Drawing from the views of Karl Marx, Chief Justice NV Ramana noted that women of the world must unite as they have nothing to lose except for their chains. He stated that women should ‘shout with anger and demand a 50% reservation, not just for charity but because this is a matter of their right. Acknowledging the thousands of years of suppression of women, he pointed out that the time has come for them to understand and achieve this goal in the Supreme Court as well as other lower courts.
He was speaking at a felicitation function organized by the Lady Advocates to honor Hon’ble CJI and esteemed judges in the Supreme Court on 26th September 2021.
Citing figures on women’s representation, he noted that women make up less than 30% of the strength in the lower judiciary, and in the High Court, they are only at a meagre 11%. In the Supreme Court, we now have four women judges of the total strength of 33 judges, CJI said. He also said that out of the 1.7 million lawyers, only 15% are women, while they constitute only 2% of the elected representatives in the State Bar Councils.
Referring to the Judicial Infrastructure Corporation’s proposal as the ‘need of the hour,’ he went on to say,
“This requires urgent remediation. People will cite difficulties that women have to go through to be fully represented. That is not true. I agree that client preferences, uncomfortable environment, and lack of infrastructure are the biggest issues for women in the legal profession. Out of the 60,000 courts, 22% do not even have proper toilets because of which even female officers have to suffer.
On demands raised by the women’s lawyers earlier in the session, he stated that he supports the resumption of the physical hearing, noting that the senior counsels were skeptical regarding the same. In addition, he expressed his reluctance to take on more risks in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic; however, he said that it is hopeful that after the Dushehra holiday courts can be completely reopened physically.
He also strongly praised and supported the demand for a certain percentage of women’s reservation in law schools.
He wished to all the ladies’ lawyers present, a very happy Daughter’s Day. He referred to the female advocates as a role models for the new generation, ensuring his support to all of their causes.