NEW DELHI: Though the Lok Sabha has passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which provides for stringent punishment for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12, there’s a catch.
According to the Bill, which prescribes the death penalty as the maximum punishment, the trial of these cases should be presided over by a woman judge, and should be recorded by a woman police officer. And, there’s an abysmally low of number of women in the judiciary.
The Bill fixes a two-month deadline for the completion of trial in rape cases, and a six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases. But women constitute barely 27.6 per cent of the current strength of 15,806 judges in the lower judiciary across the country.
Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, J&K, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have lower representation of women in the subordinate judiciary than the national average.
In Bihar, women’s participation in lower judiciary remains lowest despite the government allocating 35 per cent quota. The strength of women judges is below 11.52 per cent. Reservation for women in lower courts is present in at least 11 states, ranging from 5 per cent in Jharkhand to 35 per cent in Bihar.