On a felicitation ceremony organized by the Lady Advocates in honor of Hon’ble CJI and Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court, the CJI N.V. Ramana expressed that women must unite in order to demand 50% reservation, not as a charity but as a matter of right.
The facts were shown by the CJI which reflects the position of women in the Indian Judiciary. He said that women constitute less than 30 % of the strength of the Lower Judiciary, while in the High Court, it is a mere 11 %. At the Supreme Court currently, there are four women judges present on the Bench. Further, out of all the lawyers, only 15% are women.
The Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association ( SCWLA ) went for filing an application before the SC to ensure equal representation of women on the Bench. They argued on the grounds of Article 14 and Article 15 of the Constitution.
However, some segment of the media thinks that reservation is not the answer to the problem which is at hand. India has an acute shortage of judges, let alone women judges. On September 1, the High Court was short of its strength by 42%. The situation is dire in the lower judiciary. Women’s reservation is therefore first of all subservient to the larger problem of fewer judges. Also, it would have an impact on the merit of the Bench. Not to suggest that women are less meritorious, but if there is not a large pool of judges already, any kind of quota would mean that courts would struggle to meet the quota itself.
On the other side, there are benefits of reservation being put around. These are that the gender sensitization will provide a diverse perspective to the judgments. Laws for heinous crimes are yet not effective, especially for Acid attacks and rape. More inclusion of women will ensure the proper implementation of such laws. The lack of empathy reflected in some of the judgments could be significantly reduced.
The possible steps.
Some of the options recommended by the author are that there should be relaxation to the seniority principle. This will ensure the representation of women in the top court. Another area to work for is in encouraging women to take up the profession of law. For this, the government and Bar Council could take adequate steps to ensure the same.