Thursday, February, 09,2023

Women’s representation in judiciary far short of Constitutional ideal

New Delhi: For the third time in history, the Supreme Court set up an all-woman bench on Thursday comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Bela M Trivedi. While the news gives us a glimpse of hope, we have a long way to go when it comes to the appointment of women judges in the courts of the country, especially in high courts and the Supreme Court. In the last 70 years, no significant attempt has been made to provide adequate representation for women in the High Courts or Supreme Court. In 1980, Justice M Fathima Beevi became the first woman judge to be appointed to the apex court, 40 years after its establishment. So far, only 11 women judges could reach up to the top court, with no women CJI till now. Just 83 of the 680 judges in the high courts are women. Only 30 per cent of subordinate judges are female. Women are outnumbering men in law schools and are increasingly joining the corporate sector, but their underrepresentation in top decision-making institutions is deplorable. The situation of women lawyers in the country is also not good. Of 1.7 million advocates registered, only 15 per cent are women.

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