An Intervention Application has been filed in the Sabarimala case pending before the Supreme Court, demanding that 50% of the Constitution Bench set to hear the case should comprise of women Judges.
Alternatively, the Application, filed by 85 year old S. Parameswaran Nampoothiri, seeks creation of a specially constituted Jury comprising "people of eminence like retired judges of this Hon’ble court or the Hon’ble High Courts, Historians, writers, etc. with a direction to take a decision in a particular time frame".
Mr. Nampoothiri laments the lack of representation of women in various fora, highlighting the fact that in the last 67 years, the Supreme Court has had only 6 women Judges out of a total of 229 Judges.
He also makes reference to the representation of women in the Constituent Assembly, contending, "The deficiencies created by the lack of adequate representation of women in the constituent assembly should be taken care of, by liberal interpretation favouring the women, to ensure complete justice to the victims/petitioners/applicants/women in the above mentioned matter, while interpreting the provisions of the constitution."
Filed through Advocate Wills Mathews, the Application, thereafter, asserts, "Applying the principles of justice in its various forms, and considering the historic wrongs of inadequate representation of women in the constituent assembly while drafting the constitution, it is desirable to have at least 50% Hon’ble women Judges in roster deciding the above mentioned case/issues."
According to the petitioner at the time of testing the legality and validity of the issues involved, in the light of the various Articles of the constitution , one cannot close their eyes to the fact that , in the constituent assembly where the constitution of India was drafted, debated, adopted and enacted , there was no proper representation for women and it was a not gender neutral assembly , considering the practices and beliefs of the relevant times. The deficiencies created by the lack of adequate representation of women in the constituent assembly should be taken care of, by liberal interpretation favouring the women, to ensure complete justice to the victims/petitioners/applicants/women in the above mentioned matter , while interpreting the provisions of the constitution.
Alternatively, advocating for constitution of a Jury to hear the case, the Application claims that most PILs before the Apex Court need a "human touch" and submits that adoption of the Jury system for some cases would go a long way in reducing the ever-mounting pendency of cases.
Mr. Nampoothiri explains, "The applicant most respectfully submits that, if we look at the present scenario of pendency of cases, the delay in disposal of cases, there exists a situation to declare “Judicial Emergency” though in the constitution there is no provision for it. The applicant who actively participated in the freedom struggle is pained to see the increasing incidence of lawlessness, and strongly believes, only by removing the pendency of cases by effective disposal, the people of India can enjoy the real freedom. The judiciary should have always time for the requirements of its citizens for granting time bound reliefs. The jury system can be hence an alternative mechanism to reduce the work of the courts."