Jaitun, commonly referred to as ‘Amma’, was committed to ensuring the reproductive rights of women and girls in India. She was particularly dedicated to advocating for those living in poverty and who are most marginalized, including Dalit and Muslim women and girls.
Jaitun was the vital force behind the case Jaitun v Janpura Maternity Home & Ors. Her perseverance for justice led to a ground-breaking judgment issued by the High Court of Delhi, holding the Indian government accountable for failing to deliver a number of its legally-binding obligations such as reproductive health care and the right to food.
Her daughter Fatema who was living under the poverty line was denied reproductive services and had to deliver her child in public, under a tree. At the time, both Jaitun and Fatema were homeless as a result of their home being demolished by the government as part of redevelopment and gentrification in New Delhi.
“The judgment has since been used by countless lawyers and activists globally, including the Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, not only as a source of inspiration but as a solid springboard to further justice.” - Jameen Kaur
Jaitun has inspired many other women living in poverty to claim their rights. She passed away in 2017.
“In Jaitun’s death, we have now lost an inimitable warrior for justice, but her spirit of defiance lives on.” - Jameen Kaur
“In my 18 years as a human rights advocate, I have not met a woman that has inspired and moved my spirit in the same way Amma did. Her roaring courage; her imitable humour - we used to compare her to the Bollywood actress Hema Melini - as she would be upset we had spent so much time away from her - she would say, with a twinkle in her eye, ‘You have forgotten Amma, Amma is not speaking to you’ and then with great dramatics turn her back, only to turn around laughing and stretching her arms out for a hug. Her kindness and ultimately her love and joy for love and the right for all of us to live with dignity. I miss her terribly.” - Jameen Kaur