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

Articles by Flavia AgnesSubscribe to Flavia Agnes

His and Hers

At the centre of the controversy over the government's proposal to amend marriage laws are issues related to situations when there is an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage and to division of property at the time of divorce. The ambiguity and lack of transparency in the proposed amendment are hardly conducive to rendering a divorce easy in the event of a breakdown of a marriage and may have exactly the opposite effect. There are other allied questions regarding the woman's right to the husband's property as well as the rights of women belonging to the minorities. The government must address all these aspects before enacting the amendment.

The Concubine and Notions of Constitutional Justice

A recent Supreme Court ruling, which denied maintenance to women in marriage-like relationships with married men, has undone gains made by landmark rulings that attempted to provide constitutional justice for these women. The ruling has also exposed the weakness of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act in such situations.

Conjugality, Property, Morality and Maintenance

Indian matrimonial statutes do not provide for division of property upon divorce and for most women the right to maintenance forms the central core of their matrimonial dispute. During legal contests the focus is on the husband's "obligation" and the wife's "need" but situated within the patriarchal order, the right to maintenance is pitted against issues of sexuality and "sexual purity". The right also comes into conflict within the mandate of a monogamous marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. Even if the theory of property distribution based on the model of equality is accepted, women's needs and dependence will not cease since marriage in India continues to be an unequal partnership with gendered roles. Therefore, though maintenance signifies dependency and reduces the wife to a subordinate position, divorced women are justified in claiming it. Flavia

Harassment of Ashis Nandy

We write to protest in the strongest possible terms against the charges of criminal offence levied against Ashis Nandy, a political psychologist, sociologist and an internationally renowned public intellectual of the highest calibre. This is the latest case of harassment of intellectuals,...

To Whom Do Experts Testify?

This paper attempts to critique texts of medical jurisprudence from the perspective of gender concerns. The obvious and stated biases which are found in sections on sexual offences, the implicit bias by exclusions while dealing with issues of bride burning and wife murder, and the deliberate silence regarding malpractices which thrive on societal prejudices against women in chapters of medical ethics are the focus of this essay. It is clear that feminist jurisprudence cannot be superimposed upon the pre-existing edifice structured on gender bias. Gender concerns have to be woven into the doctrine of medical jurisprudence from its base.

Transgressing Boundaries of Gender and Identity

Just as the stories of black women in the US, caught up in the whirlwind of lynchings and gendered genealogy of racist violence have been hidden from history, will also the narratives of women, caught in the midst of communal violence get erased? To avoid this eventuality feminism would have to be recast within the complex intersectionality of gender and identity.

Law, Ideology and Female Sexuality

The Law Commission recommendations for a new law on sexual assault and deletion of Section 377 has shifted the discourse on rape law amendment to a plea for complete gender neutrality for victims and violators alike. But while this does little to protect vulnerable sections of the population, a gender neutral rape law may open up avenues for inflicting greater trauma and humiliation on a section, already marginalised, and thereby defeat the very purpose of the reform.

Minority Identity and Gender Concerns

Recent developments in the realm of matrimonial legislation - the path-breaking Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutional validity of the controversial Muslim Women's Act and the passage of the amendments to the Indian Divorce Act - are an interesting study of the issue of gender justice and minority women in a communally vitiated atmosphere.

Church, State and Secular Spaces

The current public debate prompted the bill aimed at reforming divorce laws has been silent on important issues. How will the demands being put forward by the Church for incorporation in the new bill affect women's rights.

Law and Women of Age

This article examines the right of older women to maintenance under various laws and judgments in specific cases. It discusses ancient and modern law, rights of wives of organised sector workers, property rights and mehr dues.

Economic Rights of Women in Islamic Law

Flavia Agnes The law of marriage in its essence is a law regulating economic transactions and woman's access to and control over it The Islamic provisions of 'mehr' and marriage agreements, and right of property management have stood Muslim women in good stead during litigation in the last century. However, gradual infiltration of Hindu notion of sacramental marriage and English principles of morality and public policy have curtailed Muslim women's rights granted under Islamic jurisprudence. Muslim leadership needs to give up its attitude of negating women's rights if it aspires fOf support of secular and human rights forum in the period of aggressive Hindu communal propaganda for uniform civil code.

Rescuing Mumbai s Child Sex Workers

Flavia Agnes If the present economy warrants a new type of flesh trade, then the brothels situated in the midst of the city, which had catered to the industrial workers of yesteryear, will have to give way to new market forces and the land made available for other uses. Could this be among the motivations for the drive to rescue 'child sex workers' in Mumbai?


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