Gender justice is fragile myth, says SC judge

New Delhi: Supreme Court Judge P Sathasivam on Wednesday said exploitation of women is a "reality" in India and gender justice a "fragile myth", attributing the evil to social prejudices.

Justice Sathasivam said the discrimination against women stems not from legislative insufficiency, but can be attributed to the deep-rooted social values and ethics involved in the establishment of Indian society.

"The fact is that women's exploitation is a reality and gender justice a fragile myth. Through law and policy women have indeed over the years secured for themselves entitlements, but so far they have not been able to defend themselves from crimes committed against them of societal prejudices," Justice Sathasivam said, addressing the 17th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture here.

"This negated the whole premise of gender justice. Unless we recognise her rights-her basic human rights-gender justice would only be lip-service with no tangible results," he said.

The SC judge said awakening of collective consciousness is the need of the day and if women were to receive education and become economically independent, the possibility of many pernicious social evils dying a natural death may not be a distant dream.

"Laws are not enough to combat the growing menace of gender injustice. A wider social movement of education of their rights is what is needed. Human rights for all must be made the focal point in good governance.

"There can be no doubts about the inevitability of the human rights regime as the foundation of a good value based society. For human rights take a backward step, if gender justice is not achieved," he said.

Though acknowledging that the government is formulating women empowerment policies, he said it is not a one man-job, the entire humanity will have to join hands to achieve the objective.