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

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

Independence Day

Will I too be asked to go back to Pakistan?

It is now for the fist time in 73 years that I am made to remember by Hindu origins from across the border. But there is no comfort in it, only pain for the Republic of India, which is in danger of losing its secular foundational principles, its birth-pangs of great ideals, of pluralism and inter-faith harmony.

August 15,2018

Independence of judiciary

Don’t pick Justice Rajendra Menon as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court

Justice Rajendra Menon has been subject to incriminating comments from a Joint Inquiry Committee led by Justice Banumathi, as per he he has been found guilty of wrongfully and punitively transferring a former woman ADJ who had accused Justice S K Gangele of Madhya Pradesh of sexually harassing her. Does Delhi High Court deserve Justice Menon as the next Chief Justice in place of Justice Aniruddha Bose of Calcutta High Court, the Collegium’s initial, and unblemished, choice?

July 26,2018

Democracy and Rule of Law

Lynching, a crime against the Constitution

Given the widespread prevalence of lynching in the country now, it is time to introduce federal crimes, which affect the federation and are not to be described as affecting ‘law and order’ but as crimes that are ‘offences against the Constitution’ and hence for which the Union has to take responsibility. 

July 23,2018

Democracy and Rule of Law

Who says this isn’t Emergency?

Surendra Gadling, S Vanchinathan, Teesta Setalwad, the young lawyers of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group in Bastar, Chandrasekhar Azad Ravan — the names of lawyers currently hounded for doing their duty are many.

June 26,2018

Independence of judiciary

The Sign of Four

By alerting the nation that ‘democracy was in danger’, the quartet of judges has upheld constitutional values at a time when the rule of law faces unprecedented attack.

June 11,2018

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