In A First, Women Judges Head All Major HCs In India


New Delhi: In the male-dominated world of higher judiciary, there is a silver lining — women now head the four major and oldest high courts in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

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With the appointment of Indira Banerjee as chief justice of the Madras HC on March 31, women created history by heading the four historical HCs, which were among the first few created in colonial India. Madras HC has six women judges, including the chief justice, while there are 53 male judges.

Bombay HC is headed by Justice Manjula Chellur, who first headed an HC on September 26, 2012. She became Bombay HC chief justice on August 22 last year.

Incidentally, Bombay HC has the highest number of women judges, 11, against 61 male judges.  The number two in the HC is also a woman, Justice V M Tahilramani. Delhi HC has been headed by Justice G Rohini since April 13, 2014. The HC has nine women judges and 35 male judges.

Here too, the number two is a woman, Justice Gita Mittal. Calcutta HC has been headed by acting chief justice Nishita Nirmal Mhatre since December 1 last year. But this HC has poorer women-to men-judge ratio — 4 to 35.

Among the 632 HC judges in 24 HCs, there are only 68 women judges, a mere 10.7%. There is just one woman judge, R Banumathi, among 28 judges in the Supreme Court.

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