Time for first woman Chief Justice of India not far off: SC judge '

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman on Friday expressed hope that the time for the first woman Chief Justice of India is not very far off.

Speaking at the 26th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture, Justice Nariman said 'in India, we have had a woman President but unfortunately, despite the fact that you have had a woman President and we have had a woman Prime Minister, we have never had a woman Chief Justice.' “We see the picture of (Justice) Sunanda today. She was probably the candidate for becoming the first woman Chief Justice of India. Unfortunately, life was cruel to her and cut her remarkable career short.

“In any event, I hope, given the present dispensation, the time for the first woman Chief Justice won't be very far off,” Justice Nariman said while speaking on topic 'Great Women of History”.

Not a single woman judge has figured in the list of 48 Chief Justice of India including the CJI-designate NV Ramana, since it came into existence on January 26, 1950.

There have been only eight women judges appointed in the Supreme Court out of a total 247 judges appointed from 1950 till 2020.

On Friday, among other legal luminaries, Supreme Court judge Justice V Ramasubramanian and former apex court judge judge Justice Madan B Lokur also attended the function.

The lecture is delivered annually in the memory of Justice Sunanda Bhandare, who was a known exponent of women's rights and the weaker sections of the society.

Justice Bhandare was appointed as the judge of the Delhi High Court 1n 1984 and she died at the age of 52 years in 1994.

The remarks by Justice Nariman came a day after the Supreme Court said that time has come when a woman should be Chief Justice of India and stressed that there is no attitudinal change.

The top court had said that it always has the interest of women in mind and its every collegium considers women for appointment as judges in higher judiciary.

“Why higher judiciary. We think time has come when a woman should be Chief Justice of India' a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said on Thursday during the hearing of a plea of women lawyers’ body seeking consideration of 'meritorious' lot among them for appointment as judges in high courts.

The CJI had said, “Chief Justices of High Courts have told me that there is a problem that when women lawyers are asked for appointment as judges, they often deny it saying that they have domestic responsibility or they have to take care of the studies of their children”.

The bench had said, “We have the interest of women in mind. There is no attitudinal change in it. Hopefully, they (women) will be appointed”. PTI PKS RKS RKS