President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday expressed concern over the “unacceptably low” representation of women, OBCs, SC/STs in the higher judiciary and called for steps to remedy the situation.

“There is unacceptably low representation of traditionally weaker sections such as OBCs, SCs and STs especially in the higher judiciary,” President Kovind said, adding that one in four judges is a woman.

Asking the judiciary to walk in pace with other public institutions in being truly representatives of society’s diversity, the President said: “Like our other public institutions, our judiciary too has to be judicious in being representative of the diversity of our country, and the depth and breadth of our society.

“Of the 17,000 judges in our subordinate courts, High Courts and the Supreme Court, only about 4,700 – roughly one in four – are women,” he said.

Telling the higher judiciary that it was its “sacred duty” to “groom” district and sessions judges and raise their skill so that more and more of them can be elevated to High Courts, President Kovind said “We need to take long-term measures to remedy this situation.”

“This will also enhance trust in our lower courts and their judgments and serve to declog our High Courts,” the President said.

However, in a caveat, he made it clear that the long-term solutions would be “without in any manner compromising on quality” of the judges and the judicial system.

The President was speaking at the inaugural function of the two-day meet organised jointly by the Law Commission of India and NITI Aayog on the National Law Day.