Raja Rajeshwari appointed as the first India-born New York City judge

Another Indian woman in the U.S. just made history. Raja Rajeshwari, a Chennai-born immigrant in the U.S. was recently sworn in as the first India-born criminal court judge of New York City. 43 year-old Rajeshwari moved to the U.S. as a teenager and was previously working for the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, where she served several bureaus including, Supreme Court, Criminal Court, the Sex Crimes Special Victims Bureau, where she last served as Deputy Chief, and Narcotics.


At her swearing-in ceremony, Rajeshwari was highly praised by Mayor de Blasio, who applauded her ability to speak many middle-eastern and Southeast Asian languages, saying that she used her history and ethnic identity to reach many immigrants and gave them a fair voice. An accomplished Bharatnatyam Dancer and a Kuchipudi dancer, Rajeshwari stated that she was “honoured and humbled” by her appointment.


Raja Rajeswari during her swearing-in ceremony in New York Picture By: Deccan Chronicle

Raja Rajeswari during her swearing-in ceremony in New York
Picture By: Deccan Chronicle


According to a report by The Hindu, Rajeshwari said: “As an immigrant, you have incredible opportunities in this country but you have to be able and willing to work really hard to take advantage of them and you have to constantly prove yourself but that is par for the course for any immigrant from any ethnic background.” She added, “The speed and equal access to justice administered here [the U.S] is something to take note of. While it’s not perfect, it is still much more efficient than the legal system in India.”


The same report also stated her saying that late District Attorney William Murphy had advised her that her job as a prosecutor, when she was appointed as an Assistant District Attorney, was not to win or lose cases, but to do justice in every case- something, she says, has stayed with her since.


[Featured Picture Courtesy: The Indian Express]