Skip to main content

Extend India's reservation policy to judiciary to "help" marginalized communities get justice: Indore lawyers' meet

By Our Representative
Taking a cue from President Ram Nath Kovind's recent "concern" over what he called “unacceptably low” representation of women, scheduled castes and tribes (SCs and STs), and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the higher judiciary, even as insisting on need for long-term measures to remedy the situation, a legal rights organization at a recent consultation wanted that the judiciary, the third pillar of democracy, should "follow the principle of reservation".
The issue was raised at the recent national convention of lawyers, organised by the Lawyers Initiative Forum (LIF) at Indore, attended by 322 lawyers from 11 states of India, 92% of whom were from socially excluded communities, a note prepared by the LIF said.
The note said, according to National Commission of Scheduled Caste (NCSC), in 2011, there were only 24 judges belonging to Dalit and tribal communities against the total of 850 judges in 21 High Courts. Fourteen out of 21 High Courts do not have a single SC or ST judge, adding, there was not a single judge belonging to Dalit or tribal community in the Supreme Court.
"It is arguable that when executive and legislature are brought under the ambit of constitutional reservation, it is but natural that Judiciary, the third pillar of democracy, which is mandated to safeguard the constitution, should also follow the principle of reservation. Otherwise, it creates a dubious distinction among the three pillars of democracy", the note insisted.
"The judiciary", the note said, "Is one of the important pillars of Indian democracy. However, it continues to be negatively influenced by the caste system and is impeding on the individual rights to justice and freedom. One of the most important indicators of this barrier is the fact that the majority of under-trials come from excluded communities including SCs, STs and minorities."
"The court is not immune to the caste and gender prejudices that exist in Indian society and mirrors this by ensuring that power, privilege and knowledge is restricted to a few", the note said, recalling, what KR Narayanan, tenth President of India, wrote -- that in the appointment of Supreme Court judges, "constitutional principles and the nation’s social objectives" should be followed.
"Persons belonging to weaker sections of society' who comprise 25% of the population, and women should be given due consideration”, Narayanan had said. The consultation took place on November 26 in collaboration with Jan Sahas, a civil rights organization.
"It is imperative to promote representation of socially excluded communities at all level of the judicial system including promoting lawyers", the note, reflecting the view taken at the conference, said, adding,there is a "dire meed to have a platform for the lawyers belonging to the marginalized sections of society to strengthen their capacities to cater to the emerging needs of the lawyering community."
Vowing to "federate lawyers across the country to promote social equity and justice", the consultation said the practicing lawyers from socially excluded communities in lower courts, should be trained to provide "easy access to legal aid to victims and undertrials" belonging to marginalized communities, even as help "enhance their capacities for establishing their career..."
This is particularly important, said the note, because "the representation of senior lawyers belonging to SC and ST backgrounds is extremely low", one reason why the apprenticing junior lawyers from these communities find it difficult to get a "sensitive and supportive environment to learn and grow skills."

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.