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More Has To Be Done To Achieve Maximum Gender Representation Says, Chief Justice

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Friday said that more has to be done towards achieving maximum gender representation in the legal profession, while appreciating strides already made towards that direction.

He urged the legal fraternity to work towards fostering more equality.

The CJI said that in various states, in the competitive examinations for the lowest level of judicial service, over 60 per cent of the recruits are now women.

“That shows you the social evolution that is taking place in India,” he said, speaking at the bicentenary celebration of the Bar Library Club of the Calcutta High Court at the Town Hall here.

“But while progress is being made in terms of gender representation, there remains a pressing need to ensure that our judicial institutions are truly inclusive and accommodating for all,” the CJI said.

He said that despite the presence of female lawyers, amenities and facilities catering to their specific needs are “sorely lacking”.

Women often have multifaceted identities – balancing household tasks and child-rearing responsibilities alongside their professional careers, he said.

The CJI said that managing both domestic and professional spheres can be a daunting exercise for women.

“The expectation that women shoulder dual roles as caregivers and as professionals, highlights the need for supportive policies and environment within our legal institutions,” he said.

He said that the introduction of a meal for ₹ 25 for the staff of the Supreme Court, where more than 2,000 women work, after he took over as CJI, has gone a long way in helping those women who do not find time to cook for themselves in the morning to get wholesome food at their workplace.

“A small initiative like this makes such a big difference to the empowerment of women,” he said.

The CJI urged the legal fraternity to build on the initiatives, ensuring that they translate into meaningful actions that foster more equitable treatment for women.

“Encouraging diversity and inclusion strengthens our legal system and enriches the perspectives that drive justice,” he said.

Stating that the Supreme Court has in its 75-year history designated a total of 313 women as senior counsels, he said that this February, 12 women were designated senior counsels at one go in one particular selection.

Holding that common citizens feel that adjournments have become a routine of the judicial system in present times, he said that this perception is disheartening.

“This leads to prolonged litigations, increased costs for litigants and delayed justice, ultimately eroding the public trust in our legal system,” he said.

Drawing reference from popular Hindi cinema ‘Jolly LLB’, he said that the protagonist in the movie confronted the courtroom dynamics and that Jolly observed another advocate manipulating evidence to favour his wealthy client.

“This fictional portrayal vividly reflects real-world concerns where professionalism and ethical standards are sometimes compromised affecting the credibility of legal proceedings,” he said.

Asking whether lawyers should be ceasing to do work to pay respect to a member of the Bar who has passed away, he said.

“Every minute of judicial time which is lost is judicial time lost in answering a case of a litigant who is crying for justice,” he said.

He said that the traditions of the legal fraternity can be suitably altered to pay respects and yet at the same time make themselves in tune with the demands of modern society.

The CJI also called for doing away with resistance to technological advancements within the legal profession.

Supreme Court judges Justice B R Gavai and Justice Dipankar Dutta, Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court T S Sivagnanam were among those present at the programme.

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Source: NDTV

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