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

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.