter struck her, and with the Supreme Court approving this arrangement, her confidence received a significant boost.

Future Aspirations And Favourite Topics

Looking ahead, Sarah expresses a desire to delve deeper into law and improve conditions for the hearing impaired in court. Her favourite topics include human rights issues and laws related to differently-abled individuals.

Advice To Youngsters

When asked about advice for youngsters, Sarah emphasizes optimism, self-belief, and the importance of making independent decisions in life. She encourages them to strive for their goals with the blessings of their parents.

Kudos To Sarah Sunny’s Parents

Kudos to Sarah Sunny’s parents for their unwavering dedication and sacrifices in supporting their specially-abled daughters to pursue and achieve their dreams. In a society where some still view specially-abled children as a burden, Sarah’s parents stand as a beacon, teaching the invaluable lesson that every child is a precious gift from God. They exemplify the responsibility parents hold in nurturing and empowering their children to succeed in life, challenging misconceptions and fostering a culture of love and support.

“As a parent, the only thing that matters should be your children’s welfare. Let not society make you blind to your child’s suffering. Bring them to the mainstream and make them a part of society. Never shut them inside homes. Give them the opportunity to spread their wings in the sky of dreams. This is the message we want to give to parents of children with disabilities,” said Sarah’s proud parents Sunny and Betty. Source: TheBetterIndia


As the echoes of Sarah Sunny’s historic appearance in the Supreme Court resonate, it symbolizes more than a personal triumph—it embodies the spirit of breaking barriers and paving the way for inclusivity. Sarah’s journey from a small town in Kottayam to the corridors of legal history is a testament to unwavering determination, familial support, and the power of breaking stereotypes. Chief Justice Chandrachud’s commitment to accessibility, evident in the appointment of an interpreter for Sarah, sets a precedent for a more inclusive legal landscape.

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References: Outlook

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