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Meet Indu Malhotra, the first woman lawyer to be appointed directly as Supreme Court Judge

Binjal Shah
posted on 26th April 2018
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Indu Malhotra’s name was unanimously cleared by the Collegium; she will be the seventh woman judge of India's apex court since Independence.

When Indu Malhotra takes oath tomorrow to officially take the reins of her role as Supreme Court judge, she will be making history. For she is the first ever woman lawyer in India who will have made it to the apex position, after being elevated directly from the Bar.

A screenshot of an old video interview of Indu Malhotra, conducted by MyLaw

Appointed as per the Supreme Court of India's Collegium system, she received the Presidential warrant - the final clearance required to be appointed to the position. Led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, the five-judge committee constituting senior veterans placed their recommendation after deliberating upon it for 14 weeks.

Born in Bangalore in 1957, Indu Malhotra belongs to a family of illustrious lawyers. She did her schooling from Carmel Convent School in New Delhi, procured her B.A. (Hons.) in political science from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, and eventually went on to do her master's in political science from there as well. She even briefly worked as a political science professor at Miranda House College and Vivekanand College at Delhi University, before she decided to go back to college to pursue her Bachelor of Law from DU, in 1979. In 1988, she placed first in the examination to qualify as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court, and received the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Prize on Law Day for that achievement.

Serving as a senior advocate at the Supreme Court - where she was, again, only the second woman lawyer to have held that position after predecessor Justice Leila Seth all the way back in 1977 - she specialises in arbitration, and has to her credit several PILs to bring pressing social issues to justice - such as the punishment awarded by the courts in rape cases, the protection of women make-up artists in the film industry, and defining the guidelines for a Good Samaritan law in India, to benefit people such as bystanders who choose to help road accident victims.

As far as what the bench looks like currently, of the 24 judges, Justice R Banumathi is the only woman. Appointed in August 2014, she was the sixth woman to hold that position after that glass ceiling was first shattered by Justice Fathima Beevi in 1989.

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