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CJI for greater women share in judiciary

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Thursday said that out of a total of 37 women candidates recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as high court judges, only 17 have been appointed so far, while the rest of the names are pending with the central government.

“For the high courts, we have recommended so far 192 candidates. Out of these, 37, that is 19 per cent, were women. This is certainly an improvement over the percentage of incumbent women judges in high courts, which stands at 11.8 per cent. Unfortunately, so far only 17 of the 37 women recommended to high courts were appointed. Others are still pending with the government,” the CJI said in his address at an online event to mark the first-ever ‘International Day of Women Judges’.

Underlining the need for more women representation in the profession, the CJI called for reservation of girls in legal education. “I am a strong proponent of affirmative action. To enrich the pool of talent, I strongly propose reservation for girls in legal education. The data proves such a provision has yielded encouraging results in appointing women judicial officers at the district level.”

The United Nations General Assembly had, on April 28 last year, resolved to mark March 10 of every year as International Day of Women Judges. India was among the nations that sponsored the resolution, which was moved by Qatar.

Justice Ramana said, “The legal profession still remains male dominated, with severe under-representation of women.” He added that the recognition of March 10 as International Day of Women Judges “is an important step to create awareness and mobilise political will”.

The CJI said he is “wholly conscious of the systemic prejudices women have been facing, particularly in Indian society” and pointed out that “one of the main reason for the continuing battle of women in spite of acquiring sufficient skills and knowledge is the lack of adequate representation at the helm of affairs”.

Justice Ramana said that “the presence of women as judges and lawyers, will substantially improve the justice delivery system. The presence of women on the Bench and in the Bar has more than a symbolic importance. They bring to the law a different perspective, one that is built upon their experience. They also have a more nuanced understanding of the differing impacts that certain laws may have on men and women”.

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