NEW DELHI: Former Supreme Court Justice Indu Malhotra, appointed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday to head a five-member committee to investigate the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the Punjab, was the first female lawyer to enter the higher magistracy directly as a judge.
Justice Malhotra, who was appointed Senior Counsel in 2007, took office as Supreme Justice on April 27, 2018.
She was the second woman to be appointed Senior Counsel by the Supreme Court in 2007.
She retired from the highest court on March 13, 2021. Judge Malhotra has delivered several important verdicts, including her dissenting judgment in the landmark Sabarimala Temple case in which she said judicial review of religious practices should not be done because the courts cannot impose their morality or rationality on the form of worship of a deity.
She was also part of the constitutional judiciary which had unanimously ruled Article 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dealing with the offense of adultery, as unconstitutional and invalidated the penal provision.
In addition, she was part of a constitutional bench of five judges which delivered the landmark judgment on September 6, 2019 and held that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized consensual same-sex relationships was “irrational, indefensible and patently arbitrary. And later said that the parties involved collapsed with joy and relief after the verdict was delivered.
Judge Malhotra was also appointed ombudsman and ethics officer for the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) in September 2021.
Born March 14, 1956 in Bangalore, Judge Malhotra was educated at Carmel Convent School in Delhi and obtained a BA in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College in 1975, followed by an MA in Political Science in 1977 from the University. from Delhi.
She was appointed Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Miranda House College and Vivekanand College, University of Delhi in 1978, and received a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Law and Secretarial Studies from the Indian Law Institute in 1978. -79.
The former Supreme Court Justice obtained her LLB from Delhi University in 1983 and registered as a lawyer on January 12, 1983 with the Delhi Bar Council.
She qualified for the paper lawyer exam in 1988 and received the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Award for winning the exam.
She was also a member of the Supreme Court’s Gender Awareness and Internal Complaints Committee from November 2013 to 2017.
The first woman to be appointed a Supreme Court judge was Justice M Fathima Beevi in 1989, 39 years after the Supreme Court was established in 1950.