After more than a decade, the Supreme Court Collegium has a woman member with Justice R. Banumathi becoming its part after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retired on Sunday.
Before her, Justice Ruma Pal, one of the longest-serving women SC judges, was the part of the Collegium system for three years until her retirement on June 4, 2006. She had been appointed apex court judge on January 28, 2000.
Justice Banumathi, who hails from Tamil Nadu, is now among the top five senior judges of the top court, who as per norms, are part of the Supreme Court Collegium, and recommend the name of judges for appointment in various high courts.
Beside Justice Banumathi, Chief Justice of India-designate S.A. Bobde, Justices N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra and R.F. Nariman are part of the Collegium.
Justice Banumathi will be in the Collegium till July 19, 2020, when she will demit office on retirement.
Born on July 20, 1955, she entered the Tamil Nadu Higher Judicial Service as a direct recruit District Judge in 1988 and worked as District and Sessions Judge in various districts before being elevated as a Judge of Madras High Court on April 3, 2003.
Justice Banumathi took the charge as the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court on November 16, 2013, and was instrumental in improving the infrastructure of the district judiciary, recruitment and filling up vacancies of ministerial staff. She had published handbooks for the guidance of judicial officers and staff members.
She became a judge of the Supreme Court on August 13, 2014.
Beside Justice Banumathi, Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee are the other two women judges in the apex court.
The other women who served the post of judges as the top court are former Justices Fathima Beevi, Sujata V Manohar, Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana P. Desai.