This is the current state of affairs of women judges in the High Court in our country. Not just that, there are still about 8 high courts that do not have even a single female judge. The judiciary takes the final call when it comes to appointing judges, and where the total sanctioned strength of high court judges is 1079, there can still be scope of change.
While the sanctioned strength in the Supreme Court is a total of 31, there still seems to be a gap with only 1 female judge and 27 male judges. Can you imagine the abysmal ration of women representation?
24 high courts – 534 male judges – 61 female judges
We also notice that HCs that are headed by women have highest representation of female judges than those headed by men. The Allahabad High Court recently recommended 44 names that had names of only 2 women judges. Do we assume that the competition seems to be tough and that women are losing the battle when it comes to knowing the constitution?
Bombay High Court, recently taken over by a woman chief justice, has representation of 10 women in a total of 64 appointees.
Delhi High Court, women make 28% of all the sitting judges.
Sikkin High Court (the smallest in the country), has an equal ratio of 1:1 male and female judges.
We ask some laymen about what they think about women representation in the judicial system. Poorvi, a writer from Delhi says, “I think gender of a judge does matter as in cases like the current Haji Ali dargah one, it is only a female judge who can really understand the sentiments of others. Moreover, when we talk about gender parity, we talk about all the fields and industries and not just some so here as well more women should get a chance.”
While Kushal Gulab, a writer and an editor in Mumbai says, “I don’t think gender matters in any work area including justice. A judge must do what a judge must do: listen to evidence and make the best judgement possible according to the law. Whether the judge is a woman or a man should make no difference. There should be no question of ‘representing’ women.
But I do think all genders must be given equal chances to make it to judgeship on their merit, and by equal chances I don’t only mean breaking the glass ceiling, I also mean equal opportunities for education and other social advantages from birth.”
Ria Das from Bangalore says, “Although, I do believe that commissioning more women judges won’t make any difference in the crime front, however, if there were more gender equality in the legal system, or by appointing more female judges, the quality of justice could be greatly improved. Because, accept it, women are known to differentiate things very comprehensively, and they do not look at things from a particularly female point of view. Certainly, 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. If it’s like to be one of only a handful of women to have ever served on the High and Supreme Court, I think providing more women a candid welcome in this field would be the pinnacle of the profession.”
Numbers reported by TOI
Feature Image Courtesy: supremecourtofindia.nic.in