Justice has always been personified as a woman weighing the scales in most ancient civilisations. And though she has often been depicted wearing a blindfold, implying impartiality, some statues have done away with that depiction too, trusting her with an immense sense of fairplay. So though allegorical, when we see such faith in the real world, we do sit up and take notice. On September 5, an all-women bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee will hold court. Though the apex court saw an all-women bench for the first time in 2013 when Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Ranjana Prakash Desai sat together for hearing a case, it happens at a time when the Supreme Court has three sitting women judges in its history. May be such milestones do not matter in these days of women empowerment but they do make a mark in establishing gender neutrality in national discourse and prizing the mind over everything else in the quest for opportunities. This pleasant wind of change also wafted across the border as
Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar earned the honour of being the first woman chief justice of the Balochistan High Court in the judicial history of Pakistan.
These developments become newsworthy in the context of a profession, which, until 1922, didn’t have women in its ranks. There are issues of pay parity and the male dominance of senior positions too. Which is why this justice, though delayed, is welcome.