Tilting the Scale: Gender Imbalance in the Lower Judiciary

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Discourse on judicial reforms in India has tended to focus on the issues of judge vacancies and case delays, to the exclusion of other institutional issues which plague Indian courts. One such problem that has received scant attention is the lack of judicial diversity.

To spark conversation on this important issue, this Vidhi Briefing focuses on one parameter of judicial diversity, namely gender. It presents, for the first time, state and district-wise data on the gender composition of the lower judiciary. These findings raise several implications, which will be examined in-depth in future reports.

Through these reports, we hope to bring much-needed attention to issues concerning the lower judiciary which, despite being the first or only point of contact for most litigants, is relatively neglected in academic and policy discourse compared to the higher judiciary. We also hope to encourage conversation on additional data and research needed to understand possible causes for low gender representation and ways to rectify this. A lack of equal representation, particularly when as severe as it appears to be in India, raises serious concerns that merit deep and sustained investigation. 

For a spreadsheet containing the district-wise gender composition of the lower judiciary in India, click here.

Download the full report on Tilting the Scale: Gender Imbalance in the Lower Judiciary