CHIEF JUSTICE of India S A Bobde said on Thursday that the collegium only needs to find capable candidates but does not need a change in attitude to ensure greater representation of women in the judiciary.
“Time has come for a woman Chief Justice of India,” he said while hearing a plea filed by Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association seeking the court’s intervention to consider more women for appointment as judges in high courts.
“Chief Justices of high courts have stated that many women advocates, when invited to become judges, declined the offer citing domestic responsibilities about children studying in Class 12 etc.,” the CJI said. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who is also part of the bench, supported the views.
The bench, however, did not issue notice to the government on the plea, saying it did not “want to complicate things”.
However, the CJI’s observations prompted strong responses from women in the bar.
“There are many men who refuse judgeship because they have a successful practice and do not want to take a cut in their earnings. But has that stopped the collegium from seeking more men and making them judges?” asked Bombay-based advocate Veena Gowda.
Currently, there are 81 female judges in the 25 High Courts across the country against 1,078 male judges. The Supreme Court has just one female judge against 28 male judges.