Landmark Verdicts Of 2016 That Matter To Indian Women
As far as moving up in terms of gender equality is concerned, some landmark judgments were passed this year. While in the democratic state of India the fundamental rights of men and women have always been given equal precedence, a few archaic laws were amended this year. Also, new laws were formulated to bring women to the forefront in terms of women becoming the head of the family and some more. SheThePeople.TV spoke with lawyer Mayank Mikhail Mukherjee to know more about the laws that matter to women. Here is a list of some of the laws that saw changes in 2016 to benefit women:
Entry of women in Temples and Mosques
This year, not one but two religions opened doors to the inner sanctum of shrines to facilitate women’s entry that was earlier barred. Trupti Desai, leader of Bhumata Brigade, a women’s activist group, fought for women’s right to enter temples. The verdict came from the Bombay High Court in April to allow women into the temple, following which the Shani Shignapur temple trust opened its doors to women.
Not one but two religions opened doors to the inner sanctum of shrines to facilitate women’s entry that was earlier barred
This was followed by Noorjehan S Niaz, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), starting a rebellion to enter the Haji Ali Dargah. The dargah had barred women’s entry about five years ago, but opened doors in a ceremonious manner on November 29 after the Supreme Court made it mandatory for them to let women enter.
On this, Mukherjee said, “Now what is happening is that even religious places where women were not allowed and were considered the bastions of male heritage are coming down. Apart from the courts, the credit needs to be given to the religious leaders who are altering their views to the whole scenario.”
He added, “On the first day of Haji Ali allowing women’s entry, the religious leaders were actually very kind and made it a cordial affair rather than dealing with it acrimoniously, which it could have been.”
The on-going debate on Triple Talaq and the All India Muslim Personal Law’s consistent approach to save it found some relief in the recent Allahabad High Court’s decision. According to the judgment of Justice Suneet Kumar of the Allahabad HC, the practice of Triple Talaq violates the rights of women. It has deemed Triple Talaq unconstitutional and said that no Personal Law is above the Constitution of India.
The practice of Triple Talaq violates the rights of women
Mukherjee applauded the HC’s judgment and said that it is true that Triple Talaq is actually dehumanising against constitutional values and Islam would not do that as Triple Talaq is not written in the holy book of Quran. “There are certain basic human values that must be followed by every religion, irrespective of what is stated or what a particular community wants. For example, if there was a similar provision like Triple Talaq or any other demeaning provision in any other religion, that should go too.”
He explained that Islam is at the centre of focus because it affects a large number of women across the country belonging to that religion. The Constitution protects the secular values keeping in mind the religious sentiments of the people, which is why Personal Laws are there in the country.
Daughter-in-law’s rights in matrimonial house
The SC passed a judgment in May this year that daughters-in-law cannot be thrown out of their matrimonial house at any time. This judgment was passed when the court was dealing with a man who tortured his wife till the point of suicide. Mukherjee told us about the Navneet Arora case where the woman’s husband had died and she was being chased out of her matrimonial house by her mother-in-law. To this, the Delhi HC concluded that women are entitled to have the right of residence in the joint family property under the provision as laid down in Section 2 (s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Women as the ‘Karta’ of the family
The Delhi High Court in January this year ruled that now the eldest member of the family — even if she is a woman — can be the karta (head) of the family. Mukherjee tells us why it is a monumental judgment, “The Karta of the family is essentially the person who runs the Hindu Undivided Family. They are the people who are supposed to take care of everyone’s finances in the family; they can also buy and sell property in the name of the undivided family.”
He added, “This move is a complete demolition of the patriarchal structure that was existing and nothing can be more invigorating and freeing than that. It is a direct shift from patriarchy to equality between men and women.”
Feature Picture credit- Pic by lookism