Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud has expressed anguish over the withdrawal of a 'Karva Chauth' advertisement featuring a same-sex couple due to "public intolerance," saying there is a need to change the mindset of both men and women. The judge was referring to the advertisement of Indian firm Dabur on 'Karva Chauth', a Hindu festival which is prevalent in northern parts of the country and in which wives keep a day-long fast and perform 'puja' for the well being of their husbands.
The advertisement, showing a woman couple celebrating the festival, was withdrawn by the firm after facing backlash on social media and from a politician of Madhya Pradesh. "Just two days ago, all of you would know, of this advertisement which a company was required to pull down. It was an advertisement for Karva Chauth of a same-sex couple. It had to be withdrawn on the ground of public intolerance, said Justice Chandrachud.
The judge was speaking virtually at the launch of the nationwide legal awareness programme, 'Empowerment of Women through legal awareness' at Varanasi on Saturday. The awareness programme was being carried out by the National Legal Services Authority, headed by the senior-most judge Justice U U Lalit, in collaboration with National Commission for Women and UP State Legal Services Authority.
Justice Chandrachud said that awareness about the rights of women could truly be meaningful if it is created among the younger generation of men.
"Awareness is not only a woman's issue. I believe that the deprivation of rights of women if we have to find an answer to them, the origin must be in the changing of mindset, both of men and women. True freedom for women, in other words, is truly intersectional," the judge remarked. He further said that there are real-life situations that show that there is a great divergence between ideals of the law and the real state of society.
He said that even though legislations like the domestic violence act, prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace act have been enacted to achieve the goal of fulfilling the constitutional rights of women, the judges come across injustice against women every day.
Justice Chandrachud stated that the entitlements which the law has created for women should not become a ruse or an excuse for perpetuating the domination of men. The apex court judge said the Constitution of India is a transformative document that seeks to remedy the structural inequalities rooted in patriarchy. "It has become a powerful tool to secure material entitlements and provide public affirmations of dignity and equality of women," he added.
At the event held at Varanasi, several other top court judges Justices Vikram Nath, Krishna Murari, Judge, Chief Justice of Allahabad HC Justice Rajesh Bindal were also present among others.