Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Sunday exhorted female lawyers of the Supreme Court to seek 50% ‘representation’ for women in judiciary. The CJI was speaking at a function organised by the lady lawyers of the top court to felicitate its nine newly appointed judges, including three women.
“Enough of the suppression of thousands of years. It is high time we have 50% reservations for women in the judiciary,” the CJI said. “It is your right. It is not a matter of charity.”
His speech brought much cheer to women, but led to a discussion on whether the CJI was referring to reservation or representation. A transcript of the speech issued later in the day referred to “representation” and not reservation in the CJI’s speech. Reservation would mean a matter of right. Women are yet to get 50% reservation in Parliament – a bill on this is stuck for decades.
Representation, on the other hand, is an issue which lies in the discretion of the collegium. The collegium could overlook women if it strictly follows its merit-cum-seniority yardstick for appointing judges to constitutional courts. Currently, there are no reservations for appointments to the constitutional courts – high courts and the top court.