Former law panel chief for gender diversity in judiciary


Justice Shah was speaking at a two-day conference organised by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy

Former Law Commission of India chairperson Justice A.P. Shah has said that gender diversity in judiciary is equally important an issue to tackle as that of pendency and judicial delay.

‘Merit and diversity’

Speaking at a two-day conference on diversity in the judiciary organised by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Justice Shah said, “Merit and diversity should be seen as complementary rather than contradictory values.”

He called upon the Ministry of Law and Justice to partner with High Courts across the country to publish annual diversity statistics for both the higher and lower judiciary similar to what is already being done in other countries.

Earlier this month, appointment of Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee as Supreme Court judge saw the strength of women judges rise to three for the first time since the inception of the apex court.

Data portal

The conference also saw the launch of a dynamic judicial data portal by Vidhi that contains data on gender-wise representation of courts across all levels of the judiciary, including district-level data.

Justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre, who retired as the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, pointed out that merely improving diversity on the Bench will not suffice and that the need of the hour was judicial sensitisation.

The onus, she said, was on judicial academies to ensure that judges were well-equipped to handle any case irrespective of the social background they may belong to.

Former Madras High Court judge Justice K. Chandru highlighted the need to change training and learning practices of judges.

Inclusive bar

Senior advocate Rebecca John stressed that it was equally important to have an inclusive bar as much as a diverse Bench. Among other things, the participants pointed at the lack of training provided to higher judiciary, which could have a direct impact on the quality of adjudication.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:02:20 PM |

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