Newly elevated Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra on Thursday advised young women lawyers to be “professionally dressed” when they come to the court, according to people familiar with the matter. Justice Malhotra was interacting with women advocates in the Supreme Court’s ladies bar room, where she was felicitated by her former colleagues and friends. A former senior of the bar, Justice Malhotra said women lawyers should not only be professional in their work but should also look and behave like professionals.
She said she felt that younger lawyers often did not adhere to the formal dress code meant for advocates. She gave instances where women lawyers had come to court wearing t-shirts and ankle-length trousers, and suggested that such clothing should be discouraged.
Senior advocate and additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, who was present during the informal interaction, said Justice Malhotra’s aim was not to criticise the younger generation but to share her experiences with them. “She did not say that women should be only in Indian clothes. Even if it’s western wear, it should give a professional look,” Anand said, adding that Justice Malhotra did not urge the women lawyers to wear any specific attire.
Former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Indira Jaising also backed Justice Malhotra. “I join Justice Indu Malhotra in appealing to women lawyers to be well attired and professionally dressed in court. She was herself one of the best dressed professionally attired women lawyers,” Jaisingh tweeted. Women have to work twice as hard compared to men to achieve the same objective, Justice Malhotra said. “A woman has to multi-task,” she said. Justice Malhotra, 62, is the first woman to be elevated as a Supreme Court judge directly from the bar.