Justice Prabha Sridevan is truly a name worth mentioning, when speaking about people in the legal fraternity who have had made various landmark judgments in order to uphold the true meaning of justice. She is the fifth woman judge appointed to the Madras High Court, where she emphasised on women’s rights in many of her judgments during her ten-year tenure as the sitting judge.
Post retirement, she was appointed as the Chairman, Intellectual Property Appellate Board, from 2011-2013. She has also headed the think tank that was meant to draft the country’s IPR Policy and is one among the three Indians who have been listed as the 50 most influential people in IPR, 2014-2015, by international journal Managing Intellectual Property.
She has compiled her thoughts and experiences, which enthused and filled her with passion as the sitting judge at Madras High Court, into a book ‘Of Vineyard Equality’, which comprises articles and speeches written by her on topics relating to human rights, women’s rights, and IPR.
The launching ceremony of the book that has been published by LexLab, dedicated to publishing and distributing law books, took place on November 20 at 4 p.m. at the Inter-University Centre for IPR Studies, CUSAT, Kochi. The centre’s director Prof. Dr. N.S. Gopalakrishnan was also present at the event.
The ceremony commenced with a welcome speech, which was followed by a keynote address by Justice Muhamed Mustaque, judge at the High Court of Kerala. In his speech, he emphasized on how actual justice does not prevail in a court room or in a judge’s judgment, but in society. He said that people as a society should differentiate that justice is to treat fellow beings without discrimination and understand the true meaning of equality from within, rather that counting on to courts and judges to provide that.
The first copy of the book was presented by Justice Muhamed Mustaque to Dr. K.N. Chandrasekharan Pillai, former Director of National Judicial Academy, former Director of Indian Law Institute, former Director and Dean, Faculty of CUSAT, and former member of Law Commission of India.
The book presentation was followed by a special address by Director, School of Legal Studies, CSAT, Dr. P.S. Seema on the legal explanation of equality where she described various landmark cases of our country, wherein the provisions of the Constitution on equality was questioned. Through her speech, she effortlessly described how the clash between personal laws and fundamental laws were dealt with in different cases and justice was provided by a change in interpretation of these laws. She ended her speech by questioning every citizen who demands equality in a pluralistic country like ours, inspite of blindly following the way rules and laws are interpreted by religious heads.
Justice Ruma Pal, former Supreme Court judge, said about the book, “Justice Sridevan’s thought-provoking opinions lucidly and almost conversationally expressed, engages the reader, whether from a legal or non-legal background, to participate in her passionate commitment to the delivery of justice particularly on human rights issues.”
Justice Prabha Sridevan, during the author’s address, backing what Justice Mustaque and Dr. Seema said, termed justice as an elusive concept. She said that her book is about the “laws that thwart justice”. She explained that the meaning of justice keeps on changing according to the laws in different cases, depending upon its nature. She further explained that the phrase ‘Vineyard Equality’, which part of her book’s title, was inspired by the thought of Albie Sachs, a former judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, who according to her is one of the greatest judges to uphold fraternity, equality, and justice.
You can buy Of Vineyard Equality here.
DISCLOSURE: The Kochi Post’s Executive Editor Raghul Sudheesh is the founder of Lex Lab.