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Women Lawyers Move SC For More Female Judges In High Courts. This Is So Needed

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Every time I start talking about women and their representation in certain professions, many a men take this as a personal insult because their tolerance level is as fragile as their ego. Me talking about this is often followed by a long lecture with carefully selected data and maybe one example as they go about telling me how equality has successfully been achieved. Why? Because  women now have access to professions that used to be solely reserved for men. And in most cases that is a good start except allowing access doesn’t always mean giving opportunity. A big example of that is the poor representation of women in judiciary, a cause that has been taken up by women lawyers as they move to Supreme Court with their plea.

Women in India were granted the right to take up legal profession after the Legal Practitioners’ (Women) Act of 1923 was passed by the government. One would imagine that from then to now, women have had plenty of time and opportunity to establish themselves in the field and would be reaching new heights. However, statistics show that between 1950 and 2020 only 8 women judges of a total 247 were appointed in Supreme Court.

An alarmingly low ratio. An issue that has been brought up by a woman’s association representing women lawyers in front of Supreme Court, with a plea to increase women representation in higher judiciary, particularly in the 25 high courts as well as the apex court.

Also Read : Talking About Permanent Commission For Women, Supreme Court Says Society’s Rules, ‘Made By Men, For Men’

The plea states how the move would not only promote women and their interests but also protect the dignity of women and encourage their active participation in the decision-making system that runs the risk of the a biased stance, as majority judges tend to be male.

The plea has been filed in a pending matter, and the apex court has decided to take into consideration views of all high courts on the possibility of appointing ad-hoc judges in line with Article 224-A, that deals with the appointment of judges. As per the hearing that was held on 26 March, a bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul requested the center to get back within a reasonable time frame.

The matter is said to have a final hearing by April 8, and we hope that it comes out in favour of women, for their low representation in the judiciary is a worrying concern for all of us. At present, Justice Indira Banerjee is the lone woman judge in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Madras High Court has only 13 women judges (which is shockingly the highest among HCs) while states like Manipur, Meghalaya, Bihar, Tripura and Uttarakhand have no women judges at all.

A report that was pulled from December 6 on the matter, even stated attorney general KK Venugopal recommendation where he suggested appointment of more women judges and said the ideal position would be to have women occupy 50% of total judges’ posts. He had said that “improving the representation of women could also go a long way towards a more balanced and empathetic approach in cases involving sexual violence”. And to that, we agree.

Also Read : Supreme Court Lays Out Directions For Lower Courts, Says Don’t Stereotype Women.


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