Collegium recommends name of Indu Malhotra, first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a SC judge

January 12, 2018

The Supreme court’s collegium, a committee of the senior most judges headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has on Thursday recommended the names of senior lawyer Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph, to be appointed as Supreme court judges. 

Once the government gives its nod to this recommendation, Indu Malhotra shall become the ‘first woman lawyer’ to be directly appointed to the apex court. In 2007, Indu Malhotra also became the second woman lawyer to be elevated to the position of senior advocate, nearly three decades after the first, Justice Leila Seth.

Besides, Advocate Indu Malhotra, the collegium has also given the name of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph, who had in 2016 set aside President’s rules in the state and was later transferred to the joint high court of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in Hyderabad. However, his transfer was not cleared by the government. 

After independence, only six women judges have made it to the supreme court, the first one being Justice Fathima Beevi, who was elevated to the apex court in the year 1989 after her retirement as a high court judge of Kerala. The second woman judge in the Supreme court was Justice Sujata V Manohar in the year 1994, who has also served as the Chief Justice of Kerala. 

The next was Justice Ruma Pal who also became the longest-serving woman judge from the year 2000 to 2006. She was followed by Justice Gyan Sudha Misra who used to serve as the Chief Justice of Jharkhand. During her stint, she was joined by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, who served the apex court between September 2011 to October 2014. Lastly, Justice Banumathi, who at present is the only sitting woman judge, had joined on August 13, 2014, and would retire on July 19, 2020.

As per the established procedure, the recommendations of appointment, transfer, and elevation of high court and Supreme Court judges are sent to the government. The government can return the file once but usually agrees to it if the collegium reiterates its recommendation.


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