“Old Boys Club”: CJ DY Chandrachud Highlights The Underrepresentation Of Women In Bar Associations

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The Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud while speaking at the three day centenary celebration of the High Court Bar Association at Nagpur, has raised concerns regarding the insufficient female representation in Bar Councils and Bar Associations throughout India. CJI Chandrachud noted that the absence of a supportive environment for the election of women within these legal bodies perpetuates a longstanding culture of exclusivity. Moreover, despite a notable increase in the number of female practitioners in law, this surge is not mirrored in the membership of the elected Bar Councils and Bar Associations.

Justice DY Chandrachud asked “Even as the number of women lawyers is increasing at an unprecedented pace, this trend is not reflected in the composition of our elected Bar Associations, or even our Bar Councils. When there are no formal barriers to contesting elections, and the number of women lawyers is increasing, the question that arises is – ‘why are more women not contesting and winning elections to Bar Associations or Bar Councils?’”

In his address, Chief Justice of India Chandrachud emphasized the importance of gender representation within the judiciary, extending to the legal bar associations.

CJI Chandrachud noted the absence of any female office-bearers in the Bar Council of India. Similarly, he highlighted the limited representation of women, with just one female member in the Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Significantly, he referenced a 2021 Bar and Bench report revealing that a mere 2.04 percent of elected representatives across State Bar Councils in 21 states and union territories are women.

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