The number of women judges in high courts is just six per cent and the Supreme Court has not had a woman judge since nearly four years. The government wants this to change.
In a letter to the chief justices of the 21 high courts, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily has asked them to “actively look for eligible women candidates” and recommend their names for appointment as judges.
“The representation of women judges in high courts and the Supreme Court should go up,” he told HT, confirming his letter to the chief justices.
According to law ministry figures, there are only 55 women judges in high courts, out of a total 895 posts, leaving 265 vacant.
The Delhi High Court has the highest number, eight women judges, followed by Bombay with seven.
The high court with the maximum judges in the country, Allahabad, has five women judges, out of a total number of 78 judges.
The SC has not had a woman judge since June 2006 when Justice Ruma Pal retired. There have been merely three women judges in six decades in the country’s top court.
“The government can at best only suggest to the Supreme Court and high court collegiums to take this step, final decision rests with the judiciary,” a ministry official said.
President Pratibha Patil is learnt to have raised the issue with the government and the Supreme Court collegium, in her noting on the file, which recommended the promotion of Allahabad HC Chief Justice C.K. Prasad to the apex court.
The President had returned the file and urged that more women judges be included.