Women in Judiciary

The ratio of women to men at the Bar is very low. Women designated as senior lawyers are lower than men. There are few women heading law firms. Very few women become judges. Even fewer women become Chief Justices. In the High Courts of India, there are merely 62 women compared to 611 male judges

Deeply entrenched male slant in Indian society is one of the reasons for this. It is not that women lack merit and ability.

How to bring about a change?

It can be argued that the democratic process does not in and of itself provide sufficient protection against the oppression of minority groups (gender minority in this case), which is why there is a need for affirmative action.

The collegium system is the arrangement by which the judges of Supreme Court and high courts of India are appointed by the president of India on the recommendation of the panel of judges.The ratio of female judges to male judges must be in the same ratio in the collegium to remove bias from the selection process itself.

Why should we strive for gender equality in judiciary?

An increased presence of women on the Bench would definitely expand the jurisprudence to be more inclusive, equal, and just.

In a healthy democracy, the judiciary must be a mirror of the whole society. The argument is not against merit but for inclusion. If there are women in a judicial bench, the diverse experiences of such a Bench would flow into the decision-making process. It would enrich the jurisprudence not lead to bias.  There is also well-founded expectation that women litigants would feel less intimidated in the presence of female judges, and that women judges in turn would exhibit greater sensitivity to their grievances.

 

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