Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gender Justice and Judiciary

In a recent interview, the CJI said, with regard to poor representation of women in Higher Judiciary: "We have to look for talent and not equal representation for gender, caste or creed,". He said this in response to a question whether there was a chance of a woman getting a berth in the three vacancies in the apex court. His answer, (I wish I am wrong in interpreting him the way I do) suggested as though there were no competent women candidates who could be considered for Judgeships in Higher Judiciary. The fact that there have been just three women Judges in the Supreme Court so far must be a matter of concern, and there has been no serious effort to understand the underlying reaons for this gender imbalance, which some consider as shameful. The President Pratibha Patil, while inaugurating the National Conference of Lady Lawyers recently, referred to this poor representation in passing, without indicating what her answers would be. If there is a quota for women in higher judiciary, without relaxing the criteria for appointment, is it difficult to find right women for the job?

UPDATE: In this Mint story, some former women Judges voice their opposition to the quota proposal.
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