While hearing an application filed by SCWLA, Supreme Court observed that time has come for a woman Chief Justice of India but many women lawyers have refused judgeship offers citing their domestic responsibilities.
“Time has come for a woman Chief Justice of India. (But) Chief Justice of High Courts stated that when lawyers are asked to come on the bench they deny saying they have domestic responsibility or their children are in class 11 or 12 and thus these things have been communicated to me,” CJI Bobde said.
The bench also comprising Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant agreed to and supported the observations.
Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association had approached the Supreme Court with an application seeking directions to consider meritorious women advocates to appoint as the judges of High Courts. The application was moved through advocate Sneha Kalita.
When she was mentioning the matter before the bench, CJI Bobde said, “Why just High Courts? Time for a woman Chief Justice of India has come.”
The top court bench refused to issue any notice for now saying, “We don’t want to issue any notice at now. We don’t want to complicate things.”
Advocate Sobha Gupta representing the Association submitted before the bench that 11% of judges are women. Adding to the submission, advocate Kalita said the memorandum of procedure for judges appointment has no whisper about women representation.
CJI Bobde stated that the collegium has always considered the representation issue. “We have the interest of women in our mind. We are implementing it in the best way possible. No attitudinal change is required. Only that we need capable candidates,” he said.
Referring to the Article 14 and 15(3) of the Constitution, SCWLA stated that the higher judiciary should have adequate representation for women after giving due weightage for the merit.
“The Association has a deep concern regarding adequate representation of women in Indian Higher Judiciary. The women’s participation in justice delivery system is an important factor for the societal progress and gender equality which would further reflect the country’s commitment towards these cardinal issues,” the application stated.