Use of gender-sensitive language in legal documents urged by Delhi HCtext_fields
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has stated that while the use of gender-sensitive language should be promoted, the dignity and rights of people based on their gender should not be undermined by the use of derogatory phrases in legal papers and pleadings.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma made the observation while hearing a woman's plea challenging a trial court's grant of anticipatory bail to a man accused of raping her under false pretences of marriage, IANS reported.
While the court did not cancel the anticipatory bail, it strongly objected to the derogatory language used by the accused against the woman in his counter affidavit.
Justice Sharma cited the recent 'Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes' launched by the Supreme Court, suggesting its use in drafting pleadings, orders, and judgements.
The court noted that legal professionals can contribute to dismantling entrenched biases by challenging and discarding gender stereotypes in their language, actions, and interactions.
The court called upon the legal community to promote a culture of gender sensitivity and uphold values of fairness and respect in both professional conduct and legal documents.
While recognising the adversarial nature of the criminal legal system, the court stressed that strong language should not cross the line into offensiveness and should always align with the dignity of the legal profession.
The accused had employed inappropriate language, making derogatory remarks about the woman's character and marital status.
Justice Sharma condemned the use of such language, stating that it went beyond the permissible boundaries of language expected in legal pleadings.
The court said that using derogatory language that undermines an individual's dignity based on their gender is incompatible with the principles of equality, dignity, and respect.