With the elevation of Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee as the Supreme Court judge, the apex court has created a new record in the Indian judicial history. For the first time, the top court will have three sitting woman judges, that includes Justices R Bhanumathi and Indu Malhotra — the most woman judges the apex court has had.
On Friday, the President of India appointed Justice Indira Banerjee, Orissa HC CJ Vineet Saran and Uttarakhand HC CJ K M Joseph as judges of the Supreme Court.
Justice Banerjee would become the eighth woman judge in the history of the Supreme Court. She succeeds the likes of Fathima Beevi, Sujata V. Manohar, Ruma Pal and Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai.
Banerjee, who is an alumnus of the Kolkata’s Presidency College, started her career in the judiciary as a lawyer. Elevated from the bar, she was directly appointed as the permanent judge of Calcutta HC on February 5, 2002. She is two years and eight months senior to Justice Joseph.
Justice Banerjee is currently the senior most judge from Calcutta and was appointed as the CJ of Madras HC on March 5, 2017. She turns 61 in September and will serve in the apex court for approximately four years. With her appointment to the SC, the Calcutta HC will have a representation in the apex court. Justice Pinaki Chandra Bose was the last judge of SC, from the Calcutta HC.
At present, the SC has 22 judges. With Friday’s appointments, it will have six vacancies. The appointments ended the six-month-long standoff between the judiciary and the executive over the elevation of Justice Joseph. The SC collegium, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, had on January 10, recommended the elevation of Justice Joseph along with senior advocate Indu Malhotra. However, the government while agreeing to the elevation of Malhotra, returned the Joseph recommendation on April 26. The collegium had reiterated his name for the post on July 16.
Meanwhile, Justice Geeta Mittal was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, becoming the first woman judge in the history to head it.