The students were also taken aback by the lack of proper record keeping and asked why there were fewer women judges and lawyers compared to males in the profession.
The group of 17 Swedish students have been in the city for a month now. So far they have visited the de-addiction centre Muktangan and Atmasantulan village in Karla. After arriving at the district court, the students were annoyed by the foul smell from the public toilet. They said they had never seen a public toilet in such a bad condition in a court building.
One of them, Evelina, said the files and the records were also kept in an untidy manner. “The files were lying scattered,” Evelina said. “There should be a proper system to keep them in order.” She also said the unhygienic public toilets was a matter of concern. Another student, Kajsa, said that during her visit to the court she had noticed that when it came to lawyers and judges, the ratio of women to men was not equal.
“We had heard before visiting the court that male to female ratio of lawyers and judges is unequal and now we have noticed it ourselves after visiting the court,” Kajsa said. “In our country, women occupy high positions, but here we find very few women lawyers. We even raised this question with a judge we met, but we didn’t receive a satisfactory answer.”
The visit was arranged by Sahyog Trust, which has been taking students from abroad on visits of social organisations in the city for 13 years. “Along with showing them the judicial system of the district, the basic concept behind this visit is to check whether there is scope for social intervention in cases like sexual harassment, rape, acid attacks and domestic violence,” lawyer Asim Sarode, one of the founders of the trust, said.
Bar Council president Ashok Sankpal said it would not be correct to say the male to female ratio was skewed by observing the proceedings in court for just one day. “It is because of the festival that yesterday women lawyers were on leave and that was the reason the students saw an unequal ratio,” Sankpal said. “Also, there is insufficient space to keep all the files in order. Now, though, the municipal corporation has permitted FSI that can be used to store the records.”
He also blamed the insufficient water supply in the area for the poor condition of toilets.