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‘Deeply worrying’; Top court left with a single woman judge

Justice DY Chandrachud said that the Supreme Court having left with only one woman judge is “deeply worrying” and must promptly receive serious introspection. He shared his thought on the farewell ceremony of Justice Indu Malhotra, who was the first woman lawyer to be appointed directly as a judge of the Supreme Court.

“Justice Malhotra’s retirement means that the Supreme Court now has only one female judge on the Bench. As an institution, I find that this is a deeply worrying fact and must promptly receive serious introspection” Justice Chandrachud said.

He added that there is much to do for a court as an institution whose decision shape and impact lives of everyday Indian. “We must ensure the diversity of our country find reflection in making up of our court. Intrinsically having a more diverse judiciary is an end, a goal in itself and worth pursuing in its own sake. Instrumentally, having a more diverse judiciary, ensured diversity of perspectives is fairly considered, instills high degree of public confidence” he said.

He also stressed on the need for more stories such as Justice Malhotra become more common place. “As members of legal fraternity we do our bit to ensure that it doesn’t remain as hard as it was for Justice Malhotra for women to climb upper echelons of our profession” he said.

Justice Malhotra said that for lawyers, it is important to conduct themselves with high degree of professionalism. “You must be punctual in your engagements. You must be professionally dressed as that’s how you will be perceived by your clients, your colleagues, and the Bench. Second, you must learn to draft in clear and concise manner” she said.

She also recollected the time when a verdict on decriminalising consensual gay sex was delivered and called it the “most moving moment” as the courtroom was overwhelming with emotions. Justice Malhotra, who took office on April 27, 2018, penned several important verdicts, including her dissenting judgement in the historic Sabarimala Temple case.

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