Calcutta HC Seeks BCI Response Regarding Discriminatory Towards Candidates with Single Mothers

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: 26 November 2022 at 20:48 IST

The Calcutta High Court orders the response from the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Bar Council of West Bengal about a request to amend advocate enrolment to include room for the candidate’s mother’s name and details in addition to those of the candidate’s father and husband.

The argument made in the plea was that the existing advocate enrolment form, which does not give applicants with single mothers the choice to add their mother’s information, is discriminatory and in violation of their fundamental rights.

The petition stated that “a child of a single mother is also a citizen of this nation, and no one can infringe any of his/her fundamental rights which are protected.”

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj heard the appeal and gave notice in the case.

The petition was answered by the respondents within a four-week period, and a new hearing date of February 6, 2023 was set for the case.

The petitioner, Mrinalini Majumdar, argued that by only asking for information on a candidate’s father and spouse, the State Bar Council continued to exhibit an oppressive patriarchal character in modern society.

It was argued that this simply served to imply that the candidate’s paternal guardianship or marital status was the only criterion for enrolment as an advocate.

The argument emphasised that the application disallows a candidate whose sole parental identification is the mother.

The argument also cited a Kerala High Court ruling that stated everyone has the legal right to have only their mother’s name listed on their birth certificate and other official papers.

The petitioner claimed that the omission of the mother’s name violated Article 14, 19(g), and 21 of the Constitution’s fundamental rights.

According to the statement, “Here the State Bar by not allowing the candidates from joining into this noble profession as without the enrolment certificate the candidate is not permitted to practise in any courts of law within the territory of India.”

The plea further told the Court that the petitioner had made a thorough representation to the BCI and State Bar Council to highlight this matter in September of this year, but that neither organisation had responded, leading the petitioner to approach the Court.

The petitioner requested instructions to update records of already enrolled advocates who wish to add their mother’s identify in addition to including a column for mother’s identification.

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