At first the question arises why has this particular topic been selected? The topic is of great importance because a woman is not only a creator of the world. She gives birth to a child and cares for the health, education etc. She maintains the child properly and makes the future of nation. Considering her importance seminars are held at national and international level.
Now we are in the era of 21st century and the present position of the Indian women is the ultimate result of the efforts already made till now towards the amelioration.
Gender justice is a universal concern and considering its importance Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDA) has been passed by the United Nations in the year in 1979 and signed by India in July 1993.
Its importance can also be assessed from the celebration of the year 2001 as Women’s Empowerment Year. Not only this, after celebration of the Women’s Empowerment Year, the then President of India K.R. Narayanan in his last republic day address, had expressed his great concern over the increasing number of crimes against women. Earlier a Convention on the Political Rights of Women was also adopted on December 20, 1952 by the General Assembly which came into force on July 7, 1954. The Convention provides that the women shall be represented at par with men. Not only this, its importance is so much that, every year, 8th march is celebrated as International Women’s Day as a mark of her respect.
For the amelioration of Indian women provisions have been made under personal laws, Criminal law and Dowry law etc. No doubt, to a great extent, till now the efforts made in this regard, is praise worthy.
But, during recent years the issue has been politicized which appears unjust. Efforts to pass Women’s Reservation Bill could not succeed due to politics only. It is worth mentioning that due to vote politics even the progressive judgment like Mohd. Ahmad Khan v. Shah Bano Begum A.I.R. 1985 S.C. 945 delivered by Hon’ble Supreme Court has already been superseded by enacting Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 which consists of so many drawbacks that it can be titled as Muslim Men (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 instead of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, another legislation of Parliament is being misused now days. Dowry is given even in the presence of our Political leaders.
Politics is so much involved that in the name of amelioration of housewives, a Congress M.P., Saroj Khaparde had decided to introduce even the Housewives (Compulsory Weekly Holiday from Domestic Chores) Bill, 1996.
The bill provides that notwithstanding any custom, convention, ritual and tradition, it shall be the duty of family members, particularly that of the head of the family, to ask every housewife to select a particular day of the week as holiday from all domestic Chores so as to enable the housewife to take rest and enjoy the day according to her wishes. The day will free her of all domestic responsibilities, leaving it upon the other family members. Not only this, Bill provides for compensation in the shape of a fine which may extend to Rs. 1000 on any family member contravening its provisions. But all hopes were dashed to the ground and the bill was criticized by general public, and could not be introduced and passed, because it was felt that it is not possible to implement it practically in Indian homes as the duties in homes are discharged as per demarcation.1
Considering its significance the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has been passed. But it also has loopholes, under Sec 3(d) (iii) of the Act, the use of term ‘verbal abuse’ is wide enough to include any informal word such as ‘fatty’, ‘Shorty’ etc. that we often use. As a result of which healthy and vigorous dialogue would become impossible, conversation would lose its flavor and it would also plant seeds for marital discord.
It appears that mere enactment of the Protection of Woman from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is not sufficient and something more is required. Under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, National and State Commissions for the cause of child including the female child were to be established but even after 5 years they have yet not been established by several governments2.
After the Deorala case in which Roop Kanwar performed Sati, The Commission on Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 was enacted but in spite of that, even today the anniversary of Roop Kanwar’s Sati is celebrated every year in full public view which is in the knowledge of our Political leaders and more and more cases of Sati are taking place even today.
What the worst is that The National Commission for Women constituted under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 is still a tiger waiting for its teeth. The Commission has not even got a good grip over the woman’s issue in India. Nobody really listens to the Commission.
The members of the National Commission for Women claim that as they are dependent on the government, they have little powers. Any organization cannot be both strong and dependent. For the Commission to function independently, initiative will have to be taken by the organization itself. Appointments will be political but there actions need not ne necessarily be so.
The question arises as to why political leaders, especially those who have no basic knowledge of law, are so much interested only to enact the laws but not to comply. It appears that they have so much spare time. They feel pleased to know that such and such problem has been arisen, and now the law can be passed in this regard. They feel great pleasure that more and more police personnel’s will be required, more and more advocates will be required, more and more judges will be required, and in such recruitment, political interference may also be made. If the government is interested to tackle the problem in real sense why is the government not complying with the directions and guidelines issued by Honorable Supreme Court in January, 20105 in which the Apex Court has observed that the government is required special police force to tackle the problem of child prostitution.
I would like to draw the kind attention of the political leaders that if the government is really interested for the emancipation of Indian women, then why are the maids, a section most vulnerable to abuse, excluded from the purview of the Bill Against Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work?6 Isn’t it shameful? In the name of advancement it is really a mockery of law.
Before concluding I wish to draw your kind attention on a new social evil. Just like me and you, the political leaders also receive unwanted messages on their mobile phones ‘Parul Se Dosti Karoge? Dial on Mobile no. such & such.’ What actions are being taken by them in this regard? They must explain their position.
It appears unjust. Where the morals have gone? Why due regard is not paid to parents, elders, husbands, wives etc? It is a matter of great concern and it is need of the hour to think, rethink and again ponder over such a burning and important issue. We should have moral values also. If the morals will be followed then we will require the above staff to tackle the hardcore criminals only for which we are well prepared and then, no doubt, we will be in a position to say that my dear so called cheap class politicians i.e. the law makers having no basic knowledge of law, you need not worry to interfere in my personal matters and your services are not required in my homes.
By way of this Article an attempt has been made to explain the involvement of such a dirty politics in the name of “Empowerment of Women in India”
1. See the article of Shirin S. Khan on “is a legislation really necessary to reduce a housewife’s burden?” published in the Pioneer (Lko.) dated 1-10-96 pg. 16.
2. See ‘The Times of India (Lko.)’ dated Dec. 9, 2009.
3. See Times of India 29 Jan. 2010.
Article by –
Student LL.B. (Honors) 4th Semester
University of Lucknow, Lucknow (U.P.)
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing