CJI calls for 50% representation for women in judiciary

Shout with anger and demand 50% representation in judiciary: CJI Ramana tells women lawyers

The CJI also strongly advocated for reservation of a significant percentage of seats in law schools and universities for women

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. Credit: Special Arrangement

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Sunday favoured 50 per cent representation of women in judiciary, saying it is their right and not a matter of charity.

In his address at a felicitation function organised by women lawyers, for newly appointed judges here, he said, "With your anger, you shout, you demand. Enough of suppression of thousands of years. It is high time we have 50 per cent representation of women in judiciary." 

Rephrasing words of Karl Marx, he said, “Women of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains”.

He maintained that urgent corrections were required to give due representation to women also in the lawyers' bodies since inclusion of women judges and lawyers will substantially improve the quality of justice delivery.

Also Read | Legislature needs to reform laws to suit needs of time, people: CJI

The CJI also strongly advocated for reservation of a significant percentage of seats in law schools and universities for women, as a first step, for increasing gender diversity in legal education.

"Women constitute only about 30 per cent of the lower judiciary. In High Courts, women judges constitute 11.5 per cent. Here in the Supreme Court, we currently have 4 women judges out of the sitting 33. That makes it just 12 per cent," he said.

"Of the 1.7 million advocates, only 15 per cent are women. Only 2 per cent of the elected representatives in the State Bar Councils are women. No woman member in the Bar Council of India," he further pointed out.

Stressing the need to create a more welcoming environment, Justice Ramana said, "I am also forcing the Executive for applying necessary correctives."

Also Read | Courts operate from dilapidated structures, infrastructure building neglected after British left: CJI

Highlighting various difficulties faced by women, he said gender stereotypes make them bear the brunt of family burdens while clients’ preference for male advocates, uncomfortable environment within courtrooms, lack of infrastructure, crowded court halls, lack of washrooms for women etc, deter women from entering the profession.

The CJI pointed out he has proposed National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation, which would create an inclusive design of court complexes as a survey conducted by him revealed that out of 6,000 trial courts studied, nearly 22 per cent have no toilet for women. 

He further said the committee for designating senior advocates would be reconstituted in the near future following the demise of jurist Soli J Sorabjee. He also hoped the top court would open fully after Dasara.

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