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Business News/ Opinion / Quick Edit/  Weigh thy words
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Weigh thy words

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court released a handbook for the sort of language that must—and must not—be used in legal processes

To end gender stereotypes, the Supreme Court's 30-page booklet offers alternatives for cringe-worthy terms while drafting judgements, pleas and orders. (Mint)Premium
To end gender stereotypes, the Supreme Court's 30-page booklet offers alternatives for cringe-worthy terms while drafting judgements, pleas and orders. (Mint)

India’s justice system has a chance to slough off the detritus of dead linguistic usages, especially those of patriarchal origin. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court released a handbook for the sort of language that must—and must not—be used in legal processes. To end gender stereotypes, the 30-page booklet offers alternatives for cringe-worthy terms while drafting judgements, pleas and orders. The record on this front till now has been disappointing. A death penalty verdict in an infamous 2017 gang-rape case, for example, repeatedly used the word “ravished," leaving us appalled. There are various terms that are casually used but should have no place in polite conversation, let alone documents that form the annals of judicial history and are meant to serve as references for future generations. Why should a term like “career woman" survive till this day and age when such a prefix is never used for men? Likewise, there are numerous other terms that deserve to be expunged for the faulty social assumptions that underlie them. The word “chaste" glares out for its loaded and unjust connotations. And it’s also time for “eve teasing" to be called out for what it really is—street sexual harassment.

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Published: 17 Aug 2023, 11:49 PM IST
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