It has been five years since the lady ADJ first complained of discrimination to the Chief Justice of India, and her battle continues as with the order of recusal of the Bench of Justices Sikri, Nazeer and Shah, the matter would have to be argued afresh before a new bench.
The Bench emphasised that the issue was about a good judicial officer who seeks to join service again. Justice Sikri, in the first of its kind order, the bench passed an order requesting the High Court to hold a full court enquiry and come back within a week, with a decision on her reinstatement with seniority. They pointed out that video conferencing facilities were available in the High Court and there should be no logistical problem in taking a decision as soon as possible. If indeed the High Court agrees to reinstate her with seniority but without back wages, it will indeed set a precedent for women in the judiciary and ensure a working environment free form discrimination.
So far, the rule of thumb that prudent men followed was that if you are harassing someone, you will know that you are; it isn’t something you do unknowingly. But cooption of the tools of the #MeToo movement i.e. public shaming with a call to ostracise, by some women to deal with incidents that were basically bad judgment calls by them in their younger days is leading to two very serious problems. One, it is giving plausible deniability to men who have rightfully been accused of harassment. And more disturbingly, it is reducing career opportunities for women in industries that are controlled by men.
It is essential to criminalise marital rape in order to break the age-old understanding that “marriage sanctions sex” or that married women are incapable of giving consent or that consent is presumed/implied upon marriage. This understanding only legitimises the patriarchal notion that a woman is the property of her husband after marriage.