Left women leaders have slammed Delhi High Court Justice Pratibha Singh for her purported comments that Manusmriti gives "a very respectable position to women".
In a statement on Thursday, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) general secretary Annie Raja registered her strong disagreement with Justice Singh's comments. Speaking on challenges faced by women in science, technology, entrepreneurship, and mathematics on Wednesday, Justice Singh presented highly regressive ideas which reeked of casteism as well as classism, Annie Raja said.
"Her reading of the Manusmriti willfully chooses to ignore the institutionalized prescriptions of the absolute disciplining and punishing of women's bodies and ideas. This is in addition to the despicable ascriptive norms of caste that are encoded in the said text,” the NFIW said in the statement. Justice Singh seems woefully ignorant of the pathetic condition of women at large and particularly of women from historically marginalized communities not just in the Indian subcontinent but across the globe, she said.
CPIM politburo member Brinda Karat said as a High Court judge, Justice Singh is duty bound to uphold the Constitution of India regardless of her personal views.
"The scriptures she has quoted are in many sections directly in flagrant opposition to the Constitution and the rights granted to women of India and especially Dalit and Adivasi women by the Constitution," Karat said in a statement. "Her statement only strengthens the retrogressive views of those who uphold the caste system and that women must accept subordination and control of men— fathers, husbands, sons," she added.