29 Nov 2017 2:08 PM GMT
Indian legal system is very vibrant and user friendly, more and more women should use it for access to justice. They should not hesitate to approach the court for their rights, Delhi High Court judge Justice Pratibha Maninder Singh. She was speaking in a session ‘Grassroots Grow: Women in Emerging Market’ at a three day-long Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, Hyderabad.Speaking...
Indian legal system is very vibrant and user friendly, more and more women should use it for access to justice. They should not hesitate to approach the court for their rights, Delhi High Court judge Justice Pratibha Maninder Singh. She was speaking in a session ‘Grassroots Grow: Women in Emerging Market’ at a three day-long Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, Hyderabad.
Speaking on representation of women in legal system, she said: “Law is a very attractive career for women today. This wasn’t so till about 15-20 years ago. In 70 years since we got Independence, there have been 6 women Supreme Court judges. Out of the more than 600 judges at High Courts, around 65 are women. That makes it about 10% in the higher judiciary. Though the numbers right now are not very high in the higher judiciary, there is consensus that in the judicial services for the district courts and entry level judges, there are more women than men today.”
“Indian judiciary is very much compassionate to women and their cases like property rights, matrimonial dispute, divorce and maintenance, their rights to abortion and alimony etc. Indian legal system is very vibrant and Indian judiciary is very much women friendly,” Justice Pratibha Maninder Singh said while appealing to all women to come forward and approach the court for protection of their rights whether it is commercial or personal issue.
“There is a greater need for women to know about their rights and duties,”
Prior to her elevation to bench in April this year, Justice Singh was a well-known lawyer for her expertise in intellectual property rights (IPR) cases. She is the first woman judge to represent the country at a global summit.
J Justice Pratibha Maninder Singh appealed to all Indian entrepreneurs to use intellectual property system to protect their rights.
She said women are very creative and women entrepreneurs should be conscious of protecting what they create. Intellectual property has a strong base in India. When one creates a brand, trade mark protection is a must.
"If a woman is designing a garment, it helps to get design registration. Patents for even smaller inventions are worth it. I was part of the first IPR policy….There are many incentives being given for start ups and for small/medium enterprises," Justice Pratibha Maninder Singh said.
Facilitators have been appointed to help individuals and small enterprises to get their technologies patented.
"There are more than 2,00,000 trade marks filed and more than 50,000 patents are filed in India. The numbers need to improve. Even internationally, only less than 10% of patents have women inventors. This needs to change. Women are creative by nature and they ought to own more IP rights," she said.
She spoke on technology as an enabler: “The Indian legal system is well entrenched on the path of using technology for easy access and quicker dissemination. The National Judicial Grid is an ambitious project which is making available data relating to filings, pendencies on a real-time basis. The goal is for seamless transmission of information, from the first tier courts like magistrates, munsiffs, sub-judges, to the district courts, then the high courts and finally the Supreme Court.”
“I have sat in division bench with senior judges of the Delhi High Court where the entire system is electronic. We don’t use paper files and my files for reading (40-50 files) are sent home for reading daily on a hard drive. This was unheard of a few years ago. In our court, more than half of the court rooms are fully electronic and this is going to improve. There is a movement in the legal fraternity to go digital and this is gaining momentum,” she said.
Recounting her fight as a lawyer for cancer drug manufacturer in Delhi HC as well as Supreme Court, she said this case exposed me to the issues of affordable health care and was a humbling experience.
“I felt burdened by the huge ramifications a litigation of that kind can have on human life and suffering. Patents, which are supposed to be technical subject matter, suddenly started getting discussed in the drawing rooms. Housewives have walked up to me giving their views as to why they thought the patent should be granted or should not be granted. This episode was memorable to see how the common woman perceived patents and law,” she said.
Justice Singh was one of the five panelists from across the world. Others were Su Shan Tan (MD, DSB Bank), Anjali Bansal (ABS Advisers, founder and CEO), Otara Gunewardene (director, Otara Foundation), Kathryn Kaufman (MD, Overseas Private Investment Corporation).