Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Sunday batted for 50 per cent reservation for women in the judiciary. Addressing women advocates of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice said, “We need 50 per cent reservation for women in judiciary… It is an issue of thousands of years of oppression. In lower levels of the judiciary less than 30 per cent of judges are women… in High Courts it is 11.5 per cent… in Supreme Court only 11-12 per cent are women."
He also exhorted women lawyers to strongly raise their voice for the same. "I don't want you to cry but you have to shout with anger and demand that we need 50 per cent reservation," he said.
The CJI said that it's an issue of thousands of years of suppression and added, "It's a matter of right, and not a matter a charity." He further supported the demand for a certain percentage of reservation in all law schools of the country for women, so that they can join the judiciary."
Speaking at a felicitation function organised by Lady Advocates of Supreme Court for the nine newly appointed judges, including three women judges, CJI Ramana said he has tweaked Karl Marx's dictum: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chain" for the occasion. It can instead be: ‘‘Women of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chain."
He said he will be "very happy" whenever the goal will be realised.
He said that out of 1.7 million advocates in the country only 15 per cent are women and only two per cent elected representatives in the state bar councils are women.
CJI Ramana further said that people will often say that it is difficult to have 50 per cent reservation because women will face a lot of problems but that's not correct.
"Though I do agree that there is an uncomfortable environment, lack of infrastructure, crowded courtrooms, lack of washrooms, lack of creches and lack of sitting places, which are some of the major issues which are unfriendly to women lawyers in the system," he acknowledged.
Warming up to the theme, the CJI said: "In 6,000 courts across the country, 22 per cent of them do not have separate toilets and even lady officers have to suffer because of this. So these are the ground realities which we have to tackle immediately and that is the reason why I am proposing certain issues to the executive, so that these can be addressed."
Earlier this month, expressing concern over the low presence of women in the judiciary, Ramana said that “with great difficulty", the Supreme Court has achieved a mere 11 percent representation of women on its bench. The apex court presently has four women judges among the 33 sitting judges.
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