“When you apply feminist principles, one is doing nothing more than giving effect to the substance of equality in the Constitution,” Justice Chandrachud said while responding to a question at a roundtable discussion here hosted by Haryana’s O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU).
The roundtable was part of the Indian Feminist Judgments Project’s two-day workshop organised here on October 6-7 in collaboration with the National Law University in Delhi and Ambedkar University Delhi.
In response to a question on whether a judge could be identified as a feminist, Justice Chandrachud said: “I won’t say that judges could call themselves feminist judges and there is a reason for it because one of the things that a judge does by virtue of the nature of his/her job is to decide on the basis of facts and as objectively as one can.”
But feminism, the Supreme Court judge said, is a lot about disruption of social hierarchies.
“What is critical here is the fact that as a judge you need to be giving effect to the essential values the Constitution upholds – like equality, liberty and fraternity,” he said.
The session started with an introduction to the Indian Feminist Judgments Project by Jhuma Sen, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director, Jindal Global Law School, followed by a roundtable discussion.
Legal cases and contemporary examples of feminist judging that underlined the prevalent gap between feminist theory and judicial decision-making were discussed at the session.
“When you think of feminist judging, it is mostly a question of understanding what access to justice is,” said Justice Gita Mittal, Chief Justice, Jammu and Kashmir High Court, while responding to a question at the roundtable.
“When you talk about issues across the country faced by women, we overlook one very critical aspect and that are the barriers that these women have to overcome before they access justice,” she added.
The Indian Feminist Judgments Project was formed by a group of scholars with the objective of bridging the gap between feminist theory and practice.