President of the Supreme Court Bar Association P H Parekh today said women advocates should ’revolt’ and demand at least 50 per cent reservation in all judicial officer posts in the country.
Despite the fact that India had a woman Prime Minister and today at least four woman Chief Ministers at the helm of affairs, the country is yet to see a woman occupying the office of Attorney General, Solicitor General or Advocate General, he said speaking at the inaugural of National Conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers, here.
Telling the large gathering of women lawyers that they would have to do something to achieve their rightful place, he wondered why women lawyers did not get what they deserved.
In his inaugural address, Supreme Court Judge Justice P Sathasivam said the judiciary was performing the role of a social reformer by upholding the rights of women and reminded the advocates of their obligation to society.
“In the context of gender justice and equality, the judiciary has attempted to venture into the critical role of a social reformer by upholding the rights of women especially the victims of subordination and suppression”, he said.
The judiciary had played its role ‘as a court of judicial restraint and as a progressive, dynamic, creative and proactive institution for social, economic and cultural transformation.’
He said the judiciary’s contribution to improve the status of women, their protection, access to fundamental rights and dignity could be discerned from a number of its interpretations of laws and the constitution.
Stating that the Indian judicial system has independently and effectively intervened on women’s emancipation, he said illiteracy, economic dependence, caste restrictions, religious prohibition, lack of leadership qualities and apathetic and callous attitude towards women are the root causes for the difficulties faced by them.
Speaking on the occasion, Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai referred to destruction of millions of female foetuses every year, rape, bride burning, sexual harassment at work places, physical and mental cruelty, domestic violence and denial of property rights.
Charging police, prosecutors and courts with failing to give relief to women, though the Constitution zealously protected them, she said women lawyers could make a difference in enforcement of laws, relating to women and children.
Madras High Court Chief Justice M Y Eqbal said Indian women are empowered ‘in the real sense’ compared to those in many countries who had to even fight for a right to vote.
He said he had recommended to the Tamil Nadu government to constitute at least one family court in each district.
Issues relating to the role of surrogacy still remained unsolved as there was no statute to regulate the procedure, he said and expressed the hope that a full fledged legislation would be enacted by Parliament to address the entire issue.