Gender skew back as High Courts across India are led by male judges


NEW DELHI: With the retirement of Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Justice Gita Mittal, Indian judiciary is once again male dominated as all the 26 high courts across the country are headed by men. At present there are only two woman judges in the Supreme Court out of the sanctioned strength of 34 judges in total. Since its inception only eight woman judges have been appointed to the apex court. In high courts too, woman representation is minuscule.

Across 26 high courts, there are only 82 woman judges out of the total 1,079 judges. The Madras High Court has the most woman judges in the country with 13 judges, followed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has 11 woman judges. There are eight woman judges each in Delhi and Bombay HCs while there is only one woman judge each in Gauhati, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Sikkim high courts.

The high courts of Manipur, Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura, Telangana and Uttarakhand have no sitting woman judges. Earlier this year, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the details of the woman judges in tribunals are not maintained centrally as they are administered by different ministries or departments of the government.

Attorney General KK Venugopal recently batted for more woman judges. He cited skewed gender disparity in designation of lawyers as senior advocates. There are only 17 women senior advocates in the top court, as compared to 403 men.

Meanwhile, in the Delhi HC, there are only eight women designated as seniors while 229 are men. In the Bombay HC, there are 157 male senior advocates and only six women senior lawyers. In September, the government had said that there are only two women judges in the Supreme Court and 78 in various high courts.

Eight women Supreme Court judges since 1950

Justice Fathima Beevi
Justice Sujatha Manohar,
Justice Ruma Pal
Justice Gyan Sudha Misra
Justice Ranjana Prakash desai
Justice R Banumathi
Justice Indu Malhotra
Justice Indira Banerjee