Senior advocate Indu Malhotra was on Friday administered the oath of office as a Supreme Court judge by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, making her the first woman lawyer to enter the top judiciary directly.
With Malhotra joining the bench, the strength of the Supreme Court is now 25, against the sanctioned strength of 31, including the CJI.
Malhotra, 61, was administered the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at court number 1 in the SC.
This would be the third occasion in the 67-year history of SC when it has two sitting women judges together, the first being Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai, then Justices Desai and R Banumathi, and now Justices Banumathi and Malhotra.
Indu Malhotra's name was recommended by the collegium for elevation along with that of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph, but the Centre has sought reconsideration of the proposal for the latter.
Malhotra would be the seventh woman judge in the top court since Independence. Other women judges were elevated to the apex court from high courts.
Indu Malhotra joined the legal profession in 1983 and was enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi.
She qualified as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court in 1988 and has been dealing with several matters of constitutional importance.
She was also one of the prominent senior advocates regularly appearing in educational matters pertaining to medical and engineering colleges.
Malhotra was one of the members of the Vishaka Committee on sexual harassment at workplace and also part of an SC-constituted 10-member committee to deal with sexual harassment complaints within the court.
Bengaluru-born Malhotra was designated senior advocate by the SC in 2007 and became the second woman to be designated as such by the apex court after a gap of over 30 years.
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