SC launches handbook on gender unjust terms; street sexual harassment to replace eve-teasing, mother in place of unwed mother

New Delhi: Top court lists stereotypical words and suggested alternative terms for use in legal discourses and judicial pronouncements

BY | Wednesday, 16 August, 2023

The Supreme Court on Wednesday launched a handbook that contains a glossary of gender unjust terms and suggests alternative words and phrases which may be used.

As soon as a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud assembled to hear arguments on a batch of pleas challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the CJI announced the unveiling of the handbook.

“This is to assist judges and the legal community to identify, understand stereotypes about women in legal discourse,” he said.

In a press release, the apex court said the ‘Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes’ seeks to empower judges and members of the legal community to identify, understand and counteract harmful stereotypes about women.

“The handbook features a glossary of gender-unjust terms and proposes alternative words and phrases for use in legal documents, including pleadings, orders, and judgments. The compilation identifies common stereotypes about women and demonstrates the inaccuracies of these stereotypes and how they can impact the application of the law,” the release said.

It said the handbook also encapsulates the prevailing legal doctrine on crucial issues, particularly those involving sexual violence.

“In its entirety, the handbook aims to equip judges with the knowledge and tools to critically evaluate their own reasoning, writing and to ensure that justice is served fairly and equitably,” the release said, adding it is a significant step towards a gender- just legal order.

It said the launch of the handbook marks a significant milestone in the journey towards a more just and equitable society.

By equipping judges and the legal community with the tools to identify, understand, and reject stereotypes, it is aimed to pave the way for a more inclusive, impartial, and gender-just legal system, the release said.

“The ground-breaking initiative under the directions of the Chief Justice of India, Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud is aimed at fulfilling the Indian judiciary’s goal of eradicating pre-conceived gender stereotypes from judicial discourse, especially those concerning women,” it said.

In the 30-page handbook, the top court has given a list of stereotypical words and suggested alternative terms for being used in legal discourses and judicial pronouncements.

You cannot copy content of this page