The Pinnacle court on Monday issued notice on a writ petition seeking the option of virtual hearing for women lawyers during pregnancy and thereafter for a period of at least 26 weeks during motherhood.
A Bench of Justices LN Rao and BR Gavai, while issuing notice, observed that they understood the concerns of women lawyers but added that the Courts have to revert to full physical hearing, as virtual hearing can only be seen as an exceptional measure.
A petition by a Delhi-based lawyer Esha Mazumdar, contending that virtual courts offering working women a balance to manage both professional and personal duties, said: “An option ought to be given to women lawyers to opt for virtual hearing during pregnancy and thereafter for at least 26 weeks till the women are sufficiently independent to start appearing physically before Courts.”
It further stated, “Since the right to pregnancy is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution, every effort ought to be made to see that the fundamental right is not violated only because a woman is constrained to choose between pregnancy and her career.”
However, the bench made caution by mentioning, “We want courts to open up first and thereafter we want to create exceptions... We must consider that all this was not an issue before the pandemic. Tomorrow teachers will approach the Court to provide for the right to teach through virtual classrooms. We cannot allow lawyers as a separate class.”