The Nepalese judiciary is dominated by men. It has to change – OnlineKhabar German News


In a diverse country like Nepal, which is home to a wide variety of castes, beliefs, customs, and opinions, the judiciary, as an integral part of the governance of such a diverse nation, should reflect diversity in itself. However, when we talk specifically about gender diversity, we find that the Nepalese judiciary is only dominated by a specific gender group.

In Nepalese society, the character of reasoning is generally associated with men, and the already male-dominated bank perceives lawyers as being too less argumentative, creating a professional barrier for lawyers that alienates women from the legal profession. Similar types of other gender stereotypes and other variables of gender discrimination can help maintain existing gender apartheid in the judiciary.

However, with so many women studying law determined to serve the country’s justice, this must change. Concerned government agencies need to put in place and implement effective measures to make this change happen.

Gender equality in the judiciary

Participation and diversity are directly related to judicial authority, impartiality and quality of the judgments. The judiciary is not trusted if it does not reflect the composition of society. According to UNDP data from 2019, the proportion of women in the government’s judiciary in Nepal is only 3.8 percent; this also includes bailiffs and bailiffs.

File: Sushila Karki, the first female chief judge in Nepal

According to the Justice Council Secretariat, there are 394 judges in Nepal at all levels of the judiciary, only 14 of them women, which is only 3.55 percent of the total. In its appointments, the Council often ignores the principle of inclusivity prescribed in the 2015 Constitution of Nepal, according to which vulnerable groups such as women, Madhesis, Tharus, Janjatis, Muslims and other marginalized groups must be included in the organs of the state, including the judiciary . But we have examples where these principles have been ignored and appointments in the judiciary have been inundated by men.

In 2016, for example, the council recommended the names of 80 people for various designations in courts, of whom only four were women and other marginalized groups made up only 18.5 percent of the total cast. However, the legal list had a significant number of applications from women, Madhesis, Tharus, Janjatis and other marginalized groups. The irony is that Sushila Karki was Nepal’s chief judge at the time, the first woman to hold high office. Statistics clearly show that, despite their availability, women are not given preference in the appointment of judges.

According to the 2011 census, Khas Arya men make up only 14.44 percent of Nepal’s population, but they make up more than 85 percent of the country’s judges. It is very worrying that a gender group that is already at the top of the so-called dominant class is dominating the judiciary in a country whose constitution very carefully provides for inclusion.

Need for reform

File image: Supreme Court of Nepal

A very relevant question arises as to why we need such gender representation in the judiciary. As part of a research project by the International Commission of Jurists, the researchers spoke to lawyers and defendants about their experiences. They said they had found female judges with better thinking skills on issues relating to women’s human rights.

The lack of involvement of women is also directly related to active reporting of sexual or gender-based crimes that survivors are uncomfortable with taking their case to court, which is already staffed with male judges. When judges come from different backgrounds, groups, and genders, they will surely deal with cases from their respective experiences. When a woman comes to court for a trial, it is obvious that a judge should sit on a bench to decide the matter as she becomes more aware of the hardships women go through in their daily lives.

There could be a very different perspective on the same court decision made by a male judge, as illustrated by the Feminist Judgment Project, in which hundreds of female law professors rewrite court decisions from a feminist perspective. Hence, it is necessary for women to sit on a bench as judges in order to bring resilience to the pervasive masculinity in the judiciary. Therefore, in all aspects of inclusion, and with particular attention to gender variables, we need to look for a more inclusive judiciary to ensure legitimacy in the eyes of the public, ensure the quality of judgments and ensure the fairness of all judicial processes for all and every citizen any sexual group. An inclusive judiciary ultimately paves the way for an empowered judiciary.

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