Several lawyers have written to the New Delhi Bar Association (NDBA) and the Bar Council of Delhi objecting to the recent Holi Milan celebrations at the Patiala House court complex on Wednesday that featured women performing 'item dance numbers'.
The letter said that the event, which was hosted by the NDBA, was totally inappropriate and sexist, and it was totally unbecoming of a bar association to host such an event.
"Unfortunately yesterday we also came across some video clippings of a celebration organized by the Delhi Bar Association on the occasion of Holi, featuring scantily-clad women dancers, performing what can best be described as inappropriate dance numbers ..It is totally inappropriate, sexist, and unbecoming of lawyers to host such an event under the official name of any Bar Association and in the premises of a court. As lawyers we ought to uphold the Constitution and work towards gender equality in the workplace," the letter stated.
It is shocking and appalling that a function of such nature was organised on Holi, which coincided with Women's Day this year, at the Patiala House Courts premises that is located less than a kilometre away from the Supreme Court of India, the letter said.
It also clarified that the grievance is not directed against the dancers themselves, who were doing their job, and no disrespect is intended to them through the letter.
Such actions lower the majesty of courts and amount to various other legal wrongs, it was stated.
Further, hosting such a function in court premises amounts to sexual harassment of a non-verbal nature.
"It creates a hostile work environment for women lawyers, judicial officers, and staff who frequent the Patiala House courts. We are especially offended by this incident as we take pride in our profession and do not want to see it being denigrated in this manner."
The lawyers, therefore, requested the Bar Council of Delhi conduct an enquiry and take appropriate action against individuals responsible for organising for such performances.
The office-bearers of the New Delhi Bar Association were implored to issue a statement expressing regret for the 'gross and vulgar incident', and not conduct such events in the future.
"Hosting events of this nature that objectify women and reduce them to devices for entertainment and pleasure are directly contrary to all goals of a modern society in a country that aims to be a world leader. It is not only misogynistic, it brings disrepute to the country, because it tarnishes the image of India that a Bar Association in the capital city would think of hosting such a vulgar event ... It is uncivilized and unconstitutional."
This is not the first time such an event has been hosted by NDBA at the Patiala House court complex.
A similar event was organised in March 2014 when the few female lawyers, who were present for the function, walked out in disgust.
The link to sign the letter can be accessed here.