Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University New Law College, Pune had organized One Day Workshop for Counselors on “Gender Justice & Women Empowerment” on Saturday, 12th September. The symposium was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of Justice Dr. Mrs. Shalini S. Phansalkar-Joshi, Judge, Bombay High Court, Mrs. Shailaja Sawant, Principal Judge, Family Court, Pune, Mr. Sudam Gayke, Vice-President, Association Of Marriage Counsellors, Family Courts, Maharashtra State, Prof. Dr. Mukund Sarda, Dean And Principal New Law College, Pune. Over 100 counsellors participated.
On the occasion of the workshop Justice Dr. Mrs. Shalini S. Phansalkar-Joshi stated that Family is an integral system of society. Health of family is important aspect of society. If the spouses stay happy the family becomes happy. Role of Counselors is like the bridge between the courts and litigants. Matrimonial disputes are not just legal dispute but it consists of the emotions and moral issues related to the families. Counselors therefore have to be attached and also should able to detach themselves at times while dealing with matrimonial issues. Counselors should build their own scientific support system mechanism, emotional draining is also important for counselors, the counselors must be patient and have good listening skills. They should not give there own perceptions, assumptions and notions while counseling. They should be free from biased opinion or prejudice. Counseling is a complex and demanding job. Counselors should use scientific and innovative methods in there counseling to resolve the disputes. Matrimonial disputes will remain as the two persons having different opinion are bound to live together. The understanding is only the way to resolve disputes between spouses. Nowadays social media is also playing an important role in communications but it is also a culprit which is a cause of matrimonial disputes. Due to over communications the understanding levels within the family is going down. The children are prepared for studies and interviews but they are not given parenting counseling. The parenting counseling is the emerging area which needs to be addressed. The respect for the women should be inculcated during the upbringing of the children.
The process of counseling first started in Mumbai in Maharashtra. Role of counselor is to have restitution of conjugal rights by which parties shall ‘open up’. There shall be ‘adjudicating forum’ for women also. Role of Marriage counselor is more than a lawyer in court. Matrimonial disputes which are needed to be solved such as 1. Child custody, 2. Property issue, 3. Crimes against women, etc Counselors play an important role in order to bring amicable solution to matrimonial disputes. In physical abuse and torture cases ‘Domestic Information Report’ shall be filed and no attempt for counseling or settlement shall be made. ‘Inform consent’ that is women shall know their right to medical aid, maintains, compensation, live-in-matrimonial home, etc. then counseling can be attempted. Women are having rights which we require to protect and right should not be compromise. In matrimonial disputes confidentiality shall be maintained.
Scope of counselors have increased in because of ‘NRI Marriages’, ‘Family Court Litigations’, etc. it is been observed that 33 million population are NRIs. Protecting the individual dignity of women and giving justice is the real Women Empowerment.
Pune family court judge Mrs Sawant stated that, “ Gender Justice means no discrimination on the basis of sex. In India there is gender injustice as lot of cases of crime against women goes unreported; to stop the crime against women there shall be 1. Women police officers shall be appointed 2. Special help line numbers for women. Protection of legal rights of women, rehabilitation of children of prostitutes is the real Women Empowerment for which every citizen should fight.