Last year saw the country’s first female defense minister being appointed and if things go the right way, we may soon have a second female Supreme Court judge. The real take away though is that she will be the first woman in history to be recommended by the Collegium to directly become a Supreme Court judge.
Indu Malhotra, a senior Supreme Court lawyer is the first woman to be recommended by the Collegium for appointment as Supreme Court Judge. Malhotra was recommended along with Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph, filing two of the six vacancies that remain in the Supreme Court. The recommendation for her direct elevation from layer to judge at the apex court is being seen as a rare recognition of professional talent. If approved, she will be the eight lawyer to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court Bench.
The Collegium was headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and consisted of four other judges, Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The body of five, had unanimously recommended the two names. However, a clearance from the government is still awaited before the two can take office. The government can return the file once, but usually agrees to it if the collegium reiterates its recommendation. The Modi government has on a few occasions returned the recommendations despite being reiterated by the collegium reported NDTV.
The Supreme Court currently has one other female judge, R Bhanumathi amidst 24 other judges. In the apex court’s 68-year-old history, only six female judges have presided in the Supreme Court. The first being Justice Fathima Beevi in 1989. She was followed by Justices Sujatha Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Desai.