Title: Gender Justice and Constitutional Law
Speaker: Justice Ruma Pal, Former Justice, Supreme Court of India
Abstract: The presentation will try to give a brief account of the context of gender justice under the Constitution in lay person's terms. India has international legal obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which the country ratified in 1997. Is it possible for the courts to become harbingers of change and strike down laws which are contrary to constitutional rights of individuals irrespective of gender? For instance, while basic fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution should be available to all, personal laws are deeply entrenched in patriarchal attitudes and gender discrimination. Gender justice may involve maintaining religious diversity while ensuring uniformity of base values.
About the Speaker: Justice Ruma Pal started practice as a lawyer in 1968. She was elevated as a judge to the High Court of Calcutta in 1990. In 2000, she was elevated as a Justice of the Supreme Court of India. She retired in June 2006.
Justice Ruma Pal is Former Member, Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEDAW), ILO, Geneva and Former Ford Foundation Professor of Human Rights and Citizenship Studies, National University for Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. At present she is Chancellor, Sikkim University, President, Managing Committee, Ramakrishna Sarada Mission, Gangarampur and Member, Managing Committee, Ramakrishna Mission, Narendrapur as well as other NGOs