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

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Rights and Wrongs of Anti-conversion Law(s)

The legal ramifications of the recently promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 are examined by juxtaposing popular perceptions of inter-religious marriages as “dishonourable” to the concerned families and communities, with a feminist perspective of women’s agency and exercise of choice in marriage. The key to preventing the phenomenon of conversion for marriage lies not in enacting draconian legislations that arm the state machinery with arbitrary powers, but in streamlining and simplifying procedures under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 that allow for inter-religious marriages without religious conversion of either person.

‘Love Jihad’ is an Islamophobic Campaign: Why Honour is about Controlling Women's Bodies

In light of the renewed demand from certain sections of society to enact laws against religious conversions for marriage, this reading list analyses the harmful impact of the narrative of “love jihad” on Hindu women.

COVID-19 and Women Informal Sector Workers in India

The precarious nature of employment of women informal workers is examined using data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (2018–19). To capture the gendered experiences of informal workers during the lockdown period, data from a series of rapid assessment studies is used. It was found that the unequal gendered division of domestic chores existed even before the onset of the pandemic, but the COVID-19- induced lockdowns have further worsened the situation. In terms of paid employment, women tend to work in risky, hazardous and stigmatised jobs as front-line health workers, waste-pickers, domestic workers, but do not receive the minimum wages as specified by the government.

Research Radio Ep 1: What Interventions are Most Effective to Address Domestic Violence?

In this episode, we speak to Shireen J Jejeebhoy and K G Santhya about the experiences of women who have experienced domestic violence, and the role of crises centres in Bihar.

Do Courts Rely on Stereotypes Instead of Legal Frameworks in Cases of Sexual Harassment?

The fear of women filing false complaints continues to be one of the principal oppositions to the existence of the law against sexual harassment. Through an analysis of a 2019 high court judgment that ruled a complaint to be “false,” the author argues that courts often do not differentiate between a complaint filed with “malicious intent” and one where the complaint could not be supported with evidence permissible to the court.

Land Tax, Reservation for Women and Customary Law in Nagaland

Can elected urban local bodies in Nagaland levy taxes on land and buildings when Naga lands and its resources are, under Article 371A of the Constitution, the domain of customary bodies and laws? Should women be allotted 33% reservation of electoral seats in these urban local bodies, as sanctioned by the Constitution, when customary institutionsand practices did not envision political leadership for women? These are divisive questions in Nagaland. A socio-historical background is offered.

A Nikahnama for Muslim Women

A new Muslim body announces a "shariat nikahnama" that is sensitive to women's concerns.

History of Women's Rights: A Non-Historicist Reading

This essay revisits the history of the rhetoric of women's agency and rights in colonial and postcolonial India in which debates around liberalism were often played out by mobilising the language of self-sacrifice to oppose the language of self-interest. The focus is on the debates around the Hindu Code Bill, 1955-56 which gave Hindu women the right to inherit paternal property and to institute divorce proceedings.

Calcutta Diary

Grandiloquence and India's ministers are usually inseparable. The deputy prime minister has proposed a new legislation which will make the death penalty mandatory for crimes against women. The defence minister has chosen to go one better. But the ministers should cut down on their hyperbole and concentrate on relatively small matters, such as the nightmare a 27-year old housewife, resident in the village of Balaghat in the district of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, has been going through since last July.

Lives of Seclusion

Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India by Martha Alter Chen; Oxford University Press, 1999; pp 419, Rs 625

Unsafe Abortions and Women's Health

Although unsafe and illegal abortions claim many lives and severely damage women's health, international conventions on providing safe facilities for women have not had much success. A rights-based perspective on the issue.

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