Pune-based Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed University, New Law College recently organised a one-day workshop on ‘Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment’, in collaboration with Association of Marriage Counsellors Family Courts, Maharashtra. The event aimed at promoting equal rights for men & women and focused on the need of emancipation of women from the vicious chains of social and gender-based prejudices. It was graced with the presence of various eminent personalities like Justice VM Kanade of Bombay High Court, Family Court Judge Swati Chauhan, Dr Mukund Sarda, Principal of the New Law College, Sudamrao Gaike, Secretary, Association of Marriage Counsellors, and Smita Joshi, family counselor, among others.
Speaking on this occasion Justice VM Kanade of the Bombay High Court said, “The concept of gender stereotypes is new in India, it is not ingrained in the country. Characters which we visualise of women are stereotypes which need to be broken. Family litigation is a different class of litigation altogether as marriage is connected with family, children, etc. Women empowerment cannot happen overnight. It will happen over a period of time.”
He further added, “Rights of women or women’s empowerment through law has been emphasized by the Constitution in Article 51A, Article 14, Article 15, equality, equal opportunity to work for women, section 125 Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for maintenance, but despite this there will not be women’s empowerment unless women are willing to self-empower themselves and fight for their rights. The role of marriage counsellors is also important as they have to find the crux of the problem and solution. For counsellors, it is necessary to understand the profile of couples before counselling them,”
Counseling is a complex and demanding job. Thus, the counselors should use scientific and innovative for resolving disputes. It is believed that matrimonial disputes will remain as the two people having different opinion are bound to live together. Thus, fostering mutual understanding is the only way to resolve disputes between spouses.
Talking about the gender stereotypes in our society, Swati Chauhan, Family Court Judge, Pune, said, “Gender stereotypes hamper the growth of women. Characters are like stereotypes which people visualise in their minds and same is the case with women where we have visualised women as only doing specific duties. Stereotypes should be analysed by judges, counsellors and police. Understanding the issues of women is important in every field and solving them is real women empowerment.”
Dr Mukund Sarda, Principal of the New Law College, expressed his views eloquently, as he said, “Nowadays there are modern methods of gender justice like in the live-in relationship, surrogacy, etc. Right to speedy justice has become important for all parties.” He quoted landmark cases of Justice Kanade like IPL match case, Maggie case, the right to life of animals, etc.
The workshop also included a panel discussion on the issues of family counselling and role play. Various Judges and advocates from the Pune Family Court like Prasad Palsingankar, MM Advant, LB Magdum and Advocate Pravin Motiwala participated in the discussion and enlightened the audience with their views.
It was a great move by Bharti Vidyapeeth Deemed University to promote women empowerment as it is now held that women can no longer be asked to wait for equal rights.