ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Absence of Diversity in the Higher Judiciary

Systemic discrimination is not just a feature of institutions of higher learning but seems to be pervading the higher judiciary as well. 

Waffa Jallu, Kanishk Devesh, Shreya Prakash and Nikita Garg, all of whom were interning at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, helped in the research on this column.The author would like to thank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy Fellow, Sakshi, for her valuable comments on a draft.

The tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD student of Hyderabad Central University, has brought to the fore the insidious discrimination against Dalits that persists within institutions of higher learning in India. From being labelled as quota candidates to being at the receiving end of poor grading and tutoring, not to mention a hostile administration that makes life difficult for Dalit students, the discrimination seems all-pervasive.

Such systemic discrimination is not just a feature of institutions of higher learning and seems to be pervading the higher judiciary as well. According to one report, two judges of the Madras High Court have publicly observed that only 18 of the 600 judges of the high courts at present are Dalits, about 3% of the total. This has prompted some to call for reservations in the higher judiciary to redress this imbalance and lack of diversity in the composition of high court judges (Imranullah 2016).

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