The Supreme Court will repeat history this week as an all-women bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee will hold court on September 5.
The top court had seen a women alone bench for the first time in 2013 when Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai sat together for hearing a case.
With the swearing-in of Justice Banerjee in August, the Supreme Court for the first time in its history has three sitting women judges. She is the eighth woman judge in the top court since Independence.
Among the three sitting women judges, Justice Banumathi is the senior-most and was elevated to the top court on August 13, 2014.
Justice Fathima Beevi was the first ever woman judge in the top court. Her appointment was followed by those of Justices Sujatha Manohar, Ruma Pal, Gyan Sudha Misra, Ranjana Prakash Desai, R Banumathi, Indu Malhotra and the latest addition to the lot, Indira Banerjee.
Out of these, Justices Beevi, Manohar and Pal served their entire tenure in the Supreme Court as sole women judges.
It was only in 2011 with the elevation of Justice Desai that the Supreme Court witnessed two sitting women judges.
Justice Beevi was appointed in 1989, 39 years after the Supreme Court was set up in 1950. She was elevated to the top court after her retirement as a judge of the Kerala High Court.
Justice Manohar started her career as a judge of the Bombay High Court and rose to become the chief justice of Kerala High Court. She was elevated to the apex court where she remained from November 8, 1994 till August 27, 1999.
Justice Pal followed Justice Manohar after a gap of almost five months and became the longest-serving woman judge i.e. from January 28, 2000 to June 2, 2006.
After her retirement, it took four years to appoint the next woman judge in the top court. Justice Misra was elevated to the Supreme Court from the Jharkhand High Court where she was the chief justice. Her tenure in the top court was from April 30, 2010 to April 27, 2014.
During her stint, she was joined by Justice Desai, who served in the apex court between September 13, 2011 and October 29, 2014.
After the retirement of Justice Desai on October 29, 2014, Justice Banumathi was the lone woman judge in the top court till the appointment of Justice Malhotra on April 27 this year.
Justice Banumathi will retire on July 19, 2020.