We need more women judges and lawyers: Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind has said that the role of women in the judiciary has to be increased in order to achieve the inclusive ideals of the Constitution.
At the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Uttar Pradesh National Law University in Prayagraj and a new building complex of the Allahabad High Court, on Saturday, he said that history was created in the judiciary with the appointment of nine judges, including three women, in the supreme court last month.
“I gave consent to the appointment of nine judges of the Supreme Court recently, out of these 3 are women and one of them will likely be the first woman chief justice of India,” President Kovind said.
In August, nine new judges, including three women, were appointed to the Supreme Court with Justice B V Nagarathna in line to be the first woman CJI in September 2027.
President Kovind emphasised that the establishment of a truly just society would be possible only when the participation of women increases in all areas, including the judiciary. He, however, noted that at present the total strength of women judges in the supreme court and high courts combined is less than 12%.
Addressing the august gathering including chief justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, Union law minister Kiren Rijiju, UP governor Anandiben Patel, chief minister Yogi Adityanath, and other dignitaries, including senior justices of the Supreme Court – Vineet Saran, Krishna Murari, Dinesh Maheshwari, Vikram Nath, President Kovind said, “We need more women’s representation in every sphere. Also, we need more women judges and lawyers.”
Acting chief justice of Allahabad High Court, Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, hosted the foundation stone-laying ceremony.
The President said, “Lawyers and litigants face problems due to a lack of infrastructure in the judiciary. I have seen the poor struggle for justice. Timely and inexpensive justice is our responsibility. Article 14 & Article 32 of the Constitution of India gives a fundamental right of access to justice to the common man. Proper infrastructure and judicial appointment will ensure that timely justice is imparted.”
Talking about the law university, the President said that the university must be built after studying the functioning of the best law universities of the world and how they impart legal knowledge and train students.
The Union law minister, Kiren Rijiju said that Prayagraj is a centre of culture and education. “We believe in the independence of the judiciary and will take every step to strengthen it. We are almost ready to table a bill on mediation in the next parliament session. We want India to be a centre of arbitration and mediation,” Rijiju said.
He also praised CM Yogi Adityanath and said “The CM has taken revolutionary steps in the last 4 years.”
CJI NV Ramana spoke about the role of the city in the freedom struggle. He said that the Allahabad high court has a history of more than 150 years and it was Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad high court who passed the judgment disqualifying the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, which shook the nation. He said that it was “a judgment of great courage which could be said to have directly resulted in the declaration of emergency.”
The CJI advocated for better infrastructure for the judiciary and asked ACJ Bhandari to conduct more Lok Adalats to resolve matrimonial issues.
The governor said, “The President, who was also a lawyer, laying the foundation stone of the university is an honour for us. A separate university ensures better education in the field of law and proper training of law students and this University will ensure this,” said the governor.
Earlier, the President was welcomed at Bamrauli Airport by the governor, chief minister, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi, and local MLAs.
The event began with the President unveiling the plaques and CJI NV Ramana unveiling an oil portrait of late AB Saran, senior advocate and father of justice Vineet Saran of the Supreme Court.
Acting Chief Justice MN Bhandari welcomed all the guests and said that the current court building was built before Independence. The new complex will have 2,300 chambers for lawyers with a canteen facility for 900 people.
The new building complex includes a multi-level parking facility, advocates’ chambers, library, and an auditorium, for which the Uttar Pradesh government has released ₹600 crore.
The Uttar Pradesh National Law University is being constructed in the Jhalwa area of Prayagraj.
Keeping in mind, Covid-19 restrictions, the facility of live streaming of the event were arranged for the members/lawyers of High Court Bar Association, Allahabad at Bishop Johnson School.
As part of his visit to Prayagraj, President Ram Nath Kovind also visited the residence of former governor of West Bengal, Keshari Nath Tripathi and inquired about his well-being. The President stayed at Tripathi’s Lohia Marg house for around half-an-hour. Later, the governor, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh also visited Tripathi.