Madras High court gets its first woman mace bearer

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The Madras high court has claimed to be an civil rights employer in every sense by having appointed women all told positions, beginning from the bottom cadre of Chobdar (mace-bearer) to the very best cadre of Registrar General. The judiciary even includes a woman driver, deft in handling all types of motorcars.

Though a pair of girls, within the cadre of district judge, had held the post of Registrar General since 2007, before they both got elevated as judges, this can be the primary time within the history of the court that ladies had been recruited for the position of Chobdar, whose primary job was to hold maces before the judges.

Justice R.N. Manjula, a member of the Gender Sensitization and Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within the principal seat of the tribunal in Chennai, has clad to be the primary judge of the state high court to utilise the services of a girl chobdar who carries a novel mace which is solid and far heavier than old hollow maces.

While male Chobdars were expected to wear a white shirt and pant with a turban-like red cap that displays the national emblem and a band around their waist, the uniform of the lady chobdar consists of a white salwar kameez with a duppatta through the cap. The waist band remains the identical.

The mace carries a significance within the history of the high court since its presence outside a judge’s chamber indicates his/presence inside the chambers and its absence indicates otherwise. The mace-bearers ensure free passage to the judges once they walk to and fro from their chambers to the court halls.

It was on March 14 last year that the judiciary had issued a notification for recruiting 40 Chobdars, 310 Office Assistants and also for stray vacancies within the post of cook, waterman, room boy, watchman, book restorer and library attendant. They were offered Pay Level- I, which was within the band of ₹15,700 to ₹50,000.

The minimum educational qualification prescribed for the posts was a pass at school VIII and therefore the candidates aged 18-30 (relaxed to 35 years within the case of reserved categories including destitute widows) were selected through conduct of a written examination, followed by a practical and an oral test.

Written examination was conducted to check candidates’ knowledge in current affairs, basic arithmetic abilities, knowledge in housekeeping, Tamil language skills and so on. Several graduates applied for the posts and ladies outnumbered the among the chosen candidates, in keeping with court sources.