Recently, the Calcutta High Court entertained a public interest petition to add space for the inclusion of the candidate's mother's name and her details to the advocate enrolment forms and identity cards issued by the BCI. The existing forms only include the name or details of the candidate's father and husband, which clearly outlines the discriminatory and patriarchal approach undertaken. Moreover, such practice was biased towards the candidates with single mothers and violative of his/ her fundamental rights. The PIL, filed by Adv. Mrinalini Majumdar contended, "A single mother's child is also a citizen of this country, and no one can infringe any of his/her fundamental rights which are guaranteed."
Advocates Phiroze Edulji, M Majumdar, and Pallavi Priyadarsheee argued before the court that the candidate's paternal guardianship or marital status is not the sole yardstick for enrolment as an advocate. The current form is violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19(g), and 21 of the Constitution as it refuses to grant a place to a candidate whose sole parental identification is his/her mother. The petitioners also referred to a decision of the Kerala High Court stating that "every person has the right to include their mother's name alone in their birth certificate and other documents."
Furthermore, it was argued that the petitioners had already raised this issue with the BCI and State Bar Council. However, no response was received from their end to the petitioner. Hence in their view, a mother's role and importance in a child's life is blatantly being ignored on the pretext of the continuance of this anomaly till now. Hence, they sought that, along with the addition of the mother's details in all future forms, all the previously enrolled advocates willing to do the same should be allowed to do so by an amendment.
Consequently, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj issued a notice on the issue. They sought the response of the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of West Bengal on the aforementioned matter within four weeks. The case was listed for further hearing on February 6, 2023.
Refer to the following case for more details- Mrinalini Majumdar v Bar Council of India.