'Sabarimala verdict upholds constitutional morality'

Supreme Court lawyer and former additional solicitor general of India, Indira Jaising delivers a lecture during 'B V Kakkillaya inspired orations 2018' at Ravindra Kala Bhavan in University College, Mangaluru on Monday

The Supreme Court of India has clearly said that the judgement on Sabarimala case, is purely based on constitutional morality, said Supreme Court lawyer and former additional solicitor general of India, Indira Jaising.

She was delivering a lecture as a part of the 'B V Kakkillaya inspired orations 2018' organised by Hosatu, Bengaluru, M S Krishnan Memorial Trust, Bengaluru and Samadarshi Vedike, Mangaluru at Ravindra Kala Bhavan in University College, Mangaluru on Monday.

Indira Jaising further said she was part of the court room which heard the Sabarimala case and pointed out that the issue of Sabarimala case was based on constitutional rights of women. The highest court has also considered the point that the discrimination against menstruating women, amounts to untouchability. The Supreme Court had also noted that the Devaswom Board, which had presented its argument portraying women as the seductive element harming the celibacy of the presiding deity, has been considered by the court as stereotypical, former additional solicitor general of India said.

Speaking on the taboo surrounding menstruation and on menstruating women in Indian society, she said that almost all religious texts have discrimination against menstruating women.

Stating that the Supreme Court has been batting for constitutional morality in legislature, executive and judiciary, she said that true gender justice is giving agency to women to exercise their liberty. "The true liberation is to enable women to earn a livelihood of their choice and to be economically empowered. In India, gender is a sociological construct and patriarchy and misogyny have become the elements in deciding the role of women in society."

Despite the Supreme Court's direction to the central government to prevent vigilantism on women, the atrocities on women, especially, domestic violence, are on rise, she noted. "According to the latest survey by the UN, most of the women deaths in 2017, were due to domestic violence. Right wing ideology which confines women to homes, has been encouraging domestic violence."

Indira Jaising further said "the present government has not shown any interest in spending the Nirbhaya fund instituted by the earlier government, dedicated to the cause of women and the large amount of the fund remains unspent."

Stating that the 'Beti bachao - beti padhao' programme has failed to prevent female feoticides in Haryana and Punjab, she said "according to the CAG report, the gender indicators have not improved."

However, in a positive development, the ministry of women and child welfare has set up an online portal to register the grievances of women and children.

The central government has been portraying that it has played a decisive role in getting the judgement on triple talaq. In fact, it was the women victims who fought for their rights. Even though the court has said that triple talaq is unconstitutional, the central government is preparing to pass a bill to consider triple talaq as a crime. "However, the bill is unlikely to be passed in the parliament."

Referring to the pub attack in Mangaluru, the Indira Jaising said that Karnataka has witnessed extreme violence against women. Condemning the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, she said the dissent to secularism is simply unacceptable. 

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