Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra will be the first woman lawyer to be directly elevated from the Bar to the Supreme Court as a judge. Her name was cleared unanimously by the Supreme Court Collegium which met recently.

The five-member Collegium, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, also recommended elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court.

The elevation of Malhotra and Joseph, as and when approved by the Centre, will take the strength of judges in the Supreme Court to 27 as against the sanctioned 31.

Malhotra will be the seventh woman judge since Independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi, appointed in August 2014, is the lone woman judge in the apex court and will retire in July 2020.

Malhotra comes from a family of lawyers. Her father O P Malhotra was a Senior Advocate and her elder brother and sister too are lawyers.

Her first tryst with fame was in August 2007 when the Supreme Court designated her as Senior Advocate, only the second woman to be elevated by the Supreme Court. The first was Leila Seth, mother of author Vikram Seth, in 1977.

A postgraduate in political science, Malhotra graduated in law from Delhi University and joined the legal profession in 1983. She specialised in the law of arbitration and co-authored books on the subject. Recently, Malhotra served on a ten-member committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, which was tasked to review the institutionalisation of arbitration mechanism and suggest reforms. The committee submitted its report to the government last August, calling for creation of an Arbitration Promotion Council of India.

Malhotra is trustee of the NGO Save Life Foundation which moved the apex court for a law to protect good samaritans who help road accident victims. Last November, a three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by the CJI, had appointed her as amicus curiae in a case in which it had decided to re-examine an order of a two-judge bench which said arrests in dowry harassment cases must be done only with the consent of family welfare committees set up in each district.

Source: The Indian Express