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Admin 02 May 2018

Activist & expert arbitrator, meet Indu Malhotra, 1st woman lawyer to become SC judge

Senior advocate Indu Malhotra, whom the Central government is learnt to have cleared for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court, has contributed to legal intervention in several civic and human-rights issues.

As a counsel for the NGO Save Life Foundation, Malhotra framed guidelines for the Good Samaritan law for protection from harassment of those who help victims of road accidents.

Malhotra was one of the members of the Vishaka Committee on sexual harassment at workplaces and also of a 10-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court to deal with complaints of sexual harassment within the court. She was also the counsel in a petition against discrimination against women make-up artists in film industry.

The Supreme Court had appointed Malhotra as amicus curiae in a case on arrests for dowry harassment with the consent of a family welfare committee to be set up in every district.

Malhotra, 61, will be the first woman advocate to become a Supreme Court judge. Hailing from a family of lawyers, Malhotra joined the profession in 1983 and was designated as a senior advocate in 2007. She was the second such woman, three decades after the honour was first bestowed on Leila Seth, who went on to become the first woman chief justice of a high court. Seth was designated as a senior advocate in 1977

Malhotra has practised in Delhi for the last 35 years, mostly in the apex court. She earned a law degree from the faculty of law, Delhi University, and started practising in 1983. In 1988, she stood first in the tough advocate-on record test and became part of the select group of lawyers who alone can file petitions in the SC. 

Malhotra, a specialist in the law of arbitration, has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations and authored a learned commentary on the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 titled ‘Commentary on the Law and Practice of Arbitration in India’. She has also authored a treatise ‘Laws on Industrial Disputes’. She was part of a committee headed by retired Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna which called for creation of an Arbitration Promotion Council of India.

Malhotra was born in Bangalore to late Om Prakash Malhotra, a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and a distinguished author who wrote a treatise on the Law of Industrial Disputes. She went to Carmel Convent School in Dehi. She did her Masters in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College.

Malhotra will be the seventh woman to become a Supreme Court judge. So far, only six woman have joind Supreme Court—Justices M. Fathima Beevi, Sujata Manohar, Ruma Pal, Ranjana Desai, Gyan Sudha Misra and R. Banumathi. 

Source: ET