ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Prabha KotiswaranSubscribe to Prabha Kotiswaran

Revaluing Unpaid Work

The 2021 state assembly elections offered a unique and unexpected opportunity for the recognition of women’s unpaid domestic and care work through the promises of unconditional cash transfers. These cash transfers present feminists with a valuable opportunity to theorise the welfare state. This article uses primary data and in-depth interviews to evaluate one such scheme, namely the Orunodoi scheme in Assam.

An Ode to Altruism

Feminists have demonstrated how the invisibility and lack of recognition of unpaid domestic and care work result in gender inequality and women’s disempowerment. Discussions of the role of law in reinforcing this invisibility is limited and focused on family law. This paper shall look at tort law, namely a review of compensation awarded to the dependents of homemakers, between 1968 and 2019, under the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The growing recognition of women’s UDCW by Indian appellate courts, culminating in an influential Supreme Court decision in 2010, is traced. This “wages for housework” jurisprudence is then marshalled to probe the redistributive function of tort law.


Regulating Reproductive Technologies

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in September 2020. It was referred to the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, which submitted its 129th report on the ART Bill, 2020 on 17 March 2021. This article critically engages with the recommendations of this report.


Has the Dial Moved on the Indian Sex Work Debate?

The politics of sex work has exercised civil society, feminists, governments and, of course, sex workers and the latter’s organisations. This trajectory is examined in the context of the last two decades in India and taking into consideration the relevant laws.

What Is Wrong With India's Trafficking Bill 2018: An Introduction

​ The anti-trafficking discourse has seen a shift internationally in the last few decades. Where can India's Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, which is to be tabled in the monsoon session of the Parliament, be located in this trajectory? This introduction to EPW Engage's special issue asserts that the Bill ignores the fast-changing international policy scene and India’s own rich indigenous approach to fighting labour trafficking. This article is a part of the Special Feature Rethinking Trafficking Bill 2018 . To read other articles in this feature, click here .

How Did We Get Here? Or A Short History of the 2018 Trafficking Bill

This essay tracks the development of the Indian anti-trafficking law over the past two decades culminating in the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) bill, 2018 (the Bill), proposed to be tabled in the Lok Sabha in the monsoon session of Parliament.

Author’s Response to Letter 'On Governance Feminism'

Contrary to Ratna Appnender’s claims, there is no confusion of fact or law in my article. Here is the passage she challenges:

A Bittersweet Moment

Based on a mapping of Indian feminist interventions on the law of rape over the past three decades, culminating in the wide-ranging law reforms following the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey in December 2012, it is argued that Indian feminism displays key characteristics of governance feminism. In particular, Indian governance feminism is deeply committed to a highly gendered understanding of sexual violence. Further, Indian feminism has increasingly resorted to the use of the criminal law to address sexual violence even as its historical suspicion of postcolonial state power has reduced considerably and is now mostly evident in its opposition to the death penalty for rapists. A robust culture of state feminism has ensured that feminist ideas find a foothold in state institutions and indeed state laws. It is hoped that by demystifying feminists’ roles in law reform processes, we can begin to assess the intended and unintended consequences of such influence and resultant legislative successes.

A Battle Half-Won

The new legal strengthening of anti-trafficking provisions should be followed up by better implementation.

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