On Thursday, Justice Gautam Patel of Bombay HC stated that he supported the #MeToo Movement that has taken social media in India by storm over the last week with women, largely from media, film and entertainment industry, making disclosures about the sexual harassment and named their tormentors on social media.
Justice Patel was speaking on subject of ‘Cracking the glass ceiling’ at an event organised by Indian Merchants Chamber Ladies Wing on Thursday evening.
Justice Patel added that,“I fully support women who are coming out and have the courage to speak because it takes lot of courage to speak at any time.”
He stated that no woman in the #MeToo movement is demanding that her offender be hanged, “She is saying please test my accusations but do it in a way that works”.
“Why women have not come forward is a very serious problem and the reason is that because our world is so patriarchal and so biased that it does not allow our women to speak freely at times when they should or they could” Justice Patel said.
He stated that,”We now need to have a discussion on how we are going to get rid of this completely damaged, mocked system that we have of judging this cause and come up with complete gender neutrality…taking #MeToo accusation and testing it while preserving the dignity, self-respect of the woman making that accusations.”
Justice Patel further added that there are allegations made against people who are in tremendous power. He cited case of American actor and comedian Bill Cosby, who was convicted last month in a case of sexual assault that took place 14 years ago, and stated that in his case evidence was gathered and he was tried for the offence.
While taking #Metoo movement to Judiciary, Justice Patel stated that, “Women lawyers are told often by white-haired gents in black who presumably, on account of their silvery locks, should know better that they should stay at home and mind their… they are told that a woman lawyer who is fierce in defence or prosecution of a client’s cause is shrewish but when a male lawyer does exactly the same thing in exactly the same way and says exactly the same words, he is to be much admired for his… grit.
He stated that,”That a Woman in Trial Court or Arbitration should be mocked and derided, constantly interrupted, met with long theatrical, weary growls but when a male lawyer is introduced to lead her, the same opposition retreats into a silence.”
Justice Patel added, “This incessant bullying of women, no matter how competent they are is because they are women and this is the archetypal, nauseating patriarchy of our legal profession. It is not discussed, it happens everywhere.”
Justice Patel said, “If I find a male lawyer trying to intimidate a female lawyer, I must never allow that to happen…the effort must be to strive towards gender neutrality.”
Source Indian Express