Gangrape documentary: SC asks advocate to respond

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today granted two weeks time to one of the two advocates, accused of making derogatory remarks against women in a BBC documentary on the December 16 gangrape case, to file
gangrape documentary sc asks advocate to respond...
PTI April 20, 2015 17:15 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today granted two weeks time to one of the two advocates, accused of making derogatory remarks against women in a BBC documentary on the December 16 gangrape case, to file response to a plea of women lawyers' body which has sought action against them.

A bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and C Nagappan asked advocate M L Sharma, who also represents two convicts in the case, to file his reply when he claimed innocence and sought an oral hearing.

Citing a ‘shloka' in Sanskrit, Sharma told the bench that he respects women and was willing to “mediate” or “settle” with the representatives of the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA).

He also denied giving controversial statements to the documentary makers. “You file your reply,” the bench said.

During the proceedings, when Sharma was not present, the counsel for the lawyers' body and others said that he and another advocate A P Singh have been evading court notices.

Sharma later appeared and accepted notice and the court then asked the women lawyers' body to serve the other advocate with its notice in next two weeks.

Earlier, the court had issued notices to the both lawyers saying “the matter requires consideration in view of the factual and legal submissions”.

SCWLA, in its plea, had sought restriction on the entry of the advocates in the apex court premises, alleging that their remarks in the controversial BBC documentary were “inhumane, scandalous, unjustifiable, biased, outrageous, ill-minded” and are a “direct affront to and in violation of the dignity of women”, especially those practicing in the Supreme court.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has supported the plea of women lawyers association.

Earlier, the counsel for SCWLA had said that the Supreme Court has to lead from the front and show zero tolerance for such views.

Senior advocate and SCBA President Dushyant Dave had said that there should be a meaningful and proper implementation of gender sensitisation regulation.

The petition had sought protection of fundamental rights, guaranteed under the Constitution, of the female advocates practicing in the apex court to work with dignity and without any gender bias.

The comments were made in the BBC documentary ‘India's Daughter' on the December 16, 2013 gangrape incident.

The petition, filed through advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani, has made Chairperson of Gender Sensitisation Committee and Registrar of the apex court as parties and submitted a transcript of the two lawyers' comments.

It also sought court's direction to Sharma and Singh to issue public apology in media for holding and making public views which are “absolutely derogatory to the dignity of women” and refraining from issuing such statements in future.

The two advocates be also directed to retract their statements and their apology should also be included in the BBC documentary, the petition had said.

The association represented by secretary Prerna Kumari had said in the petition that the remarks made by the two advocates showed they do not have respect for any woman and do not see them as more than an object.

It had added that the conduct of these lawyers showed complete absence of any concern for society and utter disregard of the Constitutional values and human rights of women besides the ethics and etiquette of the Bar.
It is much more than a crime, the petition said.

 

 
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