Indu Malhotra, first woman lawyer to become directly SC judge

New Delhi: The Supreme Court collegium is understood to have recommended senior woman lawyer Indu Malhotra and Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court K M Joseph, who was part of the bench that quashed the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand in 2016, for appointment as judges of the apex court.

Malhotra, if appointed, will be the first woman lawyer to be made a judge of the Supreme Court directly from the bar instead of being elevated from a high court. Justice Fathima Bheevi became the first woman judge of the Supreme Court decades ago. Justice V Bhanumathi is the lone woman judge of the apex court now.

Earlier, the collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Joseph as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court but it never fructified as the government did not issue necessary orders.

Prior to Malhotra, practising lawyers Rohinton Fali Narriman, U.U.Lalit, and L.Nageswara Rao were appointed as judges of the top court. Much before that, Justice Santosh Hegde was appointed as top court judge directly from the Bar.

Senior counsel and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium too was recommended for appointment as judge of the apex court straight from the top court’s bar. However, he withdrew his consent to be the judge of the apex court after government returned his recommendation and a spate of stories appeared in the media critical of him.