Delhi HC Women Lawyers Forum condemns the strike to protest the conviction of Rajiv Khosla, applauds victim and judge

THE Delhi High Court Women Lawyer Forum has condemned the action of the Coordination Committee of the District Court Bar Associations of Delhi, calling for a strike against the judgment delivered by a Delhi Court convicting former president of Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) Rajiv Khosla for assaulting a woman lawyer.
The woman lawyer, Sujata Kohli, retired last year as the District and Sessions Judge, Delhi.
The Lawyer Forum has applauded the courage of Kohli and the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Gajendra Singh Nagar, who convicted Khosla, without being intimidated by the might and power of the accused person.
CMM Nagar on October 29 found Khosla guilty of offences under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506(i) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The matter is listed on November 15 for hearing arguments on the quantum of punishment.
“We express our grave disappointment in the conduct of Co-ordination Committee of the Distirct Court Bar Associations calling for a strike to oppose the judgment of the CMM Central in the matter of State vs Rajeev Khosla, where the complainant was also a lawyer herself. Because this indicates they are siding up with a male lawyer against a women lawyer”, the letter by the Women Lawyer Forum to the President of DHCBA reads.
The letter goes on to state that such a conduct of the Bar Associations only exposes their misogyny.
“Many if not most women lawyers have suffered in varying degrees the oppressive patriarchy and sexual harassment within the legal profession. Sujata Kohli had the courage to initiate legal process and fight her cause over 27 years. We applaud her”, the letter reads.
The women lawyers found the conduct of the Bar Association subsequent to the judgment an embarrassment to every lawyer, as it is about harassment, bullying and intimidation.
The letter adds that the silence of other Bar Associations is significant and leads to the irresistible and sad conclusion that the bar does not treat gender issues, hooliganism, intimidation and contempt of courts as reasons sufficient enough for standing up in defence of lofty principles, unless it is to suppress the voices of marginalized lawyers.
“It also indicates their approval and support for bullying of women lawyers and attempts to overreach the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary”, the letter states.
The conduct of the Bar Associations, the letter says, has highlighted the appalling conditions in which women lawyers work in courts. It seems unlikely that any woman lawyer who is being harassed or who has been assaulted will want to report it as the bar always openly sides with the accused men, the letter lamented.
The Women Lawyers Forum’s letter says that though it respects the right of the Bar to condemn and protest against dishonest or malafide judgments and obnoxious or unbecoming conduct by the bench, it cannot claim that the bar leaders have immunity from the rule of law especially when the bar remains silent in the face of malicious prosecution of ordinary lawyers by the State.
Click here to read the full letter