Outgoing judge of the Kerala High Court, Justice PV Asha, in her farewell speech underscored the need for more women representation in judiciary. Justice Asha noted that only 3 women have been appointed as judges of the Kerala High Court from the bar in its history of 64 years. She was the second woman judge to be appointed from the bar, after Justice KK Usha. There was a gap of 23 years between these appointments. Justice Anu Sivaraman,who was appointed eleven months after Justice Asha, is the third women judge from the bar.
Kerala High Court was established in 1956. It took 35 years for the first woman judge to be appointed from the bar, and another 23 years for the second woman judge. "Before concluding, it will be relevant to state that destiny made me the second woman in the state who got elevated from the bar, which happened after an interval of 23 years. Even though the third woman got elevated from the bar within a period of eleven months, the total number of women judges from the bar continues to be 3 only, even after about 64 years of establishment of this court. It is understood that recommendations are pending. Let me hope they will be able to join at the earliest and it will be followed by further fruitful recommendations without much time lag as erudite and young women, dedicated to the profession, are available in the bar in abundance", Justice Asha said in her farewell address.
In this connection, it may be pertinent to note that the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association have filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking directions to consider meritorious women lawyers for judgeships at High Courts. It was said in the application that the women representation in higher judiciary is "abysmally low", around 11 %.
While considering the application, the previous Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, had remarked that the time for the first woman CJI has come. Recently, Justice RF Nariman also made a similar comment by saying "I hope the time for the first woman Chief Justice won't be very far off".
Justice PV Asha was sworn in as HC judge on May 21, 2014. She attained nationwide acclaim with her judgment in the case Faheema Shirin v State of Kerala. which ruled that right to internet was a part of right to privacy and right to education. Holding so, Justice Asha invalidated restrictions imposed in a girls hostel on the use of mobile phones by students.