Judiciary acts as the third pillar to Democracy which mandates and provides safeguard to the constitution. But the very same pillar tries to uphold the rights of a certain class of the society it creates a dubious distinction of hopelessness among the people who seek justice. There is also another section of the society which has been suppressed by the working society. Women have been kept unheard for a very long time. The women advocates are constantly seen as misfits in the world of litigation.
The situation of women in the judiciary is, however, abysmal. in India. The Supreme Court of India has only seen seven female judges since its establishment in 1950 and has at present a female judge of 25.
When it comes to caste and religion many instances have taken place which could give a clear vision of discrimination within class and race.
A case where 17 district judges of Chhattisgarh who belonged to SC/ST were removed from service without a valid reason.
It is also considered that courts are not at all sensitive enough to impose death penalties on the person guilty of killing SC/STs even though the constitution bench of the Supreme Court had ruled in the Bacchan Singh case that murder because of caste prejudices should be treated as rarest of the rare cases attracting death penalty. It only shows the apathy of the courts towards SC/STs.
The clauses of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act 1989 (“SC/ST Act”) is diluted with the dilution by the Supreme Court of two-judge bench of 2018. Rather than concentrating on the weak execution of the law, the application itself was called “perpetuating casteism” and it was called an opponent of “liberal principles.” The bench didn’t appreciate Dalits and tribals’ need for social security.
Justice D. Y. Chandrachud spoke at the virtual launch event of CEDE (Community for the Eradication of Discrimination in Education and Employment) that students hailing from Dalit, Adivasi and other marginalised sections are often found to be relatively behind not only in terms of academic grades but also other extracurricular activities like moots, debates and internship. “The explanation which is most commonly rendered for this is that they are just not coping with the pressure. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The irony is, their peers show their inherent privilege of participation and also of seeking instruction and mentoring, while students of marginalized backgrounds are not given adequate peer and faculty support.
The judge cited a 2013 article in the Economic and Political Weekly, where academician In a joke that had become very common at the time the 93rd constitutional amendment on OBC reservation was passed, Satish Deshpande reflected on this mentality. “The joke goes like whenever India contemplates sending a space exploration team to the moon, feverish discussions will begin as regards the composition of the crew.
Finally, it will be decided that the team shall comprise 9 OBC, 6 SC, 3 ST and if there is still space left, two astronauts.
The insight was that the astronauts are not identified by their caste but by their modern professional qualification as an astronaut, while the supposed quota-beneficiaries are identified by their caste and not their qualification! The lower caste identity is so indelibly engraved that it overwrites all other identities which one may have acquired by exercise of the right of choice!”, explained the judge.
The fundamental cause of sexual inequality in India is the patriarchy culture, which has been entrenched in society ever since. The question of gender inequality begins with the simple fact that the question of gender discrimination in the legal profession is not being examined itself.
Women constantly push for better or at least as good performance as their male peers. The outspoken female lawyers are stereotyped as harsh and the less aggressive are seen as weak and inappropriate for the legal profession.
As recently emphasized in many national news forums, from 1950, the Supreme Court had only 8 female judges out of a total of 239. There are only 82 women judges from the 26 high courts in India out of a total of 1079.
Only a woman’s judge is his chief justice in the general high court for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. In August 2018, Justice Gita Mittal was named Chief Justice and on 8 December he is expected to demit.
At present, the Madras High Court has 13 judges, four of whom were named Thursday morning, with a host of the most female judges in the world. The following is a high court with 11 women judges in Punjab and Haryana.
In the HCs of Bombay and Delhi, there are eight-woman judges, while in the HCs of Gauhati, Himashal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Sikkim, only one woman is judging. There is no sitting female judge in the high courts of Manipur, Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura, Telangana and Uttarakhand.
Since its foundation in 1950, the Supreme Court has had only two Benches including all women. A large number of criticisms have been made of the college of higher judicial judges for their reflections on gender, politics, patriarchy, etc., which have prepared a way for an urgent quest for a better alternative.
Moreover, some leading lawyers and judges identified clear inclination against women in the processes of appointment and promotion. For example, former Delhi High Tribunal Chief Justice AP Shah characterized the refusal of a woman counsel who was recommended by him for a judgment as ‘rude,’ even though he did not consider the same conduct shown by a masculine lawyer to be so harsh.
A well-experienced lawyer, such as Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Meenakshi Arora, also remembers how the judges were intensely aggressive and almost threw the file a few years ago. A few years back, a male senior was able to argue the same thing. “Your mind has to be open. Don’t look at my gender, don’t look at my face, only look at the point that I am making,” says Arora.
The problem of sexual abuse of women is still raised in the field, and this is a major reason why women are leaving their career.
The judges conduct the spiritual restitution of humanity in an almost flawless manner, be it inhuman, sexual assault and violation. Substantial sexism interweaves such a sublime debate of collective morals, sexuality, chastity, honour and shame.
The new high court judge in Madhya Pradesh awarded bail for sexual assault accused of special circumstances that challenge the basic premises of gender justice.
The point that I realized that a woman in the case had no help is that one fair basis for bail by the court was that on the day of Raksha Bandhan the victim would have a ‘rakhi.’ The complainant will voluntarily take a package of candy and Rs.11, 000 as his traditional offerings and will also trust the vows of the accused “to better protect her for the future” by sacrificing her right to privacy and physical dignity.
While figures on the number of women in the law profession as a whole are not available, a 2020 news article reports that women account for 15% of all the lawyers enrolled in the country.
Ultimately, religion also plays a significant role in deciding women’s inclusion in the legal profession. Of the 73 women surveyed, 57 were Hindu, 15 were Muslims, and 1 was Christians. The lack of Christian lawyers is shocking because Christians are one of India’s best-educated races. Besides that, Hindu women’s religious equality is much greater than Muslim women and, therefore, there is a religious difference.
In the face of plurality, however, the independence of the judiciary is important and by procedure and adjudication it translates the highly spoken principles of the Constitution and the confidence of the people.
We cannot say that we need people to get more educated because the ones who are doing discrimination be it gender or caste basis are people who reflects a certain segment of our democracy, our judiciary and our society. What we all need to do is accept those religions, castes as a part of the society, normalizing the norm of working in diversity and see them with equality and give them a proper opportunity with equity. We don’t need to be educated-illiterates.
We need to loosen up a little and accept the fact that women are also with strong mind sets, strong enough to evaluate facts and give healthy and fair judgments. If a woman is getting out of her cocoon being daunting just like a man does they both have equal right to equal opportunity despite of their backgrounds.
Law Student, VIT School of Law, Chennai