Amid Row Over Appointments, Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra Takes Oath As Supreme Court Judge
Amid Row Over Appointments, Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra Takes Oath As Supreme Court Judge A view of India’s Supreme Court building (SAJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid a row over the appointment of new judges to the Supreme Court, senior advocate Indu Malhotra was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra this morning, Times of India has reported.

Malhotra, who will be the seventh woman Judge in the apex court's 68-year history, is the first woman to be elevated to the post directly from the Bar.

Her name was recommended by the five-judge Collegium, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, for elevation along with that of Uttarakhand high court Chief Justice K M Joseph. While the Centre approved Malhotra’s appointment, it has sought reconsideration of the proposal for the latter. The CJI has said there was "nothing wrong" in the government sending back Justice Joseph's name.

One reason cited by the government for refusing to accept the collegium's recommendation to appoint Justice K M Joseph to the apex court was that it would distort regional representation in the highest court. The top court already had a judge, Justice Kurian Joseph, from Kerala High Court. At least 10 High Courts - Calcutta, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, J&K, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Manipur and Meghalaya - have no representation in the apex court at present.

Additionally, justice Joseph is 42nd in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority List and 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts are senior to him.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in his letter to the CJI on Thursday, mentioned: "There is no representation of SCs/STs in the Supreme Court since long." Since 2010, there has been no judge in the apex court from the SCs, he noted.

With Malhotra’s appointment, the SC's working strength has increased to 25. However, the top court is still left with six vacancies.

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