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From marital rape to molestation, the Indian judiciary has failed women several times with these absurd statements & judgements.
The Indian judiciary has always been known to defend the true spirit of a democracy. From the decriminalization of 377 to the illegalization of the two finger test, Indian courts have made landmark judgements. But what do we do when it starts to fail us? When the protectors of our freedom base their judgments on the ideals of patriarchy?
The judicial system influences society to a very large extent. In the wake of multiple misogynistic judgements passed by the judiciary, it is important to look at the bigger picture. We need to see the history of such statements and ponder on the steps to be taken. We say “men will be men” to rapists but also applaud movies like Pink. This hypocrisy is further encouraged by the courts in their misogynistic judgements.
Recently, in a shocking statement by the Chhattisgarh High Court, the court order said that since the complainant is the legally wedded wife of the accused. Any sexual act between them will not be considered rape even if it was by force or against her wish.
This statement on the marital rape case caused an enormous and well-deserved backlash from the public. Especially because this statement negates the very definition of rape which is ‘having sexual intercourse without a person’s consent’.
In January 2021, a verdict by Bombay High Court said that groping a minor’s breast without “skin-to-skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act.
It said that since the man “groped the child without removing her clothes” the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault. Such cases are a clear failure of judiciary, they undermine the victim’s trauma and reveal the underlying regressive notions that are present in the nation’s consciousness
In march 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court asked a molestation accused to get a rakhi tied around his wrist by the complainant as a condition for bail.
Such instances are clear examples of how the judiciary continues to fail women and their rights in India. Judgements like this show how women are objectified and seen as the property of a man.
Last year, The Karnataka High Court noted that it was “unbecoming of an Indian woman” to go to sleep after she’s “ravished”. The bench granted a bail to the accused of rape, criminal intimidation and cheating.
This perpetuates the idea of victim blaming and points fingers towards the victim instead of questioning the actions of a criminal. Is this the sort of future we want for this country?
‘Women must be like Goddess Sita’, i.e. a woman must follow her husband wherever he goes. This was a statement by a division bench in 2012 for a divorce petition. These statements make people believe that women are supposed to serve men.
In a country where women are in a dire need of upliftment, such statements drag us back decades. Such misogynistic actions by highly respected institutions bring down the credibility of the justice system of an entire nation
Poulain de la Barre, a French author and a priest who extensively talked of the equality of man and woman, famously wrote, “Those who made and compiled the laws, being men, favoured their own sex, and the jurisconsults have turned the laws into principles”. The laws of countries were made by men and continue to serve them.
The judicial system dictates the society’s perception to a very large extent. The courts need to make sure that such comments from any bench are publicly condemned. We need to hold them accountable for the statements they put out.
We have golden examples among us too, like Judge N Anand Venkatesh who took a counselling session on LGBTQ+ issues before passing any verdict on a case. We must follow in his footsteps and sensitize newly enrolled and existing judges on social issues so they can make unbiased judgements on such cases.
The path to an equal society is through such small yet significant changes.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
You do not have to be perfect. There’s no perfect daughter, perfect employee, perfect wife, or perfect mother. These are just labels created by society, for their convenience.
So here you are, just out of engineering college, having no clue why you pursued Electronics Engineering. Yes, I know, like many others your age, you too were persuaded by your parents to opt for engineering because it supposedly gets you a lucrative job.
Believe me, however strange this might sound, you’ll soon come to realize that a high paying job need not always make you happy. And there are a myriad courses and career options out there, you should definitely consider something that’ll make you look forward to go to work every day.