Over 200 women lawyers have endorsed an open letter slamming Bar Council Of India Chief Manan Kumar Mishra for his sexist and misogynistic comments recently in the matter of a sexual harassment complaint against CJI Ranjan Gogoi. The letter, written by ‘Women of India for Collaboration and Empowerment in Law (WOICE in Law), is dated 15 May.

The women lawyers termed his comments in the appeal letter he sent out to the fraternity to stick with CJI as “misogynistic, irresponsible, generalized, regressive, legally and statistically uninformed”.

“We have lately watched with deep concern, as you have made several reprehensible public statements which demonstrate a serious lack of principled leadership of the Bar, and a glaring lack of commitment to basic constitutional values of equality and non-discrimination,” the letter said.

The women lawyers termed his comments in the appeal letter he sent out to the fraternity to stick with CJI as “misogynistic, irresponsible, generalized, regressive, legally and statistically uninformed”.

He released a letter after the Supreme Court in-house inquiry panel freed CJI Gogoi off all the sexual harassment allegations made against him by his former staffer. The in-house panel led by Supreme Court judge, Justice S.A. Bobde, concluded that the woman’s allegations against Chief Justice Gogoi had “no substance.”

In his letter, Mishra argued that Justice Bobde “is a man who always smiles, we have never seen him angry; same is the case with other two lady justices” so how is it that the complainant could complain of unfairness in the proceedings of the panel. He stated, “We were of the considered opinion that the Committee should proceed ahead and that the inquiry should be completed at the earliest” despite the fact that the complainant withdrew from it.

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He questioned the complainant’s integrity for asking for videography before the in-house panel in the letter. He assumed the falseness in the complainant’s accusations and commented that she “is trying to malign the highest institution”.

“We should not forget that our judiciary is only responsible for such complaints (most malicious) being encouraged today,” said the letter adding that fake cases under Section 498A have become “very common, very easy and rampant”.

We have lately watched with deep concern, as you have made several reprehensible public statements which demonstrate a serious lack of principled leadership of the Bar, and a glaring lack of commitment to basic constitutional values of equality and non-discrimination

It further highlighted the agony of the common man by stating, “Bar is hopeful that our judges will now realize the problems, the mental and physical agony and harassments of the common men. So long our Traditional Laws and Evidence Acts were properly applied by our Law Courts, we found 90% cases resulting in acquittals but when our Honoured, Learned, Experienced and Knowledgeable Judges started keeping the settled principles of Evidence Act in waste paper boxes, the incidents of false implications started increasing and today we have reached to this situation.”

The letter by the women lawyers finally said, “In light of your failure to provide principled leadership to the bar, as women lawyers, we have no confidence in your leadership and we therefore call upon you to step down from your position as Chairman of the Bar Council of India.”

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