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1940 (age 82–83)
|Known for||Human rights and gender equality activism|
Indira Jaising (born 3 June 1940) is an Indian lawyer and activist. Jaising also runs Lawyers' Collective, a non-governmental organization (NGO), the license of which was permanently cancelled by the Home Ministry for alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (alleged misuse of foreign funds) in 2019. The Bombay High Court later passed an order to de-freeze NGO's domestic accounts. The case is ongoing in the Supreme Court of India.
Jaising was born on 3 June 1940 in Mumbai to a Sindhi Hindu family. She attended St. Teresa's Convent High School, Santacruz, Mumbai, and the Bishop Cotton Girls' School, Bangalore. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bangalore University. In 1962, she earned a Master of Laws from the University of Bombay.
In 1986, she became the first woman to be designated a Senior Advocate by the Bombay High Court. In 2009, Jaising became the first female Additional Solicitor General of India. From the beginning of her legal career, she has focused on the protection of human rights and the rights of women.
Fighting for women
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 the case of Rupan Deol Bajaj, the IAS officer who had successfully prosecuted KPS Gill for outraging her modesty. This was one of the first cases of sexual harassment that had been successfully prosecuted. Jaising also argued the case of Githa Hariharan, in which the Supreme Court decided that a mother is equally a natural guardian of a child as a father. 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. She has also represented Teesta Setalvad in a case where she was targeted and accused of embezzling money.
More recently, Indira Jaising wrote a column for The Indian Express, criticizing the manner in which the Indian Supreme Court rejected Nupur Sharma's plea for consolidation of FIRs in criminal cases filed against her for allegedly defaming Prophet Mohammed. In the article, Jaising said the Supreme Court's "remarks against Sharma are uncalled for, and can prejudice low courts."
Human rights and the environment
Jaising has represented the victims of the Bhopal tragedy in the Supreme Court of India in their claim for compensation against the Union Carbide Corporation. Jaising also represented Mumbai residents who were facing eviction. 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. The United Nations appointed Jaising to a fact-finding mission investigating the alleged murder, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
A keen environmentalist, Jaising has also argued major environmental cases in the Supreme Court.
In 1981, Jaising founded the Lawyers Collective with her husband Anand Grover. The organisation is devoted to feminist and left-wing causes, especially the promotion of human rights. She 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 discrimination against women, the Muslim Personal Law, the 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. The NGO currently has had its license suspended for violating the FCRA norms.
Jaising has attended several national and international conferences on women and represented her country at these conferences. Her NGO has been barred by the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) from receiving foreign funds. The NGO Lawyers' Collective has had their license suspended for violation of foreign funding norms. However, the Bombay High Court passed an order to defreeze NGO's domestic accounts; the case continues in the Supreme Court
She had a fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in 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.
Jaising was given the Padma Shree by the President of India in 2005 for her service to the cause of public affairs. Her husband Anand Grover is a human rights lawyer and designated senior advocate of the Supreme Court. In 2018, she was ranked 20th on the list of 50 Greatest Leaders of the World by Fortune magazine.
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- Staff, Scroll (5 June 2017). "Watch: Rupan Deol Bajaj talks about the sexual harassment case she won against KPS Gill". Scroll.in. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
- Fernandes, Joeanna Rebello (12 July 2015). "It's sad we needed the law to tell us that the mother's a natural guardian: Githa Hiraharan". Times of India. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
- "Jaising Leads Protest Against Setalvad's 'Victimisation'". Outlook India.
- "In the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2018.
- Krishnan, Murali (25 July 2016). "Supreme Court v. Indira Jaising: Supreme Court admits no Rules for Senior Designation but process 'fair and transparent'". Bar & Bench.
- "Supreme Court's refusal to club all FIRs against Nupur Sharma is bad in law". 16 July 2022.
- "Indian rights lawyer to lead U.N. probe into Rohingya crackdown". Reuters. 30 May 2017.
- "Indira Jaising's NGO 'Lawyers Collective' suspended for 6 months". 1 June 2016.
- PTI (1 June 2016). "FCRA licence of Indira Jaising's NGO suspended for 6 months". The Economic Times.
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- "Indira Jaising's NGO barred by MHA from receiving foreign funds for 6 months". 2 June 2016.
- "MHA cancels FCRA licences of 1,300 NGOs". Rahul Tripathi, ET Bureau. Economic Times. Economic Times. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- PTI (7 December 2016). "Home Ministry cancels licence of Indira Jaising's NGO". The Hindu.
- Correspondent, Special. "Defreeze accounts of Indira Jaisingh's NGO: HC". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
- "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "In a First an Indian Lawyer Makes It to Fortune's World's Greatest Leaders List: Indira Jaising Ranked 20 in the List on a Day She Faced Setback from SC". 19 April 2018.