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"Sexist statement" made by Chief Justice denounced


S.A. Bobde


New Delhi: Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch (MAKAAM), a platform working for recognition, rights and entitlements for women farmers has denounced "unsolicited suggestions and comments" of the Chief Justice of India on participation of women in the ongoing farmers protest.

A statement jointly signed by nearly forty activists alleged that not only that the Supreme Court remained silent on the constitutional validity of the three farm laws, which are against the interests of farmers in general, made remarks which "reflect the deeply patriarchal mindset of the SC".

The statement said that the court was "largely ignorant of the significant role and contribution of women in the agriculture and allied sectors in India today."

"The comment by the SC also denies women their fundamental right to protest both as right endowed citizens and more significantly as "women farmers in their own right" in these ongoing farmers' protests. The SC will do well to recognize that the various sections of women farmers have come forward to participate in the protests of their own free will and as critical stakeholders in the agriculture sector," the statement said.

The statement also pointed to the call for observing January 18 as Mahila Kisan Diwas by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, and said that it needs to be seen as part of the process of recognizing and foregrounding the central role and contribution of women farmers both to the agriculture sector and to the ongoing struggle demanding repeal of the three acts.

The signatories expressed hope that the court will retract its earlier statement and will desist from making any further statements that are "detrimental to the interests of women farmers in this country."

While considering a batch of petitions which seek the removal of the protesting farmers near Delhi borders and also another set of petitions challenging the farm laws, the CJI wondered why many old people and women were at the protest site.

Advocates appearing for farmers union, submitted that they came to the protest site on their own as "their very existence was threatened by the laws."

In response the CJI said:

"Persuade them to go back. At some time, we might say in the order that old people and women need not be there in the protests."

This remark has instigated a debate in social media platforms where many found them as misogynistic.

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