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Indu Malhotra creates history, becomes first woman lawyer to take oath as SC judge

NEW DELHI: Senior advocate Indu Malhotra was on Friday administered the oath of office as a Supreme Court judge making her the first woman lawyer to enter the top judiciary directly from the bar. She was administered the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at court number 1 in the apex court by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

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.

She would be the seventh woman judge in the top court since Independence. With Malhotra her joining the bench, the strength of the Supreme Court is now 25, against the sanctioned strength of 31, including the CJI.

This is also the third occasion in the 67-year history of the Supreme Court 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.

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 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 was also part of a 10-member committee constituted by the top court to deal with complaints of sexual harassment within the court.

The Bangalore born Malhotra was designated senior advocate by the top court 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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