Mahatma Gandhi’s pacifism often shed a veil over his regressive opinions on caste and gender. Thus, while, on one glance, Gandhi seems to acquire a non-conflicted figure, upholding compassion and peace, several of his social and political views are shrugged under the rugs of history. Following several of his own writings, which dispute his benevolence, Aseshita and Sonali ask what was so ‘priestly’ about Gandhi? Why do we need to remember even his flawed ideologies before claiming him as a nationalistic symbol every year on his birth anniversary?
In September, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 came to force, addressing the limitations of abortion laws in India. The case, Meera Santosh Pal vs Union of India, further exposes the issues with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 and explains why there was a desperate need for an amendment. Harsha Singh writes a case analysis for Meera Santosh Pal vs Union of India. Harsha also highlights other such cases that visibilised the issues with the 1971 Act.
Despite how consistent and common marital rape in India is, the idea of gender equality falls flat on its face when marital rape is given a subtle nudge from law, society and customs. The immunity to marital rape, too, like many other parts of the Indian code, is a British legacy, which can be traced back to the Jurist Mathew Hale, who laid the grounds for ‘marital immunity’. Aeshita Singh understands the recent Kerala High Court Judgment, which treats marital rape as a ground for divorce and then traces back to laws and social morality.
Among everything else against same-sex love in India, adoption rights for same-sex couples is a utopia. Although the institution of marriage is blotted with patriarchal notions of society, it is necessary to access certain rights. Hence, it is a non-negotiable and compulsory contract with the self and the state. Unfortunately, however, India hasn’t recognised same-sex marriage yet, let alone adoption rights for same-sex couples. Rhythm Kalra asks when will India confer adoption rights to same-sex couples in India.
‘Tera Naam’, ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, ‘Ranjhana’ are a few examples of glorification of harassment in Bollywood movies. Most of these movies and their perspectives are marked by a patriarchal mindset and masculine lens, often romanticising the victim’s trauma as an act of ‘falling in love’. Tejaswi Shetty studies such performances of stalking and harassment potent in contributing to crime against women. She also understands the role of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and how they could be effective.
The legality of live-in relationships in India is quite muzzled. While there’s no legislation defining live-in relationships in India, the judiciary hasn’t been averse to the idea. So even though it’s pretty common now, no legal protections are extended to couples as the state does not legally recognise the relationship. The subject offers a conundrum for the couple and often act as an impediment to access social security. Alekhya Sattigeri writes about the legal status of live-in relationships in India, detailing the judiciary’s stance on the same.
Indian colonial and post-colonial legislation and society together tried to push sex workers in India outside the domain of the ‘normal’. Even after independence, the shadow of moral chastity reflected on the drafting and interpreting laws that continued to create exclusionary spaces for sex workers in India by further invisibilising them. From criminalisation to victimisation, Shivangi Banerjee describes the derogation of sex workers in India.
In Part II of a three-part series, the article talks about the infiltration of colonial morals and how the anglicisation of selective religious text polluted the connotation of same-sex love in India. Thus, further inscribing British orthodox morality into the constitution and elsewhere. Deepanshi Mehrotra writes how S. 377 was implemented as a tool of disciplining desire. And even after independence was used for harassment by the police and society alike.
To find the meaning of queer as we know of it today, and locating its beginning is nearly impossible. Like language, the purpose of ‘queer’ and its significance has only evolved. From an idea to identify and finally becoming activism, ‘queer’ is not limited to how one defines themselves. It extends beyond the gender and sexuality paradigm; it presents marginalisation and change. Srinithi Sreepathy traces the beginning of the Stonewall movement, the making of pride and the evolution of the word ‘queer’. She also looks at the significance of the word in the Indian context.
This article is part of a three-article series that will discuss the history of homosexuality in India in pre-colonial and colonial times and the decriminalisation of Section 377. Historians often reference back to the pre-colonial times when speaking about same-sex love and its prevalence in mythology, vernacular literature and religious text. But many oppose homosexuality based on the reasoning that it subscribes to a western form of living. Deepanshi Mehrotra, in this article, as part of three-article series, will debunk the ‘western idealogy’ argument, countering literary and graphic evidence smothered across India’s monuments and scriptures.
On June 7, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court wrote a progressive judgment, setting new precedents for all cases that deal with LGBTQIA+ persons’ rights. The judgment is deemed exceptional for several reasons, but one of the many is his attempt to understand the processes he seeks to undo. Justice N. Venkatesh, through his actions, attempts to fully realise what it means to be queer in a heteronormative society. Vershika Sharma explains how Justice N. Venkatesh made an effort to overcome his biases to understand same-sex relationships. She argues that the same shifts how we see transformative constitutionalism. She argues that this movement is a progression from Navtej Johar judgment in implying the concept of ‘transformative constitutionalism’.
From 2001 to Pride month 2021, it’s only unfortunate that we bring you an article on ‘conversion therapy’, a brutal practice that continues to be in force in the country and worldwide. Deepanshi Mehrotra uncovers the history of conversion therapy and its abuses on LGBTQIA+ persons. Needless to say, the only thing abnormal about homosexuality is its unacceptance in Indian society.
While the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 garnered praise, abortion in India is still a question of morality concerning many religions. Even though India promulgated the Medical Termination Act in 1971, it was fraught with issues that were left unaddressed. Is the amendment successful in undoing the fallacies of the principal Act? What has been the role of the Indian Judiciary in this respect? Rujuta Joshi writes about the history of legalising abortion in India. She moves from the making of the MTP Act 1971 to the promulgation of MTP (Amendment) ACT 2021.
She also discusses the role of the Indian Judiciary, society and several administrative issues, which kept India from realising a woman’s choice and agency over her own body.
Even after Section 377 was decriminalised in India, homosexuality continues to be a taboo subject. And the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face social ostracization, one that is offered from within and outside the family. The present commentary by Disha Pathak briefly discusses society’s obsolete lens on homosexuality and the judiciaries’ own flaws in realising the 2018 Judgement.
Among the fifteen women in the Constituent Assembly, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur has a mighty little chance of being recalled. To be fair, she does have more search results on Google. Perhaps because of her title or her association with Gandhi. Both of these aspects were very much her, none less than the other. But she was certainly more than just it. Astha Jain lays down a lucid and detailed account of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur who was much more than her title and her Gandhian philosophy.
Though Section 149 (1) of the Companies Act, 2013, is touted for its progressive stance. But can a mandatory provision exhaust the patriarchal climate of the boardroom? Gayathri Balasubramanian asks some pressing questions on the efficacy and implementation of the provision. And if it will affect overall gender disparity and stereotypes in the workforce.
By Prerna Murarka, fourth-year law student, ILS Law College, Pune.