The cases were mostly related to child custody, dissolution of marriages and divorce in which women petitioners sought absolute privacy and did not want their information publicised. They now preferred to withdraw their cases and wanted to settle out of court.
On average 256 cases were filed on a monthly basis in five district courts of the city throughout the year. These had since then been withdrawn, sources in the city courts disclosed to The News. Similar numbers of pre-mature cases were also withdrawn, as women were reluctant to undergo court proceedings in front of the men criminals who were also brought into the same courts. A 108-page summary, asking that women’s affairs in the court to be purely dealt with by the women judges and lawyers, sent to the federal ministry of law by the Women Lawyers Association and Non-governmental organisations, was put in the cold storage due to ‘bureaucratic hurdles’ and no action has been taken by the government, sources confided to The News. The summary copy was also submitted to the Karachi Bar Association for prompt action, but that, too, the source said, was not taken into consideration. The women lawyers said that due to low literacy, many of the women complainants were unaware of their basic legal rights. To make them aware of the rights enshrined in religion and in the country’s law, a separate counselling room should also be established in the court premises, they suggested. The women, mostly from the lower class areas and not educated, should be given guidelines regarding their cases.As a matter of fact, one of the prominent requests in that summary was that cases of domestic affairs, such as child custody, dissolution of marriages and divorce cases, which required confidentiality, should be conducted in courtrooms where men shouldn’t be allowed to enter. Justifying the summary, the women lawyers viewed that about 3,100 cases of women issues were withdrawn, as they wanted to settle these issues out of court on the account of maintaining secrecy.Furthermore, it also stated that computerised system should be introduced where the data of these cases should be collected. The source disclosed that dilly-dallying tactics were being used to stall the formal presentation of the summary, because it would shatter the dominance of men, who do not want issues to be settled in private. The women lawyers lamented that the government has set all laws and reforms which favours men and hasn’t taken any step to ease the affairs of women’s cases, who now hesitate to come to the courts for their familial matters.
Source: The News