Diversity in the Judiciary: Is due consideration given while appointing judges and judicial officers?

In the ongoing parliament session, data provided shows that minorities and marginalised form a mere 2.63% and 4.5% of the total strength respectively


It was on March 17, 2023, during the ongoing Budget Session of the Parliament, that questions regarding representation of minorities and the marginalised classes within the judiciary was raised in the Lok Sabha. Lok Sabha Members Shri Naba Kumar Sarania (Independent) and Shri Ravikumar D raised two separate questions regarding representation in judiciary. In one query, questions on SC/ST Advocates who have been designated as Senior Advocates and Advocates on Record in the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India were raised. In the other query, representation of SCs, STs and minorities in the judiciary was raised.

High Court judges are appointed under Articles 217 and 224 of the Indian Constitution, which do not provide for the reservation of any caste or class of people. According to information provided by the Ministry of Law and Justice about the category/caste of High Court judges, the breakup of the representation of minorities and the marginalised is as follows:-

According to the data provided above, there are 569 judges present in the various high courts. Only a total of 41 out of the 569 judges are from minority communities or the SC and SC communities. Judges from the Scheduled Caste community are seventeen in number, accounting for only 2.98 percent of the total appointed judges, while 9 judges from the Scheduled Tribe are present, formulating only 1.5 percent of the total judges present as of March 15, 2023. In case of judges belonging to the minority community, a total of 15 judges are present in the High Court, which accounts for 2.63 percent of the total strength.

The full answer can be read here:

In a separate answer, it was further provided by the minister of law and justice that as on March 16, 2023, High Court Collegiums have recommended 124 names for appointment as High Court Judges which are under consideration with the Government and the Supreme Court Collegium. Out of these, 4 recommendees belong to SC category and 3 recommendees belong to ST category.

The Lok Sabha member has further inquired about the number of senior advocates practicing in the court and those who belonged to the SC/ ST community. Responding to the question, the minister provided that as per the information available in the court websites, as on December 11, 2012, there were 436 designated Senior Advocates and 3041 Advocates-on-Record in the Supreme Court of India. The High Courts have approximately 1,306 designated Senior Advocates. However, the minister also provided that no specific detail is maintained by them with regards to the social status as SC/ST of the designated Senior Advocates. 

The full answer can be read here:

From the above-mentioned data provided, it can be easily deduced that there is no adequate representation of SC/ST communities or minority communities in the higher judiciary. A deeper analysis of lack of inclusivity in the higher judiciary and the religion, caste, gender-based biases can be read here.



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