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‘Many Women Decline Judge Duties Citing Domestic Responsibilities’: CJI Bobde

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Chief Justice of India reportedly said on Thursday that it is time for India to have a woman Chief Justice.

While heading a three-judge bench for a hearing on ad hoc judges appointment in High Courts, CJI SA Bobde said that the collegium has the interest of women in their minds and claimed that they are implementing it at best.

“We have the interest of women in our minds, and we are implementing it best,” he said.

He added, “There is no attitude change in us. The only thing is we have to get good candidates.” During the hearing, lawyers Shoba Gupta and Sneha Khalita represented the Women Lawyers’ Association. They argued that the judiciary lacks female representation as they pointed out that only 11 per cent of judges in India are women. They pleaded to the bench for more appointments of women as judges.

To this, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde replied that he has been told by Chief Justices of  High Courts that women decline judge positions themselves. He said, “The Chief Justices of High courts stated that many women are invited to come as judges. But they have declined, citing domestic responsibilities about children studying in Class 12 etc and Chief Justices of High Courts reported to me. These are things we can’t discuss.”

He further reiterated that every Collegium pays attention to appoint women as judges. The bench although did not issue any notice acting on the plea submitted by Women Lawyer’s Association.

According to their plea, Chief Justice Hima Kohli of Telangana High Court is the only woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India. There are 25 High Courts in India. Further, they said that out of 661 High Court Judges, only 73 of them are women which amount to just about 11.04% female representation.

Out of the 25 High Courts, five of them–Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura, Manipur and Uttrakhand– do not have a single woman residing as a judge.