The gross under-representation of women in Indian Judiciary has been a matter of grave concern. While women participation is on the rise in almost all sectors in India, the same is not with judiciary.
The statistics present a worrying picture of drastically low participation of women in judiciary. To illustrate, out of 229 judges appointed at the Supreme Court of India till 2015, only six were women. Justice R. Banumathi is the only woman judge in Supreme Court of India at present, out of 27 judges. The representation of women amongst High Court judges is about 10.86%, as per the submission made by Minister for Law and Justice, Sri.P.P Choudhary in Lok Sabha.
When seen in this backdrop, the merit list for selection of Munsiff-Maigstrates in Kerala Judicial Service recently published by the High Court of Kerala provides a glimmer of hope, as women outnumber men in the same. Out of 68 candidates placed in the merit list for direct recruitment, 44 are female candidates and 24 are male candidates. In other words, women have cornered 65% of the places in the merit list. The outshining performance presented by women in the judicial service examination is in stark contrast of the minimal representation of women in higher levels of judiciary.
Earlier, Live Law had reported that the Kerala High Court , in a first, got four sitting women judges. The first High Court in India to appoint a woman as a judge is Kerala High Court.
Justice Anna Chandy was appointed as a judge of Kerala High Court in 1959, making her the first woman to be appointed as a High Court Judge in India.
Justice M. Fathima Beevi, the first women appointed as a Judge in the Supreme Court of India, was also from Kerala. Kerala has the highest sex ratio in the country, with 1084 women for 1000 men, as per 2011 census. Kerala also has the highest literacy rate in the country, and the percentage of women receiving higher education in Kerala is higher than the national average.