First time in its 68-year history, Supreme Court to have three Sitting Woman Judges

Murali Krishnan August 4 2018
woman judges

With Justice Indira Banerjee set to take charge as Supreme Court judge, the Supreme Court will have three woman judges on the Bench simultaneously for the first time in its sixty-eight years of existence.

The three woman judges are Justice R Banumathi, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee.

In the history of the Supreme Court, there have been a mere seven woman judges. Justice Fathima Beevi was the first woman judge who was elevated to the Supreme Court. That was in the year 1989.

Taking Justice Beevi’s lead was Justice Sujatha Manohar, followed by Justices Ruma Pal, and more recently Justices Gyan Sudha Misra, Ranjana Prakash DesaiR Banumathi and Indu Malhotra.

Among these judges, Justices Beevi, Manohar and Pal spent their time in Supreme Court as sole woman judge throughout their tenures.

Justice Beevi retired in 1992 and Sujata Manohar was elevated to Supreme Court only in 1994. Justice Sujata Manohar retired in 1999 and Justice Ruma Pal came, but only in 2000. Justice Pal retired in 2006 and Supreme Court had no woman judge for a long time till Justice Gyan Sudha Misra was made Supreme court judge in 2010.

This trend of one sitting woman judge was broken only in 2011 when Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai was elevated to the Bench. She became the second sitting woman judge along with Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. It was the first time the Supreme Court had more than one woman sitting judge.

Justice Gyan Sudha Misra retired in April 2014 and Justice Desai continued as the sole woman sitting judge for sometime till Justice Banumathi was made Supreme Court judge in August 2014.

Subsequently, Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Banumathi were sitting judges for a short period before Justice Desai retired.

Justice Banumathi then continued as the sole woman judge on the Bench till Justice Indu Malhotra was elevated to the Bench in April this year.

With Justice Banerjee set to assume charge, the Supreme court is all set to have three woman sitting judges for the first time.

Justice Banumathi will retire on July 19, 2020, while Justice Indu Malhotra will demit office on March 13, 2021.

Justice Indira Banerjee will retire on September 24, 2022.