The union government has cleared the name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra for appointment as a Supreme Court judge. This makes Malhotra the second sitting woman judge in the top court and the first woman lawyer to be directly elevated from the Bar.
Malhotra’s name was unanimously cleared by the Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. Appointed as the seventh woman judge of the apex court since independence, Malhotra will add to the existing strength of 24 judges in the top court.
Hailing from a family of lawyers, Malhotra joined the profession in 1983 and was appointed as a Senior Advocate in 2007. She was the second woman after Leila Seth to be elevated by the Supreme Court to the designation of a Senior Advocate and secured first position in the Advocate-on-Record examination for the top court.
Specialising in arbitration law, Malhotra was part of a committee, headed by retired Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna, which called for creation of an Arbitration Promotion Council of India. Last year, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJI, appointed Malhotra as amicus curiae in a case involving arrests in dowry harassment with the consent of family welfare committee set up in each district.
From 1991 to 1996, Malhotra served as the Standing Counsel for the State of Haryana in the apex court and represented several corportation like Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), before the Supreme Court.
She has also authored a commentary on the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 published by Thomson Reuters. Malhotra as a counsel for the NGO Save Life Foundation, framed guidelines, Good Samaritan Law, for bystanders who give assistance to victims of road accidents.
Being one of the members of the Vishaka Committee, Malhotra was on the panel of women lawyers set up to protect women lawyers from sexual harassment in 2013. She is a counsel in multiple PILs challenging laws under the Motor Vehicles Act and discrimination against women make-up artists in the Bollywood industry.