Reality remains legal profession still has to welcome women into its fold: CJI

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CJI NV Ramana speaking at the felicitation ceremony on Saturday (Photo/ANI)
CJI NV Ramana speaking at the felicitation ceremony on Saturday (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 5 (ANI): Even after 75 years of independence, the judiciary in India has achieved a mere 11 per cent representation of women on the bench of the Supreme Court, said Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday.

Speaking during a felicitation ceremony organised by the Bar Council of India (BCI), CJI Ramana admitted that the legal profession is yet to welcome women into its fold as the majority of them struggle within the profession.

"After 75 years of independence, one would expect at least 50 per cent representation for women at all levels, but I must admit, with great difficulty we have now achieved a mere 11 per cent representation of women on the bench of the Supreme Court. Some states, because of reservation policy may reveal higher representation, but the reality remains that the legal profession still has to welcome women into its fold," said the Chief Justice.

Calling lawyers as the crusaders for rights, CJI Ramana said they are an "important wheel in the chariot of justice."

Talking about the Bar Council, the CJI noted the statutory body was visualised in the 1960s and ever since then, "it has been functioning for promoting well-being and ethics within the profession. From regulating legal education to the legal profession, from creating awareness about the law to providing legal aid, the Bar Council of India truly is an institution of great social significance."

He noted that Law still "somehow remains an urban profession" because there are several obstacles that a young advocate must overcome. "The harsh reality is that, without any patronisation, in spite of several years of waiting and struggle, no one can guarantee stability in the profession," the CJI said.

CJI Ramana also expressed concern over the "new trend" of the "corporatisation" emerging in the profession, "similar to what has happened in foreign countries."

"Due to the issues relating to livelihood, many young and bright lawyers are joining law firms. This is a welcome change, as it is opening up fresh avenues for first-generation lawyers. But at the same time, it is also causing a decline in traditional practice. Common people cannot afford quality legal advice at corporate prices which is an area of concern," the CJI said.

"Even though we are strongly providing access to justice, still lakhs of people in India are unable to approach the courts to seek remedy," he said.

The Chief Justice also noted that high expenditure and the long delay, which is a part of our legal process, is the biggest challenge.

"Although this might not be the right occasion to mention this. But, as an experienced member of the judicial family, it is my duty to bring to your notice certain hard facts. The judicial system is facing difficult challenges like that of deficient infrastructure, shortage of administrative staff and huge vacancies of judges," the CJI said.

While referring to the speech of Justice Gavai who compared him to cricket's living legend Sachin Tendulkar, CJI Ramana said, "I must correct the perception here. Like any game, it is a team effort. Unless all the members of the team perform well, it is difficult to win." (ANI)

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