SC To Release Glossary Of Inappropriate Gendered Terms Used in Legal Discourse: CJI Chandrachud

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will soon release a legal glossary of inappropriate gendered terms used in legal discourse, especially for women, said Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, quoted Live Law. 

The CJI was speaking at an event organised by the Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee of the apex court for a belated celebration of International Women’s Day. 

CJI Chandrachud revealed several plans for empowering women in the legal profession. The first plan he said was of releasing a legal glossary of inappropriate gendered terms used in legal discourse. According to Live Law, he said that this was a task he undertook a few years back and is now nearing completion. He said that the glossary would have inappropriate legal terms that the judges must not use in their judgments any further.

The CJI further said that the glossary would impart focus on how women are discriminated against not only in society and the legal profession, but also in the language used in the discourse. 

“For instance, I have come across judgments which have referred to a woman as a ‘concubine’ when she is in a relationship. Women have been called ‘keeps’ in judgements where there were applications for quashing of FIRs under the Domestic Violence Act and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code,” Live Law quoted the CJI as saying. 

Explaining the underline purpose of the glossary, the CJI said that it was not ‘belittle any judge’ but to aid the understanding of “our problems within the mind” that is, preconceived notions and biases, which the recourse to these terms belied, the report quoted. 

The judge said, “Unless we are open about these facets, it will be difficult for us to evolve as a society.” He added that the glossary is nearing completion and will be unveiled in the very near future. 

The CJI further informed that the legal glossary was being prepared by a committee under the chairmanship of Calcutta High Court judge Moushumi Bhattacharya. The other members of the committee included Delhi High Court Judge Justice Prathiba M. Singh, former judges Prabha Sridevan and Gita Mittal, and Jhuma Sen, Advocate, Calcutta High Court and Supreme Court, also an adjunct faculty member at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata.   

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