'End gender disparity in judicial appointments'

'End gender disparity in judicial appointments'

'End gender disparity in judicial appointments'
A women lawyers’ association has urged the Supreme Court to end gender disparity in judicial appointments citing that only one judge in the apex court and 62 of the total 611 judges in high courts were women.

In its suggestions to the Supreme Court, which is holding a hearing on improving collegium system for appointment of judges, the SC Women Lawyers’ Association submitted that their participation in the justice delivery system was important for the societal progress and gender equality.

“It is high time that after giving due weightage on merit, the number of women judges in the Supreme Court as well as in high courts should be increased so that they are adequately represented,” the written suggestions settled by senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani stated. Expressing concern over inadequate representation of women in higher judiciary, it contended that since independence, there have been only six women judges appointed in the SC out of total 229 judges.

The first woman judge in the Supreme Court was Justice M Fathima Beevi from Kerala in 1987. She was later followed by Justice Sujata V Manohar from Maharashtra in 1994 and in the year 2000, Justice Ruma Pal was appointed from West Bengal. In 2010, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra from Bihar was elevated to the apex court. Justice Ranjana Desai from Bombay was appointed in 2014. Justice R Banumathi, appointed in 2014 from Tamil Nadu, is the only woman judge in the SC.

Women lawyers’ active participation in different high courts has seen a paradigm shift in the legal fraternity since 1922 when they were allowed legal practice, it said.

“Female-male ratio is still a debatable issue and women need to be protected from female foeticide, assault, domestic violence, trafficking, matrimonial disputes and their right to property and so many other female-oriented issues. Thus, larger representation of women will further advance the cause of justice in this regard as well.”
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