We need 50% reservation for women in judiciary: CJI Ramana
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Sunday said that women are entitled to a 50% reservation in the judiciary, calling it their right. The CJI made the comments while addressing women advocates of the Supreme Court. Earlier, CJI Ramana had expressed concern over the lack of representation of women on its bench, which is 11%. Here are more details.
Ramana said, "We need 50% reservation for women in judiciary...It's an issue of thousands of years of oppression." In lower levels of the judiciary, less than 30% of judges are women; in the High Courts, it is 11.5%; and in the Supreme Court only 11-12% are women, he highlighted. "It is your right...you are entitled to demand reservation in the judiciary and law colleges."
The CJI further said, "Of 1.7 million advocates in the country...only 15% are women. Only 2% of elected representatives in state Bar Councils are women...I raised the issue of why the Bar Council of the India National Committee doesn't have even a single woman representative."
In his address, the CJI said that challenges in the profession are "unfriendly to women lawyers." This includes uncomfortable working environments, the lack of infrastructure like female washrooms, and creches for working mothers, the CJI added. Stating that these issues need urgent corrections, he rephrased Karl Marx's famous quote and said, "Women of the world unite. You have nothing to lose, but your chains."
Notably, this is the second time this month that the CJI has raised the issue of women's representation in judiciary. The CJI said, "After 75 years of Independence...expect at least 50% representation for women at all levels...With great difficulty, we have now achieved 11% in SC." He said the legal profession still has to "welcome women into its fold."
Meanwhile, history was created when three women judges were sworn in as Supreme Court judges on September 1. The SC presently has four women judges: Justices Indira Banerjee, Hima Kohli, B V Nagarathna, and Bela M Trivedi. This is still a fraction given the total strength of 34, including the CJI. Justice Nagarathna is expected to be the first woman CJI in September 2027.