Chennai: The Centre has been requesting that due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women while making appointments to the High Courts, Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.
In his reply to the matter of urgent public importance raised by DMK member P Wilson in the Rajya Sabha, demanding social justice and diversity in the appointment of Supreme Court judges, Prasad said judges to the Supreme Court were appointed predominantly from amongst the Chief Justices and judges of the High Courts.
Also, the Minister clarified that the appointments were made under Article 124 of Constitution that did not provide for any reservation.
Wilson, in his special mention, said ‘certain disturbing trends are noticed in the composition of the Supreme Court. For the past few years, there is declining representation from all the sections of the society.’
Requesting Parliament to step in to ensure social justice and diversity in the Supreme Court, he said many groups were poorly represented. There were not many women and persons from historically oppressed and marginalized sections of society and it was not because they were not qualified enough, he said.
Earlier, Wilson had written a letter to the President that stressed the necessity for diversity in the Union Judiciary. ‘The court is not indicative of the wonderful diversity and pluralistic society India is,’ he said.
Stating that the lack of diversity had caused a lot of fear and agony in the minds of the people, Wilson explained how diversity improved quality of judgment. ‘A judge who was born into privilege and raised wealthy in the upper echelons of society might not appreciate the law pertaining to reservation as much as a judge who was born into abject poverty,’ he said.
To deny diversity at the Bench, merit was used as a proxy to justify the retention of a particular class or community of persons as judge, Wilson said, adding: ‘For the public to perceive our court system as impartial and accessible, the judiciary must reflect the diverse populations affected by its decisions.’
Hence he requested the President, as an appointing authority, to make it mandatory for diversity in appointments to the Supreme Court, which he described as a ‘sentinel on the qui vive.’...