July 20th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS
By Kanu Sarda
New Delhi, July 20 (IANS): The Delhi High Court will soon get a crèche for the day-care of women lawyers’ and employees’ children aged up to three years. Based on the experience gained, similar crèches will be set up in the four trial courts in different parts of the city. "We have already issued a circular and communicated verbally to the bar members to provide the details of their children so that we can make necessary arrangements for starting the crèche," Delhi High Court Bar Association (HCBA) President K.C. Mittal told IANS.
The circular was issued after a division bench of the court directed the association to follow up a petition moved by some lawyers asking for day-care facility for their children.
The court’s joint registrar had also issued a circular some months ago asking for details of children of lawyers and court employees.
The government has already told the court that it would identify the areas in which the crèches could be established.
This emerged at a recent hearing of a petition filed in 2002 seeking a direction to the government to provide land for the crèches.
The petition has been filed on behalf of women lawyers practising in the Delhi High Court and the four district courts at Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Rohini and Patiala House.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Ashok Agarwal told the court there were no day-care facilities for the children of women lawyers and employees in the court complexes.
"Because of this, a large number of women lawyers are compelled to leave their practice and stay at home to take care of their children," Agarwal told IANS.
According to the petition, more than 7,000 women lawyers practise in the high court and the trial courts. Besides, there are women judges, magistrates, judicial officers and administrative staff, many of whom have small children.
The petition said the lack of crèches had resulted in a skewered male-female ratio in the legal profession.
Agarwal informed the court that a large number of women law graduates came from middle class or lower middle class families and thus could not afford to employ full time maids to look after their small children.
"There are several cases where women lawyers who have taken a break after giving birth to a child have never returned to the profession. Those who return after a gap of several years find it difficult to cope with the workload," Aggarwal said.
According to him, a break in service not only affects a woman lawyer’s career but also leads to economic hardship.
"We are happy if such a facility could be started in the court premises but will have to carefully look at issues like hygiene and the other facilities provided at the crèches," said Ranjana Doshi, a lawyer practicing at Tis Hazari court.