In a first of its kind incident in the history of Indian judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium on Thursday recommended senior advocate Indu Malhotra as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the apex court.
She will be one of only seven women judges that the top court has had so far since independence. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court.
In 1989, Justice M Fathima Beevi became the first woman to be appointed as a judge of the apex court. Thereafter, Justice Sujata V Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai made it to the top court as judges.
Indu is a senior counsel practising in the Supreme Court for the past 30 years. She was the second woman to be designated senior advocate by the apex court in 2007.
Born in 1956 in Bengaluru (then Bangalore), Indu joined the legal profession in 1983 and was enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi. In 1988, she qualified as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court, and secured the first position in the examination, for which she was awarded the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Prize on Law Day.
She has also served as a member of the Centre-appointed High Level Committee (HLC) in the Ministry of Law and Justice to review ‘Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism in India’.
She has authored the third edition of a commentary ‘The Law and Practice of Arbitration and Conciliation, 2014’ which was recently released in April 2014.
Along with Indu, the collegium has also recommended Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph’s name to be elevated as the apex court judge. Joseph was part of the bench which in 2016 had quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
(With agency inputs)