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Gender Insensitivity in India Judiciary

Judiciary; a place dedicated to uplifting justice and equality, is also a place where there is no equal representation of male and female counterparts. In India, from the times of the first courts established in Bombay, Madras and Bengal to this day, after 75 years of Independence, we observe no difference in encouraging the participation of women in upholding Justice.

After Independence, the right-wing woman stepped forward to take charge in many areas; from a pilot to military generals but the only judiciary has always been left in the dark. The article focuses on the importance of spreading awareness among all, that women can do it, they can be a part and process of the future landmark judgements that India will make.

Recently, an article was published in the Times of India regarding a protest conducted by the 90% of the women of Iceland regarding gender inequality on 24th October, 1975, which was called the "Women's Day Off" where, they refused to work for a day and even left their children in the care of their spouse, this led to the close down of many banks, factories and shops in Iceland.

Even though the protest led for only one day but the impact led to the recognition of the importance of woman in the society. This historical event guided the way for Iceland to be number one in "Gender Equality Index" all over the world for the past decade.

Right To Equality, Is It In-Practice In All Places?
Where Indian citizens were privileged that Equality before law and equal protection of law were being provided by our constitution under article 14 regardless of gender, cast, creed, place of birth; which was all because of the high ideals of the constitution makers.

But even after 75 years of Indian Independence, our country still suffers from the lack of sufficient representation from both sex at different positions throughout nation, one of them being Judiciary, whose main purpose is:
"To protect rule of law and ensure supremacy of law. It safeguards rights of the individual, settles disputes in accordance with the law and ensures that democracy does not give way to individual or group dictatorship[1]".

But the irony lies that the place that conducts justice does not have equal representation of women, in itself.

In High Courts, women judges constitute 11.5%. Here in the Supreme Court, we currently have four women justices out of the sitting 33. That makes it just 12%. Of the 1.7 million advocates, only 15% are women," Chief Justice Ramana revealed the huge absence of women professionals in the field of law and justice.

There are many reasons for this; one being legislature being male dominate as well and their resistance in allowing more women in making laws. At higher job positions sexual discrimination and nepotism plays an integral role, each and every person has experienced this and has become indifferent to it.

"Second being; women judges are also at the receiving end of sexism. There have been instances of losing male lawyers foul-mouthing them. A female judge in Karkadoma court in Delhi filed, an FIR when she was subjected to sexist abuses by a lawyer. But her own chief judicial magistrate reportedly asked her to withdraw the complaint.[2]"

Thirdly, education plays a vital role, as a higher position such as judiciary, various examinations are conducted for which the scores are taken into consideration rather than the gender, even the SC/SC/OBCs do not have a reservation for these exams.

The solution for overcoming this gender inequality include the wide spread awareness through education of gender equality and the need of more female participation in judiciary. It is important for people to know that when there is equal representation in the judiciary, then only we will able to make more landmark judgements towards women protection, equality, humanitarian laws etc. We need to psychologically develop the mentality of respect and equal position of women even in higher levels of job.

Politically, new laws have to be made to increase female literacy, more female employment and equal participation of women in legislature, executive and judiciary as well.

when women are affected by crimes like rape, sexual harassment, eve-teasing, and other related offences it is important that women step up take their position in not only prohibiting these happening to them but also set guidelines and protect other women from being a victim as well.

"Male officers are mostly occupying high posts in Government institutions and they cannot deal women issues without prejudice, which is emphasized by rule of law.[3]"

In Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, a writ petition was decided by a division bench comprising of J.S. Verma, C.J.I., S.V. Manohar and B.N. Kirpal, JJ. The immediate cause of this petition was a brutal gang rape of a social worker in Rajasthan which was brought up in a class action with the aim to take up cudgels against sexual harassment of women at workplace through judicial process in the absence of any suitable legislation.

This judgment laid down duties of the employer, preventive steps, criminal proceedings, disciplinary actions, complaint mechanism, and awareness mechanism and made the same binding and enforceable in law until suitable legislation gets enacted. Through its analysis, Supreme Court concluded that sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation of women's human rights[4]. Guidelines like this help like a stepping stone for women to encourage them for more participation in different judicial positions.

In the conclusion, it is important that there is equal representation in different sections of society as it shows the strength and vitality of a nation. And it is time to show that women are not only the backbone to a family but to a country as well. Equal representation and reducing gender insensitivity will not only show that our country is progressing but also, that India is a step ahead in being a developed country in the world.

  1., pg: 125
  4. Representative Judiciary In India: An Argument For Gender Diversity In The Appointment Of Judges In The Supreme Court, Uday Shankar, Srichetha Chowdhury, ILI Law Review Vol. II, Winter Issue 2019, pg;12

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