NEW DELHI: From dowry harassment and domestic abuse to sexual violence, rising crimes against women has been a cause of concern for society and government. But, very few women apparently take legal recourse for redress.
Merely 10 per cent cases pending in the subordinate courts across India have been filed by women, as per the National Judicial Data Grid.
Of the 90 per cent cases filed by men, 70 per cent are criminal cases. On the other hand, among the cases filed by women, criminal cases add up to less than 50 per cent.
The proportion of civil matters is higher among the cases filed by women — 50 per cent and above. This trend holds true even at states. In every state, the proportion of civil cases filed by women is higher than the overall proportion of civil cases in the subordinate courts.
In Delhi, however, the percentage of criminal cases filed by women litigants is higher than the percentage of civil cases. “The data depicts that the kind of equality we are aiming for women is only visible on papers and not in practical lives,” said advocate Rekha Agarwal.
However, there are some states where the percentage of women litigants is higher than the national average. Manipur tops the list with close to 20 per cent of the total litigants being women. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Punjab are other states where the percentage of women litigants is higher than national average.
But, in some states, less than 5 per cent of the pending cases have been filed by women. Even states like Delhi and Gujarat do not witness much litigation initiated by women. In every state, the proportion of criminal cases filed by women is lower than the overall proportion of criminal cases in subordinate courts.
“I think a major reason for this is criminal cases are filed in the name of the state and our society still believes when it comes to courts and banks, women shouldn’t take the lead,” said advocate Vani Sharma.