SC Collegium names woman senior advocate, Ukhand CJ as judge of apex court

SC Collegium names woman senior advocate, Ukhand CJ as judge of apex court

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as judge of the apex court, giving her distinction of being the first woman in the history to be directly elevated to the top court.

Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph, who presided over a bench to quash President's Rule in the state in 2016, has also been cleared for appointment as a Supreme Court judge.

The SC Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, along with top four judges, has recommended the names of Malhotra and Joseph in a meeting held on Wednesday, sources said.

Their appointment would take place with issuance of notification by the President.

In a related development, high Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Manipur would get new chief justices. Justice T B Radhakrishnan, chief justice of Chhattisgarh HC has been recommended for appointment as Andhra Pradesh HC chief justice. Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya, acting chief justice of Calcutta HC has been recommended as chief justice of Delhi High Court. He would replace Justice Gita Mittal, acting chief justice at Delhi High Court.

Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been cleared by the Collegium for appointment as chief justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.

Justice Abhilasha Kumari of the Gujarat High Court has been recommended for appointment as chief justice of Manipur HC. Justice Antony Dominic, acting chief justice of Kerala HC has been recommended as chief justice there.

The collegium also recommended the name of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh-I, presently an Additional Judge, for appointment as a permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court.

Among all the recommendations, the most notable was of Malhotra's name. Designated as a senior advocate in 2007, she would be the first woman lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge of the top court, instead of being elevated from a high court.

She will be the seventh woman judge since independence to make it to the Supreme Court. At present, Justice R Banumathi is the lone woman judge in the apex court. If Malhotra's name is approved, the SC would have two woman judges.

The collegium is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and consisted of four senior-most judges of the apex court Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. With the approval of two names by the government, the strength in the SC judges would rise to 28 against the sanctioned number of 31 judges. As many as seven judges, including the CJI, are set to demit office this year.

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