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200 Women Lawyers Slam BCI Chief For His Misogynistic Statements In Gogoi Sexual Harassment Case

  • IWB Post
  •  May 18, 2019

Following the clean chit given by the SC to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on May 6 against the sexual harassment case filed by his 35-year-old former junior court assistant, widespread protests were witnessed. More than 50 lawyers, students, and women’s rights activists were detained for staging the ‘no substance’ findings protest.

In the wake of system failure, an open letter has been endorsed by more than 200 women lawyers, addressed to Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman, senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, accusing him of misogyny for his statements involving the sexual harassment complaint levelled against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

Written by women of India for Collaboration and Empowerment in Law (Woice in Law), the letter termed Mr. Mishra’s comments as “misogynistic, irresponsible, generalised, regressive, legally and statistically uninformed”.

“We have lately watched with deep concern, as you have made several reprehensible public statements which demonstrate a serious lack of principled leadership of the Bar, and a glaring lack of commitment to basic constitutional values of equality and non-discrimination,” the letter said, asking Mr. Mishra to publicly apologise for his statements.

In particular, the letter criticizes Mr. Mishra’s call for support of a “Men Too” protest in a recent appeal to the legal community. Signed off by Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, a brief statement circulated online calling out on lawyers to support a silent protest at India gate on May 13, that stated, The Common Lawyers who have trust in the Institution should support the men too movement and should assemble at India Gate today at 4 pm to show their solidarity with the C.J.I. Mr. Ranjan Gogoi.”

The statement was issued after an in-house panel led by Supreme Court judge, Justice S.A. Bobde, concluded that the complainant’s allegations against Chief Justice Gogoi had “no substance”.

Mr. Mishra also called for amending laws concerning sexual offences that included recommending changes to the rape law under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the offence of outraging the modesty of women under Section 354, IPC.

The BCI statement had also urged that the statements made by the prosecutrix (female victim of a crime) in sexual offence should be viewed with more caution to avoid malicious cases. “The oral testimony of the prosecutrix is enough to convict under Section 354 and 376 IPC”, Why? We are not in the 18th century, that no one can presume that a female will never make such allegations to falsely implicate her enemies. We have great respect for our women. But time has changed, we must keep in mind,” the statement said. In addition, he also said that 90% of sexual offence complaints were malicious.

H/T: The Hindu, Bar and Bench 

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