A group of lawyers has started a campaign to dispatch Bare Acts of the 2013 Anti-Sexual Harassment law to judges of the Supreme Court in protest of the manner by which the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi were dismissed.
The campaign dubbed ‘May It Please Your Lordships‘ calls on people to send bulk copies of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 to all the judges of the Supreme Court. The campaign promoters emphasised that this is meant to be a “non-disruptive yet effective tool to plead to the Hon’ble Justices to apply the same rules to themselves as they do to others.”
“For an institution which is meant to be the savior of the rights of all citizens and the final interpreter of the Constitution, the judges of the Supreme Court of India have for far too long gotten away with impunity from charges of sexual harassment levelled against them”, states the appeal circulated by the campaign’s promoters.
It goes on to point out,
“Many open letters and statements have been written already, lamenting the absolutely bizarre handling of the situation by the Court thus far. The statement made by the complainant while withdrawing from the so-called inquiry proceedings set up by the Court further makes it clear that far from being well versed with the nuances of sexual harassment and power imbalance, the Court has perhaps forgotten the very spirit behind the enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 as well as the Vishaka guidelines.
‘May It Please Your Lordships’ is a small attempt to remind our Hon’ble Judges of the same.
We urge all of you to send as many copies as we all can of the bare act to the judges. In the hope that even if Their Lordships are not reading our open letters and statements, one judge reading one copy of the bare act might decide to stand up and save the institution.“
Promoters of the campaign were also critical of the muzzling of popular protests that followed the In-House Inquiry panel’s clean chit to CJI Gogoi. It said,
“The fact that the power of the entire state machinery is being used to muzzle the protests against the manner in which a ‘clean chit’ has been given to the Chief Justice of India by the so-called in house inquiry committee of the Supreme Court has been on full display for the past two days now. While yesterday, 55 protestors who were peacefully protesting outside the Supreme Court were forcibly taken away and detained, today peaceful protestors were detained from outside the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station.“
The appeal is signed off by “some young members of the bar who might soon lose faith in the profession.”
Read the Full Appeal Statement below: