Justice-Served or Faked? a Critical Analysis of the Gender Just LAWS and LEGAL Procedures in India.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sreyashi GHOSH, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India, India
“Even where there is de jure equality, law in its actual functioning discriminates against women because legal agents interpret laws in patriarchal ways”- this critical perspective immanent in Nivedita Menon’s book, Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics beyond the Law, paves the way for the further exposition of the alleged gender just laws and procedures in India. Incessant struggles of the various factions of the society- starting from the social reformers to the feminists- in bringing the women at par with their male counterpart by advocating equality and violence curbing laws have created a society characterized by ersatz gender justice which has been unable to create a dent in the seamless patriarchal dominance. India is a land of multiple culture and also characterized by a high dose of intersectionality. Adding to India’s pliable characteristic is the colossal rural-urban divide which has been difficult bring under an enveloping legal umbrella.  Women, therefore, are doubly disadvantaged- first they are victimized for their sex and second they fall prey to the sectional divisions that maim the possibility of drafting a uniform civil code. Religious personal laws (RPLs) govern the conduct of the members of the various religious groups. Apart from the intersectional tyranny, there is tremendous patriarchal bias in framing and execution of laws in India, giving rise to a situation where laws can be described as ‘male, gendered and sexist’.

In this paper, the author post mortems the inherent contradictions and limitations in the laws catering to women in India. Laws framed to achieve the desired gender justice sometimes jeopardize the same category of women for whom they are framed. This duality is also discernible in behavior of the judges, law makers and other defenders of justice giving rise to a situation of ‘concealed patriarchy’ which is even harder to deal with or remedy.