May 1

Supreme court’s judgements on womens rights

The Supreme Court is trying its best to break and do away with all such traditional norms that look down upon women, has given judgments to prevent violence against women and to put them equally as men in the society, latest judgements are evident of judicial activism.

Two finger test, it’s like getting raped once again: Lillu Rajesh & Anr vs State Of Haryana.

For the first time, the Supreme Court in this case realized the agony and trauma of a rape victim who had to go through two finger test give her character certification and after analyzing through various precedents, held that it is violation of victim’s right to privacy and dignity.
It held: “In view of International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights 1966; United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power 1985, rape survivors are entitled to legal recourse that does not retraumatize them or violate their physical or mental integrity and dignity. They are also entitled to medical procedures conducted in a manner that respects their right to consent. Medical procedures should not be carried out in a manner that constitutes cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and health should be of paramount consideration while dealing with gender-based violence. The State is under an obligation to make such services available to survivors of sexual violence. Proper measures should be taken to ensure their safety and there should be no arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy. Thus, in view of the above, undoubtedly, the two finger test and its interpretation violate the right of rape survivors to privacy, physical and mental integrity and dignity. Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to presumption of consent.”
The decision is definitely applaud able as it gave a sense of confidence and security to the rape victims. It did not grant any new right because women have already been conferred right to privacy by our Constitution but, it stopped the violation of their right to privacy and dignity which was going on from years and years and that too was of no use in the investigation. The Supreme Court very objectively and scientifically determined if it was helpful or not and even if it could be helpful, there can be nothing that can be kept on a pedestal higher than a woman’s dignity, that too an already traumatized woman. In my opinion, it was the repetition of the same crime against women behind the veil of legal medical procedures.

Stop Acid attacks, regulate and restrict the sale of acid: Laxmi v. Union of India.
On account of increase in number of acid attacks on women in the past few years, Supreme Court in order to curb these gave directions to Home Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs associating the Secretary, Ministry of Chemical & Fertilizers to convene a meeting of the Chief Secretaries/concerned Secretaries of the State Governments and the Administrators of the Union Territories to curb and restrict the sale of acid throughout the country.
Acid attacks on women and girls in 2013 and 2014 have been 56 and 47 in number respectively as per the statistics of acid survivors’ organization.

Acid attack on a women is equal to taking away her identity from her and such rampant increase in this heinous crime was leading to terror amongst women and Supreme Court took a vital step and certainly led to the empowerment of women to an extent and was an important step towards the safety of women in country.

Unwed mothers need not name the child’s father: ABC v. The State (NCT of Delhi)

Supreme Court in this latest and landmark judgment declared that now, an unwed mother is not bound to disclose the name of child’s father and also, she would have all the rights as a guardian to child under guardianships rights. She need not take father’s consent for guardianship rights. Not only it was necessary to protect the child from social stigma but, also to protect mother’s fundamental right. It was certainly an avant-garde verdict on gender quality.
The Court emphasized that Section 6(b) of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 makes specific provisions with respect to natural guardians of illegitimate children, and in this regard gives primacy to the mother over the father. Mohammedan law too accords the custody of illegitimate children to the mother and her relations. Name of father is always a myth while it is only mother whose name the person can always be sure of because she gave birth to him/her. This is one of the reasons why a mother should be given primacy or at least equality to exercise guardianship rights over the child. This judgment is evident of the fact that the highest court of land is deeply indulged in empowering women because it is the key to Nation’s development.

Living under the same roof, you are married under law: Dhannulal and ors. V. Ganeshram and ors.

In this case, it was held by the division bench that continuous cohabitation of a couple together that is, ‘live-in relationship’ would raise the presumption of marriage unless otherwise proven. This was a case regarding the dispute for the property that their grandfather possessed would also be inherited by the woman with whom he lived for 20 years or not as she was not his legally wedded wife. The appellants referred to her as his ‘mistress’ but, not wife. The woman clearly failed to prove that she was the legally wedded wife of deceased but, the bench still held that she was eligible to inherit the property.
Generally, our society views the woman who lives with a man without getting married as his ‘keep’ or ‘mistress’ and looks down upon her which clearly means that she is deprived of her right to choose whether to marry or not. While it is also the societal fact that man doing this will never be condemned, the woman is seen as characterless and does not gets the rights of legally-wedded wife whereas she does all her duties of a wife. Supreme Court in this case decided to take a step to change such orthodox notions and gave women their right to choose whether to marry or not.

The Supreme Court is trying its best to break and do away with all such traditional norms that look down upon women, has given judgments to prevent violence against women and to put them equally as men in the society.

May 1

A panic button towards safety

In a bid to prevent crimes against women, all mobile phones sold in India will soon have a physical panic button installed. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Department of Telecommunications announced on Twitter that the new rule will go into effect in January 2017. When pressed, the panic button will send an alert to police and people chosen by the phone’s user.

A release by the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau said regulators decided a physical panic button is better than an app, however, because “a woman in distress does not have more than a second or two to send out a distress message as a perpetrator will often reach out to her mobile phone in the event of a physical/sexual assault.”

While we appreciate this initiative by the Government of India and feel it is a step in the right direction, we also feel that it is once again a case of looking for cures rather than preventive techniques. Although, helplines and panic buttons are a start in this endeavour, but there is no guarantee that they will help reduce crimes like rape. For one thing, about 70 percent of incidents are committed in homes by people known to victims, which makes them harder to prevent. Furthermore, the majority of crimes against women are still unreported because of social stigma and cumbersome legal procedures—issues that can’t be solved by a button or phone number.

Once a case is reported, there are a number of mechanisms which come into play- such as the role of police, availability of ambulances, legal redressal systems and social stigma. It is also important for the policy makers to take these myriad of forces into consideration, when addressing crimes against women. So while we do feel that the presence of panic buttons will definitely increase the reporting of crimes against women, other systems also need to be in place for it to be truly effective.

April 17

Remedies available to women against Domestic Violence

Women are always considered as physically and emotionally weaker than men. Whereas at present women have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men. Due to their hard work whether at home or working places. Behind closed doors of homes all across our country, women are being tortured, beaten and killed. It is happening in rural areas, towns, cities and in metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups.But offences against women reflects the pathetic reality that women are just not safe and secure anywhere.

The term used to describe this exploding problem of violence within our homes is ‘Domestic Violence’. This violence is towards someone who we are in a relationship with, be it a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparent or any other family member. It can be a male’s or a female’s atrocities towards another male or a female. Anyone can be a victim and a victimizer. This violence has a tendency to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual or emotional. ‘Domestic Violence’ includes harms or injuries which endangers women’s health, safety, life, limb or well being, whether mental or physical. It may also be through physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse.

According to ‘United Nation Population Fund Report’, around two-third of married Indian women are victims of Domestic Violence attacks and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex.

What amounts to domestic violence against women?
Domestic Violence undoubtedly is a human rights issue where it is very important to know what actually leads to act of domestic violence. The most common causes for women stalking and battering include arguing with the partner, refusing to have sex with the partner, neglecting children, going out of home without telling the partner, not cooking properly or on time, indulging in extra marital affairs, not looking after in-laws etc.

Exploitation of women is prevalent in society in form of demanding more dowry, discrimination of women, alienation of women’s self acquired property fraudulently, torture by husband and in-laws,cruelty by husband or in-laws mentally or physically, abusing & insulting by using vulgar language, sexual harassment, molestation, immoral traffic, rape, sodomy and all other inhuman acts. In all above stated causes women are subjected to torture and will be considered as the aggrieved person. Usually violence takes place due to lack of understandings between the couple as well as in the family.

Remedies available.

To prevent violence against women and to protect the rights of aggrieved women, the legislation ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’ was passed by the parliament. According to this act every women who have been deprived of their right to life by the act of husband or relatives of the husband, can file a complaint to the protection officer, police officer or magistrate in the form of ‘Domestic Incident Report’ (Similar to FIR). Complaint can be filed by the victim /aggrieved person or relatives, it will be considered as the prima-facie evidence of the offence. Every ‘Domestic Incident Report’ has to be prepared by the Protection Officer which will assist in the further investigation of the incidence. The protection officer will pass certain orders i.e. protection of the women, custody of respondent and order of monetary relief to the victim.

April 14

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