Five Most Controversial Cases Related to Women in India

1. Shah Bano case, was a controversial maintenance lawsuit in which a 62-year-old Muslim mother of five from Indore, was divorced by her husband in 1978, where she won the right to alimony from her husband in Supreme Court. However, pressure from Islamic orthodoxy ensured the court order was rejected by parliament because the judgement in favour of the woman in this case evoked criticisms among Muslims some of whom cited Quran to show that the judgement was in conflict with Islamic law. It triggered controversy about the extent of having different civil codes for different religions, especially for Muslims in India. This case caused the Congress government, with its absolute majority, to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 which diluted the judgment of the Supreme Court and, in reality, denied even utterly destitute Muslim divorcées the right to alimony from their former husbands.

2. The Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra Case of February 15, 1983 was a historic judgment that dealt with the issue of custodial violence against women in prisons. This resulted in an order facilitating separate police lockups for women convicts in order to shield them from further trauma and brutality.

3. Jessica Lal was a model in New Delhi, who was working as a celebrity barmaid at a crowded socialite party when she was shot dead at around 2 am on 30 April 1999. Dozens of witnesses pointed to Siddharth Vashisht, also known as Manu Sharma, the son of Venod Sharma, a wealthy and influential Congress-nominated Member of Parliament from Haryana, as the murderer. In the ensuing trial, Manu Sharma and a number of others were acquitted on 21 February 2006. Following intense media and public pressure, the prosecution appealed and the Delhi High Court conducted proceedings on a fast track with daily hearings conducted over 25 days. The trial court judgment was overturned, and Manu Sharma was found guilty of having murdered Lal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 20 December 2006.

4. Bhanwari Devi (also spelled Bahveri Devi) is an Indian dalit social-worker from Bhateri, Rajasthan, who was allegedly gang raped in 1992 by higher-caste men angered by her efforts to prevent a child marriage in their family. Her subsequent treatment by the police, and court acquittal of the accused, attracted widespread national and international media attention, and became a landmark episode in India’s women’s rights movement.

5. Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan was a 1997 Indian Supreme Court case where Vishakha and other women groups filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against State of Rajasthan and Union of India to enforce the fundamental rights of working women under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The court decided that the consideration of “International Conventions and norms are significant for the purpose of interpretation of the guarantee of gender equality, right to work with human dignity in Articles 14, 15 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution and the safeguards against sexual harassment implicit therein. The judgment of August 1997 provided the basic definitions of sexual harassment at the workplace and provided guidelines to deal with it.

Rahul Choudhury

Media Team

Fiinovation

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s