The lower house of the Parliament passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020 (hereafter Bill) in the current budget session on March 17, 2020. This bill amends the earlier Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. Some key features of the new Bill include: Extension of the gestation period for termination of pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, directions to constitute a Medical Board in every State and protecting the privacy of women whose pregnancy has been terminated.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) which is considered to be of the better piece of legislation protecting women’s rights and dignity, seems to be so only on paper in the Chennai, especially in the Collectorate and its subordinate offices. The executive authorities appear uninterested in implementing this progressive law and awareness about this law is lacking among employers, employees, and workplaces including companies, shops, households, and government organizations alike. This scenario does not only hold for rural areas but also to the metropolitan city like Chennai.
On 27th January 2020, CLPR organized a workshop titled ‘Tackling caste discrimination through Law’, for activists, NGO representatives, and CSO representatives. The workshop aimed at enabling and facilitating a better understanding of caste discrimination laws such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and The Andhra Pradesh Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act, 1982.
On 9th March, 2019, Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) organised a one-day consultation with Centre for Reproductive Rights (CRR), to discuss the implementation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA) and the 2016 Karnataka Amendment to the PCMA.
Two days before the International Women’s Day, UNICEF reported on 6th March 2018 that there had been a downward trend in child marriages globally and in the past decade the number of underage marriages in India had nearly halved.
The Press Conference sought to spread awareness about the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Independent Thought v. Union of India and the implications of this decision.
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.
Podcast on CLPR’s interventions against Child Marriage. Learn about our research into, and litigation against, Child Marriage and Marital Rape Exception.
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.
hile endorsing these criticisms of the draft bill, CLPR has in its comments to the Ministry, highlighted some additional points of concern and has suggested measures which could possibly strengthen the law. For instance, with regard to the enforcement mechanism, CLPR has suggested that it is imperative that there be an identification of nodal authorities such as the National Commission for Women, the Juvenile justice authorities as well as the Labour Department, which are crucial to the smooth and coordinated enforcement of the provisions of the bill. These nodal authorities can receive complaints and take the assistance of support services provided by stakeholders and non-governmental organizations, such as Childline.
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.
The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development has proposed a repeal and re-enactment of the existing Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (the JJ Act 2000), the primary law in the country dealing with children in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection. CLPR provided its comments to the Ministry on two aspects of the proposed draft Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children), Bill 2014 – the treatment of children between the ages of 16 and 18 who are alleged to be in conflict with the law and the provisions relating to foster care.
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?
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.
A law on sexual harassment at workplace has been one of the most awaited and anticipated laws since the landmark ruling of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, (1997) 6 SCC 241 where the Supreme Court observed that sexual harassment at workplace constituted a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Making the above observation, the Court in an unprecedented move, proceeded to lay down guidelines that were to be followed in all workplaces until a suitable domestic law is provided for by the legislature. Another remarkable and novel feature of the judgment was its inclusion of the private sector apart from the public sector in its direction for employers to establish sufficient preventive and remedial systems in the workplace for female employees.