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CJI bats for 50% women’s reservation in judiciary

Context:

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana has backed 50% representation for women in the judiciary.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Women, Government Policies and Initiatives)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. CJI on Status of Women Representation in Judiciary
  2. Challenges faced by Women in Judiciary
  3. Benefits of Women Reservation in Judiciary

CJI on Status of Women Representation in Judiciary

  • The CJI said women constituted only about 30% of the subordinate judiciary.
  • In High Courts, women judges constitute 11.5%, and in the Supreme Court, there are currently just four women Justices out of the sitting 33 (i.e, 12%).
  • Of the 1.7 million advocates, only 15% are women.
  • Only 2% of the elected representatives in the State Bar Councils are women. At present, there is no woman member in the Bar Council of India.

Challenges faced by Women in Judiciary

The CJI went on to detail the real-world problems women in the judiciary face. The gender roles which are enforced on women when they choose to become lawyers, the dual-responsibility they have to contend with as family responsibilities inevitably fall on them and a general preference of clients for male advocates all pose significant challenges to women in the judicial system.

To summarise the challenges faced by women in Judiciary:

  • Gender stereotypes that force women to bear the responsibilities of the family.
  • The preference of clients for male advocates.
  • An uncomfortable environment within courts.
  • Vacancy filling takes place at very slow pace and collegium generally don’t prefer women judges
  • Biological discrimination takes place when making appointments in private firms as well as Government places.
  • Lack of Infrastructure and Washrooms: Out of 6,000 trial courts, nearly 22 per cent have no toilet for women. 
  • Recently many cases are rising which lack professionalism on the part of senior advocates towards junior female advocates.

Benefits of Women Reservation in Judiciary

  • Gender sensitization will provide a diverse perspective to judgments.
  • Laws for heinous crimes are not yet effective, specially for Acid attack and rape. More inclusion of Women in judiciary will impact in proper implementation of such laws.
  • Lack of empathy reflected in some of the judgements could significantly reduce.
  • Gender of a judge does not matter when a citizen goes to court, but with a female judge hearing the person’s comments always makes the citizen (if female) less uncomfortable.
  • It will benefit LGBTQ community as well, as women in general are more accepting towards different orientations of people. 
  • The High Courts (HCs) that are headed by women have higher representation of female judges than those headed by men. 

-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express 

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October 2022
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