Indira Jaising

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Indira Jaising
Born 1940 (age 73–74)
Mumbai, India
Nationality Indian India
Occupation Lawyer

Indira Jaising (born 1940, Mumbai) is an Indian lawyer noted for her legal activism in promoting left-wing causes and feminism.

Early life[edit]

She went to school in Mumbai and graduated from Bangalore university, before getting her degree in law in 1962. In 1981, along with her husband Anand Grover, she founded the Lawyers Collective, a law firm devoted to feminist and left-wing causes. In 1986, she became the first woman to be designated a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Bombay. Her radical feminism and strong left-wing orientation, as also her aggressive personality, endeared her to Sonia Gandhi and in 2009, Jaising became the first woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India. From the beginning of her legal career, she has focused on protection of human rights, rights of women and those of the poor working class.

Fighting for women[edit]

Indira Jaising argued several cases relating to discrimination against women, including Mary Roy's case, which led to the grant of equal inheritance rights for Syrian Christian women in Kerala and Rupan Deol Bajaj, the IAS officer who had prosecuted KPS Gill for outraging her modesty. This was one of the first cases of sexual harassment, successfully prosecuted. Jaising also argued the case of Githa Hariharan in which the Supreme Court in a Bench presided over by Chief Justice A.S. Anand held that under Hindu law, the mother was also the "natural guardian" of her minor children, so that the children could also bear the name of the mother. Jaising also successfully challenged the discriminatory provisions of the Indian Divorce Act in the High Court of Kerala, thus enabling Christian women to get a divorce on the ground of cruelty or desertion, a right which was denied to them, which greatly bothered Jaising.

Human rights and the environment[edit]

Indira Jaising has represented the victims of the Bhopal tragedy in the Supreme Court of India in their claim for compensation against the American multinational Union Carbide Corporation. Jaising argued cases of homeless pavement dwellers of Mumbai who were facing eviction. A keen environmentalist, Jaising has argued major environmental cases in the Supreme Court. Jaising has been associated with several Peoples Commissions on Violence in Punjab to investigate the extra judicial killings, disappearances and mass cremations that took place during the period 1979 to 1990.

Lawyers Collective[edit]

Indira Jaising later became the founder secretary of the Lawyers Collective, an organization that provides legal funding for the underprivileged sections of Indian society. She founded a monthly magazine called The Lawyers, in 1986, which focuses on social justice and women's issues in the context of Indian law. She has been involved in cases related to the discrimination against women, the Muslim Personal Law, rights of pavement dwellers and the homeless and the Bhopal gas tragedy. She has fought against child labor, for the economic rights of women, estranged wives and domestic violence cases. Here is a link to the article she has written on the first anniversary of the domestic violence act passed into law Woman Against Family.

Other[edit]

Indira Jaising has attended several national and international conferences on women and represented her country at these conferences.

She had a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies London and has been a visiting Scholar at the Columbia University New York. She was a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

She was conferred with the Rotary Manav Seva Award in recognition of her services to the nation in fighting corruption and as a champion of the weaker sections of the society.

She was given the Padma Shree by the President of India in 2005 for her service to the cause of public affairs.

External links[edit]