Intern, Constitutional Rights Initiative
In modern era in India though we concerned about “Gender Equality” but still there are some loop holes in reality. Somehow female are deprived from their social status in respect of male. There are various loopholes in various fields. Hence, this article is going to analysis one of them i.e the issues of women’s representation in Judicial system.
Gender discrimination is evil thought in our society which reflects the mental decay from generation to generation. According to Article 14 of Indian Constitution State will admit every person as equal before the law and equal protection of the laws within territory of India.
But this is true fact that socially women are restricted by lots of rules and regulations. Those must be followed by them being a social person. No matter how established they are, no matter how much important designations they have through their job, mostly all of them have to get married, have to have issues and household responsibilities through this phases. They have to manage their job along with those responsibilities.
A major setback in women’s representation is faced due to the fact that in order to be appointed as district judge, lawyers need to have seven years of continuous legal practice and should be between 35-45 years of age. This is a disadvantage for women as many are coerced into getting married by this age. Further, the long and tedious work hours in law, combined with the “unavoidable” familial responsibilities of a woman, force many to drop out of practice and thus fail to meet the prerequisite of continuous practice to be eligible for a position as a District Judge. The importance of women in the judiciary can be seen through the landmark judgment Vishaka v State of Rajasthan in the year 1997, which was delivered by Justice Sujata Manohar. Provisions for sexual harassment at the workplace was for the first time made actionable by law, and thus shows how women understand the plight of other women the best.
Women judges bring those lived experiences to their judicial work and experiences that tend towards a more comprehensive and empathetic outlook – one that encompasses the legal basis for judicial action and sensitivity towards the effect of those consequences on the people as well. Underrepresentation by women in the judiciary is the cause of underrepresentation of women in our society. Another Example is that Justice Ruma Pal extensively elaborated on the concept of “mental cruelty” in marriage through her judgements for Jayanchandra v Aneel Kaur.
There are 27% female judges in the lower judiciary, 10% in High Courts and less than one percent in the Supreme Court.
Women at all levels of the judiciary are critical for handling certain issues that may have very wide social and political ramifications.
First, inadequate representation could aggravate biases within the courts;
Second, the lack of women representatives in courts give rise to questions about the courts’ legitimacy as representatives of the societies they serve;
Third, the presence of women judges signals equality of opportunity for girls within the bar and an appointment process that’s fair and non-discriminatory and enables a level playing field.
However, women judges contribute far more to justice than improving its appearance: they also contribute significantly to the quality of decision-making, and thus to the quality of justice itself. Women judges throughout the world have earned the necessary credentials, gained accomplishments and otherwise met the standards for judicial selection. But we do, after all, live our lives as women, with all the social and cultural impacts women face, including complex family relationships and obligations.
It’s not ultimate solution by raising the voice for every time women will get the tag of “gender equality’. The most effective solution is that to implement the thought from childhood. To overcome these problems, law schools must impart legal knowledge with a feminist perspective. It should be understood that feminism does not only talk about the rights of women, but rather advocates for equality of rights irrespective of the gender or sexuality of a person.
1. P.M Bakshi, The Constitution of India, Universal publishing ( LexisNexis, Haryana) p no - 20