“As lawyers we must ensure to stand up against discrimination and injustice,” stated Chief Justice Dr D.Y. Chandrachud on Saturday.
Addressing the 31st annual convocation of the prestigious National Law School of India (NSILU) University in Bengaluru, the CJI explained that he was told that a young law student who went to intern at a law office was asked what his caste was and when he told, he was asked not to come back.
“This filled me with despair. As lawyers, we must ensure to stand up against discrimination and injustice. We have to ensure constitutional values are adhered to and this shows that some lawyers are violating the law let alone upholding the constitutional values,” he underlined.
“The Supreme Court at present is engaged in seminal constitutional issues. We have released a handbook on gender stereotypes. On why we should not call a woman a housewife, or call a woman who is raped or “ravished” we have said
how these words cannot be used in Modern India. The graduating class are the ones who will drive the change and technology in your hands is what fish is to water. For us it is a learning process,” CJI Chandrachud stated.
India’s first female advocate Cornelia Sorabjee was not allowed to make submissions in court unless accompanied by a male lawyer. These stories are not the ones we can leave behind in our history books. Much needs to be done, he pointed out.
CJI Chandrachud explained that, “Last year out of five, 4 law clerks were women. It is common for them to call me up and say that, sir, I have menstrual cramps. I tell them please work from home and take care of your health. We also informed you of sanitary napkin dispensers in the female washrooms in the Supreme Court.”
“If being a good person and good lawyer comes at a juncture I urge you to be a good person, ” he underlined. The profession of advocacy is slowly becoming an opening point for the entry of more and more women lawyers,” he
The CJI stressed, “Do not ever kick the ladder that took you up in this journey of life.”