The Supreme Court collegium is having a woman face, after more than a decade.
Justice R. Banumathi is now one among the top five senior judges of the Supreme Court, with the retirement of Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Justice Banumathi hails from Tamil Nadu and was elevated as a Supreme Court judge in 2014. She started her judicial career as a District and Sessions Judge. Later she was elevated as a Judge of Madras High Court. She was Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court, when she got recommended to Supreme Court.
She will be part of the collegium for a span of nine months, as she will be retiring on 19th July, 2020. However, she may not make it to top three, as three other judges' retirement date comes after her retirement.
Out of 34 judges in the Supreme Court, only three are women. Justice Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee are the other two judges. Last year witnessed the rarity of an all-women bench as Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee sat in Court No.12 on September 5 and 6.
Till now, the Supreme Court has seen only 8 women judges. Last female judge who could make it to collegium was Justice Ruma Pal (longest serving judge).
Justices Fathima Beevi, Sujata Manohar, Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Desai had relatively shorter serving term in the Supreme Court (less than five years). Most of these judges spent their tenure as the sole woman judge in the Supreme Court.
Another fact is that the office of Chief Justice of India has never been presided by a woman judge.