Indira Jaising | @IJaising

Indira Jaising

Indira Jaising is a noted human rights lawyer and a senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India. Along with her husband and fellow Supreme Court senior advocate Anand Grover, Jaising founded the Lawyers’ Collective, a legal NGO that has been working since its inception in 1980 for the rights of the marginalised, particularly women, LGBTQ peoples, sex workers, and many more economically and socially disadvantaged groups. Jaising has fought and won a number of landmark legal battles, particularly those dealing with Christian women’s right to inherit property, right of the mother as the natural gurdian in child custody cases, or having the Supreme Court strike down instant Triple Talaq as unconstitutional. Starting from the rights of pavement dwellers in the 1980s Bombay, to enshrining collective rights over environment in the famous Goa Foundation case, to fighting for justice and compensation for the victims and survivors of the Bhopal Gas disaster in December 1984, Jaising has traced a long and eventful journey and made her mark as an outspoken and intrepid legal interventionist, who is not afraid to call the spade a spade. Jaising’s role was pioneering in forming landmark laws against domestic violence, against sexual harassment at workplace, among other legal interventions. She took upon herself to fight against corruption within judiciary when she exposed Justice Ramaswamy in 1989, or represented an ADJ alleging sexual harassment against a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge. Jaising also won significant cases representing victims alleging sexual harassment against powerful individuals such as former DGP of Punjab, KPS Gill. Jaising has fought tooth and nail demanding due process, as in the case of Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai who was disallowed by the Government of India to travel to London and depose before a British parliamentary committee against a UK-registered coal mining company in 2015, when Jaising successfully defended a citizen’s freedom of expression. It is in this context that Jaising’s keen interest in ensuring the indpependence of judiciary, one of the three pillars of democracy, must be seen. Hers is a distinct and discerning voice that must be heard to make sense of these troubling times.

Articles

Judiciary

Dismissal of court masters without inquiry is improper

The two court masters who have been dismissed had the protection of Article 311. The question that arises is, why was there no inquiry conducted and no charges framed against them before their services were terminated. Dismissal dispensing with inquiry itself is a serious matter, not only because it affects the rights of person concerned, but also because it deprives the general public of the right to know what was the misconduct committed by the public servant.

February 15,2019

Judiciary

#RafaleDeal: What would we call a Supreme Court judgment that's ‘not based on facts’?

But apart from the obvious implications of off-the-record “parallel negotiations” by the PMO, what does this mean for the Supreme Court judgment delivered on December 14, 2018, rejecting several petitions filed for a mandamus directing the CBI to lodge an FIR in relation to the deal? While the Court is entitled take a point of view on law which may be debatable, it is not at liberty to play fast and loose with the facts. We have a right to insist that court proceedings are not manipulated by the Government by presenting half-truths in sealed cover to the court.

February 9,2019

Lead Opinion

Contempt, the flavour of the season

When the truth is stated, it does not “scandalise” the court. If it is true that the Selection Committee HPC held on January 10, 2019 did not select M Nageswara Rao as the interim director, then   the question of “scandalising” the court may not arise. Moreover, the contempt application suggests that Prashant Bhushan has “scandalised” a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India. It is true that Justice Sikri was a member of the Selection Committee, but while sitting on the Committee he was not performing a judicial function but an executive function of making a selection to a post.

February 6,2019

Lead Opinion

Attempt to arrest Kolkata CP an attack on federalism

By no stretch of imagination does it mean that the CBI has the power to make the raid at the office of  the Kolkata Police Commissioner in relation to the investigation, when  the High Court is seized of the matter and has passed an order keeping in abeyance the CBI summons to the Kolkata the police in relation to the investigation. India has no "federal crimes", only a federal investigating agency. Its powers are subject to the State giving its consent to investigate a crime within its territory.

February 4,2019

Judiciary

Indira Jaising on Justice Madan B Lokur (Retd.)

At The Leaflet’s ‘State of the Indian Judiciary’ programme on January 23, 2019 at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, Indira Jaising gave her opening remarks on Justice Madan B Lokur, whom she referred to as a ‘People’s Judge’. ‘To be a peoples’ judge, what you need is to connect with civil society, on the bench and off the bench, throughout your career. Justice Lokur certainly had that connect. He brought in the entire NGO movement to the court room and gave them space in the heart of a judicial system.’

January 24,2019

Labour Rights

#MeToo: First live by ‘due process’

Justice for women means the right to work, expecting their employers to understand and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, zero tolerance of sexual harassment by employers, providing a mechanism to raise complaints when it happens. When employers fail in their duty to prevent sexual harassment, or even to recognise its existence under their nose, where is the question of ‘due process’? 

October 22,2018

Public Statement

Indira Jaising: I do not intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore

It  is the obligation of lawyers to uphold public interest.  My  social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore  I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court. 

October 20,2018

Women's rights

#MeToo and the legal way forward

We are in a situation where the allegations of sexual harassment are so pervasive — ranging from the judiciary, the legal profession, the newsrooms, the entertainment industry, academia, and politicians — that it would be counterproductive to deal with each case individually. What is required is a commission of inquiry to inquire into the failures of the existing legal systems and the Sexual Harassment Act to prevent the happening of these incidents.

October 11,2018

Judiciary

Lessons from Kavanaugh hearing

Why is it so important for you to know your judges before they are appointed? The IB has no mandate to check for predatory behaviour of the Supreme Court nominee towards women and such behaviour can pass through the net very easily. This would be the contribution of the #MeToo movement to accountability in the judiciary.

October 9,2018

Lead Opinion

That bitter-sweet feeling: CJI Misra’s mixed legacy

CJI Dipak Misra is perhaps the first Chief Justice of India in recorded history who has had to face a proposed motion for removal under Article 124 of the Constitution of India. That said, his legacy is a bag of highs and lows, with many failures on the administrative side that led to allegations of Executive interference into the Judiciary, while being a judge whose sensitivity towards gender justice remains unparalleled in the history of the Supreme Court.

October 2,2018

Social Justice

Removing biases against promotions for SC/STs in public employment

Given that the marker of identity of Scheduled Castes is the historic disadvantage of the untouchable, the question of proving backwardness by quantifiable data does not arise. This was the basic flaw of the Nagaraj judgment; its failure to recognise these markers of identity. This now stands corrected.

September 28,2018

Human Rights

Now, who will remain to defend the defenceless?

We are going through times when lawyers who are on the front lines taking up unpopular causes are being maligned, attacked, arrested and held in prolonged detention, and/or killed. If this does not stop, one day there will be no one to defend the rule of law, one day there will be no rule of law to defend.

August 28,2018

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