Senior advocate Indu Malhotra took oath as a Judge of the Supreme Court on April 27, 2018. The oath was administered to her by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The Union Law Ministry had approved Malhotra’s name for the position on April 25, clearing the way for her to become the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed from the Bar as a Judge in the Apex Court.
With Malhotra’s appointment, the total strength of the Supreme Court would now go upto 25, against the sanctioned strength of 31, including the CJI. The number of women judges would now be 2 in comparison to one earlier.
• Since Independence, only six women judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court.
• In fact, in the first 39 years of the Supreme Court, no woman judge was appointed to it.
• In 1989, Justice Fathima Beevi was appointed as the first woman judge of the Supreme Court.
• The other woman judges appointed to the top court in subsequent years include Justice Sujatha Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Ranjana Desai.
• Till Malhotra’s appointment, the Supreme Court had only one woman Judge- Justice R Banumathi.
About Indu Malhotra
• Indu Malhotra is a senior counsel practicing in the Supreme Court of India for the past 30 years.
• In 2007, Malhotra had become the only second woman to be appointed as a senior advocate by the apex court, three decades after Leila Seth achieved the feat.
• Malhotra, a renowned arbitration expert, has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations.
• In December 2016, she was appointed as a member of the High-Level Committee (HLC) in the Ministry of Law and Justice by the Union Government to review Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism in India.
• She recently authored an exhaustive and illuminating commentary on the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 published by Thomson Reuters.
• She has also been empanelled as an Arbitrator with several Institutional Arbitration bodies like Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA), Delhi International Arbitration Centre (DAC) and ASSOCHAM.
• She was also appointed Amicus Curiae (impartial advisor to the court in a particular case) by different benches of the Supreme Court in various matters. Recently, she was appointed as an amicus for the restoration of Jaipur as a heritage city.
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• The law ministry's approval to Malhotra's name came 14 weeks after the 5-Judge Collegium of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had unanimously recommended two names - Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph - for appointment as Supreme Court Judges.
• While the government decided to elevate Malhotra, it returned the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph asking the bench to reconsider the decision, as it felt that while recommending the name of Justice Joseph, the collegium had disregarded seniority and regional representation.
• Justice Joseph is at the 42nd position in the seniority list of 669 high court judges.