President commends State for its achievements in social and health sectors
KOCHI: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has called for the inclusion of gender justice in the school and college curricula.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day national conference of the All-India Federation of Women Lawyers here on Monday, Mr. Balakrishnan said this was one way to ensure the emancipation of women.
He emphasised the need to spread the message of gender justice through the mass media and public awareness campaigns. Family, he said, is the best place to inculcate respect towards women.
Mr. Balakrishnan said there was an inherent correlation between the empowerment of women and the peace and development of any society. This was because women played the role of nurturing the next generation and took the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of their family.
He said that despite the Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously on December 20, 1993, violence against women continued unabated in various forms.
“Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace,” Mr. Balakrishnan said. He said society was rife with gender bias and discrimination which was evident in public and private spheres.
Offering felicitations, S.R. Bannurmath, Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, lamented that the women’s reservation Bill still remained a dream.
He emphasised the need to put in place certain measures to clear the obstacles to the emancipation of women.
Later, Mr. Balakrishnan presented the Sthree Vakil Puraskar, instituted to honour outstanding women lawyers, to M. Fathima Beevi, first woman Judge of the Supreme Court, and Saraswati Devi, senior advocate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and former president of the Federation of International De Abogados (FIDA).
The inaugural session was followed by a seminar on “Cyber crimes relating to women and children.”
Pat for Kerala
Earlier, President Pratibha Patil commended Kerala for its achievements in the social and health sectors.
“It is significant that this event is being held in Kerala, a State which has to its credit women who have made remarkable achievements in the legal field,” she said. Ms. Patil reminded the audience that Anna Chandy, the first woman High Court Judge and Fathima Beevi, the first woman Supreme Court Judge in India were from this State.
Ms. Patil, however, said that she was surprised to know that in spite of these achievements the State had a high rate of alcoholism and dowry-related problems.
Mr. Balakrishnan also had a word of praise for his home State. Paying tributes to the achievements of Anna Chandy and Ms. Beevi just as Ms. Patil did, the Chief Justice said that Kerala was far ahead of other States in the country with regard to the welfare of women. He said that though gender bias and discrimination was there, it was not as worse as it was in the rest of the country.
Towards the end of the inaugural session came a call for Kerala-Tamil Nadu unity evoking laughter among the delegates. While proposing the vote of thanks, K. Santhakumari, advocate at the Madras High Court and secretary of AIFWL, observed that greater things were possible if both the States remained united on major issues. She said the two States had the largest number of delegates at the conference.