In a move that could script history, the Supreme Court collegium recommended the name of Senior Advocate, Indu Malhotra as the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the apex court on Thursday.
Malhotra, who was designated as a senior advocate in 2007, would be the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the top court, instead of being elevated from a high court.
With legal experience spanning more than 25 years, she will be the seventh woman judge since independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court.
Born in Bengaluru
Malhotra was born in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) in 1956, daughter of noted lawyer Om Prakash Malhotra.
A political science postgraduate, she graduated in law from Delhi University, becoming a lawyer in 1983 and enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi, according to The Indian Express. She qualified as an Advocate-on-Record in the apex court in 1988, securing the first position in the examination and was awarded the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Prize on Law Day.
She came into the limelight in August 2007, when the Supreme Court designated her as the senior advocate, the second woman to do so after Justice Leela Seth, author Vikram Seth's mother, in 1977.
Specialising in arbitration, Malhotra has served as a member of the Central government-appointed High Level Committee (HLC) in the Ministry of Law and Justice to review Institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India'. The senior lawyer has appeared in several domestic and commercial arbitration. Malhotra has also authored the third edition of The Law and Practice of Arbitration and Conciliation, 2014.
Malhotra is also the author of OP Malhotra on the law and practice of Arbitration & Conciliation published by Thomson Reuters, Legal.
Represented statutory bodies before Supreme Court
As per The Financial Express, she has also served as Standing Counsel for the State of Haryana, and represented statutory bodies such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), before the Supreme Court.
She is also associated with the NGO Save Life Foundation and was the counsel in the 2013 case when the Supreme Court recommended a number of laws for good Samaritans who save lives in road accidents, according to The Asian Age. Malhotra has appeared in a number of educational matters relating to admissions, appointments in colleges and other institutions. She has also served as amicus curiae, to assist the court on a number of occasions.
Justice M Fathima Beevi was the first woman to be appointed as a judge of the apex court in 1989. Following her, Justice Sujata V Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai made it to the top court as judges.
According to established practice, the recommendations of Malhotra's elevation will be sent to the government. The government can return the file once, but it usually agrees to it if the collegium reiterates its recommendation.
Updated Date: Jan 12, 2018 10:00 AM