NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Raja Rajeswari, who migrated to the U.S. from Chennai as a teenager, has become the first person of Indian-origin to be named a criminal courts judge in New York City.

She was nominated by mayor Bill de Blasio, and was officially sworn in last month. Judges in New York City’s criminal court are appointed to serve 10-year terms. There are additionally two male judges of Indian origin currently serving in the city’s civil court — Jaya Madhavan on the Housing Court and Anil C. Singh of New York County Supreme Court, 1st District.

Rajeswari took her oath during a ceremony at the beginning of the month, along with 27 other judges who received appointments. She officially moved into her new office on Tuesday.

The 43-year-old previously served in the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for nearly two decades, in several bureaus including criminal courts, narcotics and the supreme court. For the past four years, Rajeswari served as the deputy chief for the sex crimes special victims bureau.

Mayor de Blasio also praised Rajeswari for her astute ability to speak in different languages while on the job. Besides her native Indian languages, she can also speak Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian languages.

“To ensure New Yorkers have access to a fair, equitable justice system, we need judges who are qualified, honest and reflective of the people of this city,” de Blasio said.

“With their wealth of legal experience, these appointees represent all five boroughs and all walks of life. From the first female South Asian-American judge in New York City to a former NYPD First Deputy Commissioner, these talented leaders truly reflect the diverse range of communities that make up our great city,” he added.


“For someone like me, an immigrant who comes from India, I’m beyond grateful,” Rajeswari said. “I told the mayor this is not only my American Dream, but it shows another girl from a faraway country that this is possible.”