Gender Diversity Portal

Gender Diversity Portal

What is the purpose of this page?
In a study that we published in 2019 we had pointed out how women constituted only 26% of the district judiciary across India. In an effort to better understand this number we conducted a follow up study to understand the changing composition of women in the judiciary. The study has been submitted as a paper for publication to the Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) and is currently pending review. In particular we studied the pattern of recruitment of women into the lower judiciary over a decade at the level of Civil Judge (Junior Division) in 15 states and District Judge in 11 states. We discovered that the percentage of women being recruited for the posts of Civil Judge (Junior Division) has been increasing at an impressive pace. However, the pace of recruitment of women for the higher ranked posts of District Judge has not been as impressive. We provide an analysis of these figures in our forthcoming paper in the EPW and discuss the possible reasons for women doing so much at the entry level of Civil Judge (Junior Division) when compared to the higher ranked post of District Judge .
On this page, we illustrate the data that formed the basis of our paper in the EPW.

What is the structure of the district judiciary in India?
The district judiciary in India comprises of three tiers of judges, ordered hierarchically as follows:
1. District/Sessions Judges;
2. Civil Judges (Senior Division), who may also sit as Chief and Additional Metropolitan and Judicial Magistrates;
3. Civil Judges (Junior Division), who may also sit as Judicial Magistrates of the First Class and Metropolitan Magistrates.

What is the recruitment process for these posts?
Appointment to the district judiciary is governed by State Judicial Service Rules which are framed by the Governor under Article 309 read with Articles 233 & 234, of the Constitution of India. For recruitment at the post of Civil Judge (Junior Division), the rules usually provide for an entry level competitive examination, open to candidates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law, which consists of three rounds: preliminary and mains examinations followed by an interview. There is no longer a requirement for these candidates to have practised before a court of law, for a few years, prior to writing the examinations. As a result, fresh graduates can write the examination straight out of law school. Civil Judges (Senior Division) are appointed by promotion from the post of Civil Judge (Junior Division). For the post of District Judges, most are either promoted internally through merit-cum-seniority basis or through a limited competitive examination (usually at 75%), while others are recruited directly from amongst advocates with a minimum of seven years of continuous practice, provided they clear a competitive examination.

What is the source of the data?
The data has been collected primarily through applications under the Right to Information Act, 2005 filed with State Law Departments and High Courts seeking selection lists for the posts. It has further been supplemented with selection lists for recruitment cycles for Civil Judge (Junior Division) completed as on January 2019 and which are available online.
Selection lists generally specify the gender of the candidates. Where there was uncertainty, names were verified against the list of judges available on the e-courts website.
The remaining states did not provide us with the information that we requested and hence were not included in this visualisation.

  • Note:
  • * The following states provide for reservation for women in direct recruitment for judicial services at the level of Civil Judge (Junior Division) and District Judge: Chhattisgarh has 30% reservation since 2006; Karnataka has 33% reservation since 2008, and Rajasthan has 30% since 2001. Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh also have reservations for women, but we could not determine the reservation percentage for these states.

Data visualisation by