Mumbai: A Bombay High Court Judge has come out in support of the ongoing #MeToo movement, saying the patriarchal world does not allow women to speak freely.
Justice Gautam Patel today said he “fully supported” the women who have decided to share their experiences of sexual harassment and name their tormentors.
At an event organised by the women’s wing of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber in the city, he said the judiciary was also plagued with “rampant sexism and the culture of patriarchy”.
“This incessant bullying of women, no matter how competent they are, is because they are women and this is the archetypal, nauseating patriarchy of our legal profession. It is not discussed, it happens everywhere.”
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“If I find a male lawyer trying to intimidate a female lawyer, I must never allow that to happen… the effort must be to strive towards gender neutrality,” he added.
Justice Patel said just as evidence was gathered and due process of law was followed by the authorities in American actor and comedian Bill Cosby’s case, authorities in India must also ensure that the due legal process is followed. Bill Cosby was convicted last month in a case of sexual assault that took place 14 years ago.
“It takes lot of courage to speak at any time. Why women have not come forward is a very serious problem, and the reason is that because our world is so patriarchal and so biased that it does not allow our women to speak freely at times when they should or they could,” the judge said.
“We now need to have a discussion on how we are going to get rid of this completely damaged, mocked system that we have of judging this cause,” he said.