On 19.09.2016, a Division Bench of the High Court of Bombay delivered a landmark verdict in a suo motu Public Interest Litigation recognizing that imprisoned women, like other women, have the right to make choices with regard to motherhood and right to facilities to undergo safe abortions.
With utmost respect to the Supreme Court, it is absolutely incorrect to state that domestic violence is gender-neutral. It is not. The world over, a vast majority of domestic violence is experienced by women at the hands of men. It is not a random event of violence but is a consequence and a cause of women’s inequality and is linked to the discrimination and devaluing of women. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, reported cases of domestic violence in India went up from 50,703 in 2003 to 1,18,866 in 2013. These are all cases of domestic violence against men. The U.K. Violent Crime and Sexual Offences study of 2011-2012 reported that 80 per cent of offenders in domestic or sexual violence were male.
This post is authored by Aishwarya Suresh Nair, IIIrd Year Student of the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She is currently interning with CLPR.
The Supreme Court has been predominantly lauded in 2015 for its far-reaching judgment in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India that expansively interpreted the freedom of speech. But we must not forget that the Supreme Court and some of the High Courts have rendered a few prominent judgments that have upheld women’s rights significantly in 2015.
While conducting a study of the Fast Track Courts that have been instituted in Bangalore to try cases of rape and sexual assault, it was startling to discover that out of the 12 cases that have been disposed of by the FTCs since their establishment, 11 resulted in acquittals. The only case which resulted in the conviction of the accused was for the offence of “attempt to rape” and not rape. In this case, the court heavily relied on the medical reports which stated that the victim was “used to having sexual intercourse.”1 This conclusion was drawn by the Medical Officer upon conducting the two-finger test”.
The gruesome gang rape in Delhi in December 2012 re-ignited popular demands for fast-track courts to be established to conduct speedy trials in cases of sexual violence against women and on August 13, 2013, the Government of Karnataka passed an order (G.O. No.74 LCE 2013, dated 13.08. 2013) directing 10 fast track courts to be set up in Karnataka solely to try cases of rape and sexual assault against women. CLPR conducted a detailed study of the setup and working of these fast track courts.
On the 8th of November 2013, CLPR hosted Chitra Balakrishnan who presented her research paper titled “Understanding gender and judging through residence orders in Karnataka Trial Courts – A discourse analysis”.
Her research seeks to answer three main questions: Are judges in the lower courts in India making reasoned feminists judgments? Can the Hunter framework apply to trial court orders? What are the additional criteria one needs to look at to call a judgment feminist?
The US Supreme Court’s decision last month in US v Windsor has been celebrated around the world as a progressive step in gay rights and legalizing same-sex marriages. Even in India, it is anticipated that this judgment will be able to leave an impact on the pending Naz appeal decision in the Supreme Court. Although Naz and Windsor deal with different issues (decriminalization of homosexual acts in Naz and, recognition of same-sex marriages in Windsor), the fundamental concern is to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
A brief of the most important international rules in the matter of male/female equality.
The 2013 United Nations theme for International Women’s Day fits into the theme of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women being held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. Making the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls its major theme, the session seeks to focus on two key areas – (1) the prevention of violence and (2) the provision of support systems and rehabilitative measures to victims of violence.