India made a history when for the first time since independence, Supreme Court of India is having four sitting female judges. In a country of over 1.3 billion population and an independent judiciary, this should have happened much earlier. Even after this achievement, proportion of women Judges in Indian courts is below 12% when compared to men. Even after over 70 years of democracy, women are yet to get their places in a country where many laws are women centric. When government approved the name of the nine judges’ including three female judges’, it also got confirmed that one of the three would be come future Chief Justice of India. It would be amazing as she would be the first women Chief Justice of India. A country and civilization where women like Ubhaya Bharatī have shown everyone the efficiency of women in the society. She judged the famous Shastrartha (debate on Hindu schools and scriptures) between Mandana Mishra and Adi Shankaracharya for over 15 days and gave verdict in favour of Adi Shankaracharya declaring her own husband Mishra as loser. This shows the impartial nature of women in Indic society. This Shastrartha happened in 8th century and there is no parallel comparison in any society to match this.
It’s sad to see that even after 70 years of independence and in 21st century, ratio of women in judiciary is low. Lower judiciary in India get’s it’s judges from qualifying examination and merit of women will be solely responsible for their selection. However, higher judiciary in India is mostly filed as per the recommendations of collegium. Collegium constitutes of Chief Justice and four seniors most Justices of Supreme Court. Government has very little role in appointment as they may agree or disagree on the recommendations proposed by the collegium. If the government objects to some recommendations and the collegium returns the same name for consideration, government will be bound to accept the same. Recently when collegium recommended nine names for the Supreme Court, little did they know that government will accept all the names within few days making a history. Appointment of judges in the court is important for a country which sustains on democratic values. An increase in women Judges will only increase the trust and faith of society at large on the Indian judiciary. Collegium must keep promoting capable women Judges in the courts in order to keep the system in place. After all, Supreme Court of India is the guardian of the Constitution of India
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com