New Delhi: Senior advocate Indu Malhotra, whose name was cleared by the Union government for appointment as a Supreme Court judge, is known to be assertive and one of the best lawyers in the apex court. Sixty-one-year-old Malhotra was administered oath of office as SC judge by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday.
Born in Bangalore to a famous family of lawyers, Malhotra joined the legal profession in 1983, and was enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi.
In 1988, she qualified as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court, and secured the first position in the examination, for which she was awarded the Mukesh Goswami Memorial Prize on Law Day.
“I have only seen her in the courts arguing. She was always very forceful, forthright in her arguments and always very well prepared. I am sure that she is one of the best lawyers and deserves to be elevated,” senior advocate KTS Tulsi told News18, while recalling Malhotra’s work in courts.
Her key areas of expertise include the law of arbitration, and she has appeared in various domestic and international commercial arbitrations.
As a lawyer, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde remembers the soon-to-be-judge as someone who never took a no for an answer and would go on pressing cases for her clients even when others would have given up.
“She was always polite, always persistent in her brief and she always tried to press the matter for her clients even when many counsels would have given up. She didn’t take a no easily,” said Hegde, adding that the 61-year-old advocate is one of the most polite lawyers in the apex court.
The senior advocate believes that he “shares a memory” with Malhotra due to her association with Bangalore.
“Indu was born in Bangalore, she has fond memories of that place. That’s where my first connection comes with him. Indu was also associated with the family of the legendary lawyer and former law minister Asoke Sen,” said Hegde.
Her father Om Prakash Malhotra was a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court, and a distinguished author who brought out the treatise on the Law of Industrial Disputes. He published six editions of this Commentary.
Alumni of Faculty of Law, Delhi University, Malhotra is currently at the forefront of a lot of public interest litigations, which strive for a social cause.
She is appearing for the protection of bystanders who provide assistance to road accident victims, and for framing guidelines for a Good Samaritan law in India. She has also taken the lead in a public interest petition filed for framing of sentencing guidelines with respect to awarding punishment by the courts in rape cases, and another PIL on discrimination against women make-up artists in the film industry.
Malhotra has also kept her father’s legacy by regularly revising and updating his books for the consumption of the legal academia and professionals. According to Hedge, she has a keen interest in medical cases, too.
“She was a consistent practitioner of the Supreme Court. She has revised her father’s books on Industrial law and arbitration. She was the second lady to be designated as senior advocate of the SC. She is a phenomenal hard worker. She was involved in a lot of medical matters too,” said Hegde.
Indu Malhotra was the Standing Counsel for the State of Haryana in the Supreme Court from 1991 to 1996. She has also been empanelled as an Arbitrator with several Institutional Arbitration bodies like Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA), Delhi International Arbitration Centre (DAC), ASSOCHAM etc.
She was designated to become a senior advocate in August 2007, 30 years after Leila Seth was bestowed with the honour. Seth was designated as a senior lawyer in 1977.