The Bombay High Court Thursday issued notices to various departments in the Union government while hearing a public interest litigation seeking to restrain politicians from making derogatory comments about women. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Poornima Advani. The petition also seeks directions to the Union government to frame guidelines for ministers, political parties and their members on how to give public speeches.
The PIL was filed in 2015 following an incident in which Congress leader and former minister Gurudas Kamat, while speaking at a political rally, in Rajasthan reportedly passed “derogatory, abrasive and misogynist” comments against Smriti Irani, then Union Minister of Human and Resource Development.
The petition says, “In his speech, Kamat made derogatory remarks against Smriti Irani and her education and also about her character.
In one comment, Kamat said, ‘If a chaiwala can become the Prime Minister of this country then why cannot a pocha lagane wali (cleaning lady) become the education minister’?”
Advocate Anubhav Ghosh, appearing for the petitioner, said, “Such comments are not only derogatory but also discourages a woman from entering politics. Guidelines have to be framed by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare Development to address the issue.”
The court, however, said it would not be in a position to direct the legislature to frame a law or policy.
“The political parties should have a consensus on this issue. Decorum has to be maintained by everyone, not just politicians when it comes to women,” said Justice Kanade.
The court issued notices to the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare Department, Law and Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks.