In a controversial statement that attracted an abundance of backlash, a Delhi High Court judge claimed that Indian women are indeed blessed as the Manusmiriti gives them a “respectable position” in society.
Justice Pratibha Singh in the inaugural session of a conference organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, stated, “I really think we are a blessed lot of women in India and the reason for that is our scriptures have always given a very respectable position for women and as Manusmriti itself says that if you don’t respect and honor women, all the pooja path that you may do has no meaning,” as reported by Bar and Bench. She was asked to speak on ‘Facing the unseen barriers: Addressing Challenges faced by Women in Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Mathematics (STEM).’
“I can tell you that in fact, Asian countries do much better in respecting women in households, in workplaces, in society, in general, and I think that is because of the cultural and religious background that we have that our scriptures tell us,” the judge added.
Furthermore, the judge encouraged working women to live in joint families as men in such families are “older and wiser.” This way women will muster greater support in their careers while simultaneously being more rooted in their culture.
She also commented on women working in the legal profession as they attract many taboos and their parents fear they would not get married. But, according to her, it is better to marry someone practicing law as they understand the difficulties in litigating disputes.
In contrast to her opinions, Manusmriti proposed a decremental and inferior state for women. It asserts hindrances on the independence of a woman in a household regardless of age and asks them to worship their husband despite their conduct.
She attracted large-scale hate and criticism on social media as activists and people from all backgrounds commented on the misogynistic nature of Manusmriti and the misfortune of a woman backing the sayings of Manu.