38.6c New Delhi, India, Saturday, April 20, 2024
Legal Insiders

Supreme Court releases handbook to combat gender stereotypes in judgments and pleadings [Read Handbook]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      17 August, 2023 06:42 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court releases handbook to combat gender stereotypes in judgments and pleadings

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday released a Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes to assist judges and the legal community, stressing “judicial reasoning must be based on the individual merits of every case and not on stereotypes."

It also contained a glossary advising against use of words like dutiful wife, concubine, prostitute, hooker, whore, ladylike, keep, mistress, slut etc, in order to help the Indian judiciary identify and mitigate the use of stereotypes and stereotype-enforcing language against women in their decision.

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud made the announcement about the release of handbook. He said this would help in understanding and combating stereotypes about women as it contained a glossary of gender-unjust terms and suggested alternative words or phrases which may be used while drafting pleadings as well as orders and judgements.

"The handbook identifies common stereotypes about women, many of which have been utilised by courts in the past and demonstrates why they are inaccurate and how they may distort the application of the law," he said.

The intention is not to criticise or cast doubt on past judgements but merely to show how stereotypes may unwittingly be employed. Finally, it encapsulates the current doctrine on key legal issues which may be relevant while adjudicating certain cases, particularly those concerning sexual violence, he added.

The handbook identified words which are harmful gender stereotypes particularly about women in judicial decision making and writing. It aimed to sensitise judges against inadvertently furthering gender biases by using these words in legal proceedings. The handbook stressed that the use of stereotypes by judges also has the effect of entrenching and perpetuating stereotypes, creating a vicious cycle of injustice.

The 30-page 'Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes' stated, it is vital that judges not only avoid relying on stereotypes in their decision making and writing, but also actively challenge and dispel harmful stereotypes.

It emphasised that if harmful stereotypes are relied on by judges, it can lead to a distortion of the objective and impartial application of the law and this will perpetuate discrimination and exclusion.    

“We may rely on stereotypes inadvertently, because stereotypes are often internalised and ingrained in our thinking due to societal, cultural, and environmental conditioning. This can make it difficult to identify and avoid relying on stereotypes. However, challenging and overcoming stereotypes is essential to ensuring an equal, inclusive, and compassionate society,” it said.

The handbook enumerated several stereotypical words and their alternatives, for example instead of concubine/ keep, the alternate language preferred is woman with whom a man has had romantic or sexual relations outside of marriage; instead of mistress, it is preferred to say woman with whom a man has had romantic or sexual relations outside of marriage; instead of faggot, the judges should accurately describe the individual’s sexual orientation (e.g., homosexual or bisexual); avoid words like fallen woman, hooker, harlot etc.

The handbook states that harmful gender stereotypes have to be done away with in court judgments and emphasizes that challenging and overcoming stereotypes is essential to ensuring an equal, inclusive, and compassionate society.

"Even when judges reach legally correct outcomes, the use of reasoning or language that promotes gender stereotypes undermines the unique characteristics, autonomy, and dignity of the individuals before the court. Using stereotypes, instead of objectively evaluating the situation, goes against the constitutional principle of ‘equal protection of laws’, which posits that the law should apply uniformly and impartially to every individual, irrespective of their membership to a group or category,” it said.

It red-flagged words such as "dutiful wife", "obedient wife", "slut", "spinster", and "ravished". If a judge relies on preconceived assumptions about people or groups when deciding cases or writing judgements, the harm caused can be enormous, it added.

The handbook also listed few assumptions about the traits of women and explains why such notions are incorrect: Women are overly emotional, illogical, and cannot take decisions (stereotype) and a person’s gender does not determine or influence their capacity for rational thought (reality); Unmarried women are incapable of taking important decisions about their life (stereotype) and marriage has no bearing on an individual’s ability to take decisions (reality).

In his foreword, the CJI said, "I sincerely hope that this Handbook is widely read by all members of the legal profession in India to ensure that legal reasoning and writing is free of harmful notions about women. The Handbook will give a fresh impetus to our quest towards a gender-just legal order, and will be a crucial document to ensure that courts can deliver equal and impartial justice to individuals of all genders."

 

[Read Handbook]



Share this article:

About:

Explore Comprehensive Legal Reporting with LawStreet Journal: Your Go-To Source for Supreme Court an...Read more

Follow:
TwitterLinkedinInstagram


Leave a feedback about this
Related Posts
View All

Ayodhya verdict: SC rules in favour of Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board gets alternate land Ayodhya verdict: SC rules in favour of Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board gets alternate land

SC bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi has allotted the dispute site to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, while directing the government to allot an alternate 5 acre land within Ayodhya to Sunni Waqf Board to build a mosque.

Himachal Pradesh High Court Grant Bail to a Man Accused of Committing Unnatural Acts with Cow, Said that there is no Criminal History Depicting Pervert Mind [READ ORDER] Himachal Pradesh High Court Grant Bail to a Man Accused of Committing Unnatural Acts with Cow, Said that there is no Criminal History Depicting Pervert Mind [READ ORDER]

without commenting on the merits of the case at this stage of investigation and the period of detention he faced in jail, the Court after analyzing all things allowed bail to the accused person ( Jai Ram). Himachal Pradesh High Court, Grant Bail, Justice Anup Chitrakara

How the Waqf Board has the third largest ownership of land after the Indian Railways and the Defense Dept.? How the Waqf Board has the third largest ownership of land after the Indian Railways and the Defense Dept.?

SHO Bhardwaj was quick to defend the Maulvi in questioning regarding the Mazar but harassed the reported who sought truth. Why did the SHO have to harass a Media reporter when he was doing his job? Who benefits from this? Why is there a Mazar on a flyover? Why is a Minority Welfare development Board in control of so much property? || #Mazar #SHOBhardwaj #Mazar #Mosque #WaqfBoard #Islam #News #Waqf #RemoveSHOBharadwaj

Does the Waqf board hold any relevance in the secular India of today? Does the Waqf board hold any relevance in the secular India of today?

Towards the end of the clip, Advocate Jain can be seen questioning the leaders of our land, the Central Government, and the parliament to look into the above and review such biased provisions for the greater good of all.  In the end, we are made to question if India is a secular country in the true sense of the term, after all! Wakf board land scam, Central Waqf Board, secular India article

TRENDING NEWS

kejriwal-eating-mangoes-sweets-and-having-tea-with-sugar-ed-tells-court
Trending Judiciary
Kejriwal eating mangoes, sweets and having tea with sugar, ED tells court

Enforcement Directorate alleges Delhi CM Kejriwal consumed mangoes, sweets, and tea with sugar in jail, raising doubts on his diabetes claim for bail plea.

19 April, 2024 11:01 AM
sc-to-consider-forming-guidelines-on-trial-for-deaf-dumb-people
Trending Judiciary
SC to consider forming guidelines on trial for deaf-dumb people [Read Order]

Supreme Court to consider guidelines for trials of deaf-dumb individuals, addressing fairness in cases like rape. Notice issued to Union and Chhattisgarh govt.

19 April, 2024 11:50 AM

TOP STORIES

need-to-safeguard-judiciary-from-unwarranted-pressures-21-ex-judges-write-letter-to-cji
Trending Legal Insiders
Need to safeguard judiciary from unwarranted pressures: 21 ex-judges write letter to CJI

21 ex-judges write to CJI Chandrachud urging protection of judiciary from pressures undermining its integrity and autonomy.

15 April, 2024 12:17 PM
sc-notice-to-ed-declines-early-date-on-plea-by-delhi-cm-arvind-kejriwal-against-arrest
Trending Judiciary
SC notice to ED; declines early date on plea by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal against arrest

SC issues notice to ED, declines early hearing on Delhi CM Kejriwal's plea against arrest in liquor scam.

15 April, 2024 03:08 PM
call-for-chapters-gender-based-violence-and-religion
Trending Law School
Call For Chapters: Gender-Based Violence and Religion

Calling For Book Chapters: As an editor, Dr. Amit Anand, Assistant Professor, School of Legal Studies, REVA University, Bengaluru, is inviting people to contribute to a book, entitled "Gender-Based Violence and Religion." This book is scheduled to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

15 April, 2024 04:21 PM
cannot-stop-any-public-rally-bombay-hc-says-on-allegation-that-ram-navami-processions-deliberately-pass-through-muslim-majority-areas
Trending Top Stories
Cannot stop any public rally, Bombay HC on allegation that Ram Navami processions deliberately pass through Muslim-majority areas

The Bombay High Court calls upon the Maharashtra Police to ensure that no law and order issues occur during a Ram Navami rally in a Muslim-majority area in Mumbai.

15 April, 2024 06:36 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email