Call for women’s quota in judiciary
A Subramani, TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 05.22AM IST
CHENNAI: Despite having had a woman Prime Minister and several woman chief ministers, the country is yet to have a woman attorney-general or solicitor general. Also, the Independent India has not seen a single advocate-general leading the Bar in any of its states.
Wondering as to why women advocates were not getting what they genuinely deserved, Parekh called upon the big gathering of women lawyers from several states to revolt demanding reservation of at least 50% of all judicial officer posts.
Justice P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, in his speech said the judiciary was performing the role of a ‘social reformer’ and pointed out that it had been taking care of problems and interests of women.
“In the context of gender justice and equality, the judiciary has attempted to venture into the critical role of a social reformer by upholding the rights of women especially the victims of subordination and suppression,” Justice Sathasivam said.
“The contribution made by the judiciary to the improvement of status of women, protection of and access to fundamental rights and provision of conditions of dignity of life can be discerned from a number of decisions delivered while interpreting laws and the Constitution,” he said.
Justice Sathasivam said the root cause of all evil practices faced by women are illiteracy, economic dependence, caste restrictions, religious prohibition, lack of leadership qualities and apathetic and callous attitude towards women. He also urged the Bar members to be conversant with new amendments and technological development.
Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, judge, Supreme Court, referring to destruction of millions of female fetuses every year, rape, bride burning, sexual harassment at work places, physical and mental cruelty, domestic violence and denial of property rights, said the police, prosecutors and courts had failed to give relief to women though the Constitution zealously protected women. Women lawyers can make a difference in enforcement of laws relating to women and children, though they can handle all kinds of cases, she said.
Justice M Y Eqbal, chief justice, Madras high court, said women in India are empowered in real sense of the term whereas in many countries they had just got or had to fight for their right to even vote. He said he had already recommended to the state government to constitute at least one family court in each district.
“Women’s empowerment remains an enigma trapped in mystery, in spite of tall claims made by social activists and lip service of administrators,” Justice Eqbal said.