The Central government has passed the file of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and elevated her to become the senior judge of the Supreme Court, sources in the Law Ministry said on Wednesday. With this, Malhotra also becomes the first Supreme Court judge appointed directly from the bar. She will take an oath as a judge on Friday.

Apart from Malhotra, the collegiums of five judges from the Supreme Court had also suggested the name of Justice K M Joseph, who heads the Uttarakhand High Court to become an SC judge. However, the union cabinet has put Joseph’s file on hold. The files of both Malhotra and Joseph reached the ministry’s office in the first week of February. But it kept the names under suspension because it only wanted to elevate the position of Malhotra.

The union cabinet feels that the collegiums have ignored seniority and regional representation by suggesting the name of Justice Joseph.

At least this has happened and it will prove to be a motivation for other women lawyers as well. We talk at length about women empowerment but if we look at the implementation agencies like courts, they are the top ones where there is a lack of women.

In such a scenario, Indu Malhotra’s elevation proves to be a joyful thing.”

Malhotra had stopped her law practice after the collegiums recommendation and resumed her practice after the delay in clearing her file. The Collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph unanimously cleared Malhotra’s name.

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Since the emergence of the apex court, Malhotra is only the seventh woman judge of the SC and she will join the existing strength of 24 judges. Currently, Justice R Banumathi is the sole sitting woman judge in the Supreme Court for over three years now. Malhotra is also the second woman lawyer, after Justice Leila Seth, who was designated Senior Advocate by the Supreme Court.

Speaking to SheThePeople.TV, Supreme Court advocate Farha Faiz said, “At least this has happened and it will prove to be a motivation for other women lawyers as well. We talk at length about women empowerment but if we look at the implementation agencies like courts, they are the top ones where there is a lack of women.

In such a scenario, Indu Malhotra’s elevation proves to be a joyful thing.”

Picture credit- The Asian Age

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