Author: Kuttappa B.B,

  • 3rd Year,
  • School of Law, Christ (Deemed to be University).

The gravest obstacle of India’s development is crime against women, customs like sex being a taboo in India, sati, and dowry, and the overall lower status of women further accelerates these crimes. The harsh reality of the times is where news of rapes are becoming normal to us, citizens are becoming numb more than ever and victims are made silent as ever. The epidemic of crimes and violence against women flourishes over the soul of India. Women are subjected to the most dreadful jeopardy, but, are not able to provide any sort of justice to their minds and souls. Enjoyment of good health for women is a luxury who live in constant fear of rape. The brave groups of women who dare to speak up on the ground have to wage this fight in despair and lonely isolation. In a society where it’s dangerous for girls to talk to a stranger, but it’s perfectly okay to marry one and have sex without their consent, the need of the hour is to provide them with shelter of security even in their own homes. Women are considered to be a mere toy at the hands of men. Globally, women constitute half of the world’s population and who work two-third of world working hours. The majority of women do not belong to the working class there are different from different backgrounds but remain victim of such crimes. Though the Indian constitution bequests women identical rights and prospects, and a quantity of liberal laws such as the Equal Remuneration Act proclaim this value, India’s legal arrangement continues to differentiate counter to women.

The cases of murder or suicide of a married woman caused by a dispute over her dowry through continuous harassment and torture by her husband or in-laws are increasing day by day. Women are murdered for bringing dishonour and shame upon the family by exercising their right to choose their life partner. Poor women, widows, and women from lower castes are murdered being accused of witchcraft till date. Crimes like rape, acid attacks and abduction of women are heinous and lead to the murder of humanity as well as spirit of feminity in the society. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortion, forced and child marriage are still in practice wherein they are suffering from a double vulnerability: both for being a child and for being female. Marital rape, in India, is still not a criminal offense. India is one of fifty countries that have not yet outlawed marital rape[1]. There are no helpline numbers available to report a marital rape case. Such women do not endure anything in their “happily-married” life than forcible violent sex. Perpetuation continues as a result of many systems of sexism and patriarchy in place within Indian culture. Beginning in early childhood, young girls are given less access to education than their male counterparts.[2] Gender based inequality is deep rooted in the society evident by the stories where female children are often fed less and are given less hearty diets. Boys need to be educated and prepared to treat women and girls as equals to them.

A man’s physical and emotional oppression in reality could be seen in the landmark case of Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan and others[3], wherein the background of the case is that in India, before 1997, there existed no formal guidelines with respect to an incident of sexual harassment at workplace and how it should be the responsibility of the employer to maintain a safe working environment for women. The Supreme Court interpreted the guarantee of gender equality, right to work with human dig
nity in 
Articles 14, 15 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution and the safeguards against sexual harassment implicit therein[4].

The Indian legislations neglect to control the predominant discrimination of gender. The laws on divorce are encircled giving both accomplices square with voice however greater part of its usage included those started by men. In Ahmadabad Women’s Action Group (AWAG) v. Union of India[5], a PIL was documented testing gender prejudicial provisions in Hindu, Muslim and Christian statutory and non-statutory law.[6] This time Supreme Court took a rather archaic view and held that the matter of expulsion of gender orientation equity separation in personal laws “includes issues of State polices with which the court won’t conventionally have any concern.”[7] 

In Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India[8], the Supreme Court had for all intents and purposes renounced its part as a sentinel in ensuring the standards of fairness with respect to sex related issues of personal laws of different groups in India.

In Masilamani Mudaliar v. Idol of Sri Swaminathaswami Thirukoil[9], it was held that “the basic structure permeates equality of status and opportunity. The personal laws conferring inferior status on women are anathema to equality. Personal laws are derived not from the Constitution but from the religious scriptures. The laws thus derived must be consistent with the Constitution lest they become void under Article 13 if they violate fundamental rights.”

Every woman is entitled to elimination of obstacles and discrimination based on gender for human development and is entitled to enjoy economic, social, cultural and political rights without discrimination and on a footing of equality. Equally in order to effectuate fundamental duty to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activities as enjoined in Articles 51-A (h) (j) of the Constitution of India, facilities and opportunities not only are to be provided for, but also for all forms of gender-based discrimination should be eliminated.[10] It is presented that discrimination and disparity can happen in various ways, including through laws or strategies that confine, incline toward or recognize different sets of people[11].

[1] Last accessed on Jan 9, 2020.

[2] Crime in India Report, 2017.

[3] A.I.R. 1997 S.C. 3011 (India).

[4] Last accessed on Jan 10, 2020.

[5] A.I.R. 1997 S.C. 3614 (India).

[6] Amita Dhanda & Archna Prashar, Engendering Law: Essays in Honour of Lokita Sarkar, 137 (1999).


[8] (2018) 1 S.C.C. 791 (India).

[9] (1996) 8 S.C.C. 525 (India).

[10] Last accessed on Jan 9, 2020.

[11] Office of the Surgeon General (US and Center for Mental Health Services) US, 2001. Culture counts: The influence of culture and society on mental health. In Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US).

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