Not including women in staff is wrong approach, say SC lawyers

Following sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice of India, judges of the Supreme Court are suggesting that only male staff be employed at the residential offices of judges.

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Following the shocking sexual harassment allegations against the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, several judges of the Supreme Court (SC) have come up with a somewhat ridiculous solution— refrain from hiring women at the residential offices of the SC judges. However, the lawyers of SC rightly feel that this is the wrong approach and a far from appropriate solution.

Since 60 per cent of the SC staff comprises women, this is a solution that is totally impractical and unjustified. By not hiring women as junior court assistants, the judges will only be cutting down the opportunities for women. Also, any serious allegations of this nature need to be formally investigated.

Lawyers are of the opinion that sexual harassment at the workplace is not uncommon and can happen in any office, in any sector. Instead of making the work environment safe for women and ensuring justice to those victims who have shown the courage to speak up, if women are totally excluded from the workforce, the future will definitely be very bleak for them. Not only will they stop being hired for jobs, they will also stop raising their voice against any form of harassment or victimisation for fear of losing their jobs.

The lawyers opined that judges who are found to be guilty of such crimes should be tried and duly punished after thorough investigation. Only then will the citizens of the country have faith in its judicial system.

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