Supreme Court Seeks Report From Madras High Court On Issue Of Toilets For Women Lawyers In Nilgiris Court Complex
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Madras High Court administration to submit through its Registrar General a detailed report on the issue of lack of toilet complexes for women lawyers in the Nilgiris Court Complex. The bench noted that while the Registrar General had earlier filed a report in the matter, the said report did not explain in detail in what manner the facilities for...
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Madras High Court administration to submit through its Registrar General a detailed report on the issue of lack of toilet complexes for women lawyers in the Nilgiris Court Complex. The bench noted that while the Registrar General had earlier filed a report in the matter, the said report did not explain in detail in what manner the facilities for women lawyers were being provided for in the new court complex and as to whether there was any shrinkage of such facilities which were earlier available. The report is to be submitted by Sunday, June 11 2023.
A vacation bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal passed the order in an application filed by Women Lawyers Association of Nilgiris. The bench said that the miscellaneous application has been taken up by the Court on its own motion, considering the nature of grievances of the women lawyers of the Nilgiris district projected in a news report.
At the outset, Senior Advocate V Mohana, appearing for the Nilgiris District Bar Association, requested for the court to direct a team from High Court to be sent to inspect the matter. She argued that the issue was being publicised by a select few and was bringing disrepute to the entire Nilgiris District Bar Association. She contended–
"We are the official association...The High Court even had a sitting with us. Now some women are not satisfied and they are publicising the issue. I am asking for your lordships to send a team from High Court to inspect. It is bringing disrepute to the entire Nilgiris Bar Association."
On similar lines Advocate Guru Krishnakumar, appearing for the Madras High Court, argued –
"It appears that the petitioner association with some women lawyers is at loggerheads with the registered association."
He further argued that toilet complexes had been allotted for women lawyers.
Justice Bose, dictating the order, said–
"This Writ Petition was disposed of by a bench presided over by the CJI on 28 April 2023. Subsequent thereto, complaints were raised on behalf of certain women lawyers demanding basic facilities in the same court complex and it appears that their main concern is over shrinking of the space or facilities allocated to them in the new court complex.This was reflected in an online news report. Subsequently, the registry of this court has brought to our notice report of the Registrar General of the High Court of Madras. This report however doesn't explain in detail in what manner the facilities for women lawyers were being provided for in the new court complex and as to whether there was any shrinkage of such facilities which were earlier available. Let a detailed report be filed by the HC administration through the registrar general. Such report should reach the registry of this court by Sunday. The matter is to be listed on 12 June 2023. This court shall consider passing appropriate orders on the basis of the report."
Previously, the writ petition filed by the Association was disposed of by the Supreme Court on April 29 after taking note of the submission made on behalf of the Madras High Court that necessary steps have been taken. The Court had given liberty to the Association to approach the District Judge or the Registrar General of the High Court for redressal of any subsisting grievances. A bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha had considered the petition.
More recently, the National Commission For Women, acting on a complaint filed by a lawyer, urged the Madras High Court Registrar to take immediate cognizance of the lack of toilets for female lawyers at the Nilgiris Court Complex. The commission asked the Registrar to communicate the steps taken within three days.
Case Title: Women Lawyers Association of Nilgiris v The Registrar, Madras High Court & Ors | MA 1378/2023 in W.P.(C) No. 511/2023