Geeta Luthra is not just a lawyer but somewhat of a crusader. At least her case portfolios going back decades, suggest so. Practising since 1980s, she has fought dozens of cases relating to bails in offences against women, women’s right to claim maintenance or properties which have been devolved upon the husband from his ancestors — all tough and complicated. But she never let up.
Many recall a case she fought for the right to employment of transgenders in the paramilitary forces in India. “Law was always considered a male-dominated profession but I was so passionate for law. I decided to break the glass ceiling and both my parents have supported me fully all this while,” Geeta says, smiling, with some nostalgia. Ask Geeta about her daughter Shivani, who too has taken to law and she is fulsome in her praise. “She is a thorough professional and beautifully manages her work and hobbies. I never asked Shivani to join this profession; it was her own decision.”
For Shivani, her mother is not only her role model but her ‘best buddy’ in whom she confides everything, from ‘personal matters to issues professional.’ Discussing about a case where her mother was supposed to appear but could not, Shivani said she stepped in before Justice Mukta Gupta to request a pass over. “The court, however, asked me to start the arguments. It was a murder case and since I had read the file thoroughly, I began my arguments. When my mother got free from her case and entered the courtroom, and sat quietly and witnessed me arguing the case.”
“Though my mother always appreciates me for everything I do, but after my first case arguments, in which I secured an acquittal, I saw in her eyes a sense of pride which I can never forget,” a happy Shivani said.
Shivani agrees that there is a barrier for women as far as litigation is concerned as it requires a lot of time and preparation and many don’t get such support from their families like she and her mother did. — Kanu Sarda