List of Female Judges in the Supreme Court of India

Female Judges in the Supreme Court
Female Judges in the Supreme Court

Female Judges in the Supreme Court : The Indian Supreme Court, one of the country's most esteemed institutions, has a long and storied history. Since its establishment in 1950, it has played a crucial role in shaping India's legal landscape. However, for the first few decades, it lacked a critical component – gender diversity. It was not until 1989 that the Supreme Court welcomed its first woman justice, Justice Fathima Beevi. Since then, progress has been gradual, with the number of women judges slowly increasing over the years.

As of June 2023, the Indian Supreme Court had seen a total of 268 judges in its 73-year history. Remarkably, only 11 of these judges have been women. This translates to a mere 4% of all the judges ever appointed. The glaring disparity between male and female representation in the court raises questions about gender equality and the need for more inclusive institutions.

It is evident that for several decades, the court functioned without any female representation. In fact, from the 1950s through the 1980s, the Supreme Court had no women judges at all. The gender gap persisted until Justice Fathima Beevi broke the glass ceiling in October 1989, paving the way for future generations of women justices.

During the 1990s, the court saw a brief period with one woman judge, Justice Sujata V. Manohar, who served from 1990 to 1999. However, it wasn't until the 2000s that the court welcomed another woman justice, Justice Ruma Pal, in January 2000. The early years of the 21st century witnessed a stagnant representation of women in the Supreme Court.

However, the real turning point came in 2021 when Justices Hima Kohli, B.V. Nagarathna, and B.M. Trivedi were appointed simultaneously, setting a historic precedent as the most significant number of women judges appointed in one go. This landmark moment also resulted in the Supreme Court boasting four women justices serving simultaneously – the highest number thus far.

Despite these strides, the path to gender parity remains uneven. The position of Chief Justice of India, the highest-ranking judicial officer in the country, has yet to be occupied by a woman. If the tradition of appointing the senior-most judge as Chief Justice is maintained, Justice B.V. Nagarathna is poised to become India's first woman Chief Justice. However, her tenure as CJI would be relatively brief, lasting just 36 days. This article provides a comprehensive list of these trailblazing women who have left an indelible mark on India's highest court.

Conclusion

The underrepresentation of women in the Indian Supreme Court reflects broader gender disparities in various professional spheres. There is a need for proactive measures to encourage and facilitate the entry of more women into the legal profession and judiciary. Steps such as gender-neutral selection processes, mentorship programs, and creating supportive work environments can help ensure that talented women have equal opportunities to ascend to the highest echelons of the judiciary.

Gender diversity in the Supreme Court is not just a matter of numbers; it is about embracing diverse perspectives, experiences, and insights. A more inclusive bench can enrich the quality of judicial decisions and reinforce public confidence in the justice system.

As India moves forward, the goal must be to break down barriers and dismantle outdated norms that hinder progress towards equality. The appointment of more women justices to the Supreme Court is not just an aspirational aim but a crucial step towards creating a more just and representative society.

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