A division bench of the Calcutta High Court, on Saturday, received a petition demanding introduction of provision of “mother’s name,” in the advocate enrolment form.
The petitioner, Mrinalini Majumdar, has claimed that the current advocate enrolment form, which every newly passed out advocate has to fill up to get enrolled for practicing the legal profession, currently has the provision of mentioning only the “father’s name” or “husband’s name” in the form.
Pointing out that there is no provision of mentioning the “mother’s name”, the petitioner has pointed out that this is contrary to certain articles of the Indian Constitution.
According to her, this system of having provisions of only the names of the father and the husband, is a reflection of the patriarchal society, where the qualification of a budding advocate is determined on the guardianship of his or her father or her husband. The petitioner has also claimed that not having the provision for mentioning the father’s name violates the principles of equal and fundamental rights as rendered to the Indian citizens under the Indian constitution.
She has also pointed out that this particular factor in the advocate enrolment form shows ultimate discrimination towards single mothers and their children, which is in a way violation of their fundamental rights.
The matter has been taken up by the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj. The division bench has sought the opinion of the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of West Bengal in the matter and have asked both these bodies to refer their respective views in the matter to the bench within the next four weeks. The matter will come up for hearing again on February 6 next year.
Giving his opinion in the matter, senior counsel of the Calcutta High Court, Kaushik Gupta said that is a system in the advocate enrolment form which had been in practice since the time this form system was introduced. “But this is for the first time that anyone has sought the attention of the court in the matter. I welcome this move and hope that the system changes where there is also the provision of mothers’ names in the form,” he said.
Senior counsel, Sampa Chowdhury, who is a specialist in matrimonial suits, told IANS that this was a long standing demand from women in the profession as well as women right activists. “This provision had been discriminatory towards single or divorced mothers who had been bringing up their children on their own. The petitioner has rightfully pointed out this matter and I hope the system changes,” she said.