On International Women’s Day, an all women full bench for first time in Kerala HC history

Kochi, Mar 8 (PTI) On International Women’s Day, an all women full bench of the Kerala High Court – a first of its kind in the entire history of the court – would be hearing several pleas on the issue of whether the Guruvayur Devaswom Managing Committee can donate temple money to the disaster relief fund of the Chief Minister [cm] or any government body.

A full bench of Justices Anu Sivaraman, Shircy V. and M.R. Anitha would be hearing on Tuesday afternoon several petitions moved by the state government seeking review of the court’s December 18, 2020 decision which held that the committee cannot make contributions from the Devaswom money to the relief funds of the CM or any government agency.

Earlier, the bench consisted of Justices A. Hariprasad, Anu Sivarama and M.R. Anitha. After the retirement of Justice Hariprasad, Justice Shircy replaced him.

Advocate Sajith Kumar V., who appears for one of the respondents in the review petitions, told PTI that it was for the first time that there has been an all women full bench in the Kerala High Court.

Kumar further said that more and more women were graduating with law degrees and even the subordinate judiciary was seeing an increase in women judges, all of which were a welcome sight.

“As a result, in future we can expect to see more women judges in the higher judiciary as well as all-women full benches”, he added.

Advocate A.K. Preetha, speaking to PTI, said that in the legal profession all competent lawyers are equal irrespective of their gender.

Similarly, all judges in the Kerala High Court are competent and experts in their respective fields and therefore, whether it is an all women full bench or not has no relevance where the matters being heard are concerned, she said.

However, she also said that it may have been a “conscious decision” on the part of the high court to constitute an all women full bench “to give a signal to the society that here are three women who are proficient in their profession”.

“These judges have risen to where they are now through their mettle,” advocate Preetha said.

Probably women judges would be better suited to deal with gender sensitive matters as they can identify with such issues, she added.