The outgoing judge of the Kerala High Court, Justice PV Asha has underscored the need for more women representation in the judiciary. She pointed out that only “three women” have been appointed as judges of the Kerala High Court from the bar in its history of 64 years. Justice Asha was the second woman judge to be appointed from the bar, after Justice KK Usha. And that too, a gap of 23 years between these appointments.
In her farewell speech, Justice Asha said it will be relevant to state that destiny made her the second woman in the state who got elevated from the bar, which happened after an interval of 23 years. “Even though the third woman got elevated from the bar within a period of 11 months, the total number of women judges from the bar continues to be three only, even after about 64 years of establishment of this court,” she said. “It is understood that recommendations are pending. Let me hope they will be able to join at the earliest and it will be followed by further fruitful recommendations without much time lag as erudite and competent young women, dedicated to the profession, are available in the bar in abundance.”
Justice Asha said it will be pertinent to note that the Supreme Court Women Lawyer Association have filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking directions to consider meritorious women lawyers for judgeships at High courts. She highlighted that it was said in the application that women representation in higher judiciary is “abysmally low”, that is 11%. Justice Asha was sworn in as HC judge on May 21, 2014. She received nationwide acclaim for her judgment in the case Faheema Shirin vs. State of Kerala which ruled that right to internet was a part of right to privacy and right to education.
The former Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde had earlier remarked that the time for the first woman CJI has come. Justice RF Nariman, recently, also shared a similar remark, “I hope the time for the first woman Chief Justice won’t be very far off.”