Gender deficit in Indian Judicial system

Gender deficit in Indian Judicial system

Context: Attorney-general KK Venugopal has asked the Supreme court to fix the gender deficit in the Indian judicial system.

Facts on number of Women in Indian judicial system.

  • Women comprise only 7.2 per cent of all the judges in the SC and the high courts.
  • There were only eight women judges till now in supreme court and there has never been a woman Chief Justice of India.

Why the Indian judicial system is alleged gender insensitive?

  • The Madhya Pradesh High Court had asked a man accused of “outraging the modesty of a woman” to visit the home of the victim and ask her to tie a rakhi.
  • Nine women lawyers had moved the SC against the bail order.
  • Courts are also known to nudge alleged sexual offenders and victims towards “compromise weddings”.
  • In one instance, SC Chief Justice presided over a case in which he had been accused of sexual harassment at workplace. The SC, which has empowered judgments on gender rights failed to institute an impartial mechanism to deal with the allegations.
  • Similar judgments and conduct of court get tangled in patriarchal notions of honour instead of holding up constitutional rights.

What needs to be done?

  • Need for gender sensitisation of judges and lawyers to avoid judgments that exuberates patriarchy.
  • Greater representation of women across all levels of judiciary is urgently needed for dismantling patriarchal attitudes.

The judiciary should consider the suggestions of the attorney-general and apprise itself of the gender skew in its workings and take urgent steps to bridge the gap.

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