With Justice Indira Banerjee being appointed Chief Justice of Madras High Court, we now have four high courts with women chief justices for the first time in Indian history. The other high courts with women chief justices are Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta high courts. On the other hand, Kerala’s High Court has four women judges for the first time in Kerala’s history.
It is a moment to be celebrated in the face of the glass ceiling prevalent in the Indian Judiciary. At present, there are only 68 women judges in Indian high courts, which constitutes just 10.86 percent of high court judges, according to the Live Law. When Justice Fatima Beevi was appointed a supreme court judge in 1989, she became the first woman to have been appointed since independence, and so far, only six women have been appointed supreme court judges. Even now, Justice Banumati is the only woman judge acting in the supreme court. Minister for Law and Justice, PP Chaudhary said,
"Appointment of judges of the supreme court and high courts is made under Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India respectively. These articles do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons. There is no proposal to provide reservation for women in the appointment of high court judges. The government has, however been requesting the chief justices of the high courts that while sending proposals for appointment of judges, due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, and women."
Discrimination in the judiciary doesn't have anything to do with a lack of enrollment in law schools or the availability of efficient women lawyers, according to the Hindustan Times. More than 70 years after the Indian Judiciary was formed, it is disheartening to note that we do not have a female chief justice to the supreme court so far.
According to Justice Prabha Sridevan,
“In a healthy democracy,the judiciary must be a mirror of the whole society. This is not an argument against merit, but an argument for inclusion. There are many deterrents for a woman practitioner of law who is an aspirant to the bench, all created by the realities of history. They should be removed by those who make the selection by considering gender and its attendant issues.The glass ceiling is there not because they (women) lack merit, but because they are women…”