In a first, three women judges, including Justice B V Nagarathna who is in line to be the first woman Chief Justice of India in September 2027, took oath of office as judges of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
IMAGE: CJI N V Ramana administers the oath of office to Justice BV Nagarathna during swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photograph: ANI Photo
Prior to the swearing-in of Justices Hima Kohli, Nagarathna and Bela M Trivedi, only eight women judges, including sitting judge Justice Indira Banerjee, were appointed as apex court judges.
The Supreme Court, which came into being on January 26, 1950, has seen very few women judges since its inception and in the last over 71 years — only eight, starting with Justice M Fathima Beevi in 1989.
The seven other female judges appointed to the apex court are — Justices Sujata V Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Misra, Ranjana P Desai, R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.
Justice Hima Kohli was the Chief Justice of the Telangana high court before being appointed as a judge of the top court.
Born on September 2, 1959 in Delhi, Justice Kohli did her LL.B from the Campus Law Centre in Delhi University and was the standing counsel and Legal Advisor of the New Delhi Municipal Council in the high court of Delhi from 1999-2004.
She was appointed as an additional judge of the Delhi high court on May 29, 2006 and took oath as a permanent judge on August 29, 2007.
Justice Nagarathna, who is the daughter of former CJI E S Venkataramiah, was a judge of the Karnataka High Court before being elevated to the apex court.
She is in line to become the CJI in September 2027 and would have a tenure of over a month as the head of the judiciary.
Justice Nagarathna was appointed as additional judge of the Karnataka high court in February 2008 and was later appointed as a permanent judge there.
Justice Trivedi, born in June 1960, was a judge of the Gujarat high court before being elevated to the apex court and she belonged to the judicial service category.
IMAGE: Justice Hima Kohli takes the oath of office during swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI Photo
The first woman apex court judge, Justice Beevi, was appointed on October 6, 1989 and she retired on April 29, 1992 from the top court.
She had retired as a high court judge in April 1989 and was later appointed as an apex court judge.
Justice Manohar was appointed as an apex court judge in November 1994 and she retired on August 27, 1999.
Justice Pal was appointed judge of the top court on January 28, 2000. She retired on June 2, 2006.
Justice Misra had assumed the charge of the office of judge of the Supreme Court on April 30, 2010 and she retired on April 27, 2014.
Justice Desai was the fifth womon apex court judge, appointed on September 13, 2011. She retired in October 2014.
Justice Banumathi, who entered Tamil Nadu Higher Judicial Service as a direct recruit in 1988, was appointed as a judge of the apex court on August 13, 2014.
After a tenure of over five years, she retired on July 19 last year.
IMAGE: Newly appointed Justice Bela Trivedi signs after takeing oath as the judge of Supreme Court of India. Photograph: ANI Photo
Justice Malhotra, who was a senior advocate before being elevated to the bench directly from the bar, was appointed as an apex court judge on April 27, 2018. She retired on March 13 this year.
Justice Banerjee, who was the lone sitting women judge in the apex court prior to the swearing-in of Justices Kohli, Nagarathna and Trivedi on Tuesday, was elevated as a judge of the Calcutta High Court and was later appointed as a judge of the Delhi high court.
She was appointed as apex court judge on August 7, 2018 and is due to retire in September 2022.
A total of nine new judges were administered oath of office as apex court judges on Tuesday by CJI N V Ramana.
Besides Justices Kohli, Nagarathna and Trivedi, the other judges who were sworn-in are — Justices Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Vikram Nath, Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, C T Ravikumar, M M Sundresh and P S Narasimha.
The strength of the Supreme Court has now risen to 33, including the CJI, out of the sanctioned strength of 34.