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We women want: Judgments in favour of woman

Today in this column we are celebrating the winners. We also find solutions and commiserate with those who need our support. Today we have the topic of today is very important. Today the discussion will takes place with Pail Chawla, the founder of Just Contract Us, which is actually an all-women law firm that specializes […]

Today in this column we are celebrating the winners. We also find solutions and commiserate with those who need our support. Today we have the topic of today is very important. Today the discussion will takes place with Pail Chawla, the founder of Just Contract Us, which is actually an all-women law firm that specializes in commercial law and arbitration. We have Thalesh Rai, the managing partner at the TRS Law Services and Ritu Dhurya, a lawyer who specializes in matrimonial cases, civil cases and criminal cases. So we have some very distinguished panel of women who know the law and speak well. There have been a lot of progressive judgments in this year. How has the women fared in the court of law? What are the laws that each and every woman should be aware of which work in her favour?

Q. Pail, about this year, what are the judgments that you would say?
A. We have had, of course, the famous abortion judgment that has come up in women’s favour. We have actually set a global trend in that sense. So I think that is a very powerful and important judgment because post -Dobbs, just after Dobbs came out in the US and I have always said this, that whatever happens in the United States, it is not really confined to the United States because it then sort of follows a trend worldwide. So the window is between what is permissible is 20 weeks and you cannot go beyond the 24th week. So in the 23rd week, she had wanted a termination of the pregnancy. The Delhi High Court said, look, I am bound by the Act because that talks only about married women. So the Supreme Court then said that this violates the equality principle under Article 14. And there is no reason why it should be only confined to women. So the Supreme Court actually said that the words married woman would be replaced by any woman. The word husband would be replaced by partner, which is very progressive. And what I think very important with the court also said one thing more in that judgment. It said that the word rape would also include marital rape. So that’s a very, very progressive judgment. I think it’s 2022.

Q. Thailish, about this and other judgments that you would like to talk about?
A. So I think overall I would first like to get into the picture of what the status of law is. And there are two things that need to be understood. One is the law that is applicable to women in this country, which is by far very, very progressive, short of the Nordic countries whether you look at maternity benefit, domestic violence, medical termination of pregnancy and its interpretations. The law is progressive. The problem that actually does arise is out of the fact that the law as such is also in some senses inspirational. And therefore it tries to bring about the social change that is there by giving the right to equality, by giving a right in terms of what is a right against domestic violence or violence even at a workplace under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act. So all that is there, but the implementation on the ground as well as wanting to agitate for it in courts, both of them there is a bit of an issue in terms of either woman don’t demand it or there is a lag in terms of the implementation of it.

Q. But having said that our courts have been tremendously progressive. There is the medical termination of pregnancy X versus NCT. Then there is another one that came out from Goa. The Supreme Court has put it versus the state of Goa where Justice Hima Kohli came down very strongly saying that what is happening in terms of prevention of sexual harassment at workplace in the backdrop of a lot of agitations that have been taking place recently.
A. And she said that everybody must actually report in including government bodies as to what they are doing about it. Then there was another judgment that came out by the High Court of Madras which said that any property that is acquired both by a man and a woman during the time period of a marriage is as much the woman’s work even if she has been a so -called housewife because that’s a recognition of the fact that women’s labor at home even though it is not included as a part of the GDP is pretty much a part of the family kitty that is what enables another person to go out. So we have had off late we’ve had a lot of progressive judgments that have come through but we must also keep in mind that throughout when we look at it India did not have a suffocate movement we got our right to vote as a part of the constitution. And therefore the courts have been repeatedly been very very progressive when it comes to women’s right and that’s something where when I sometimes see and as Mam was saying about how the courts across the world look at women’s right.

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