Fixing Notional Income of Homemakers, 5th January, 2021
The Supreme Court in the case of Kirti & Anr. vs. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., was dealing with an appeal filed by the surviving dependents of the two deceased, impugning the Delhi High Court judgement through which the compensation was reduced to 22 lakhs. The court explaining the importance of fixing notional income for a homemaker, observed that “the conception that house-makers do not “work” or that they do not add economic value to the household is a problematic idea that has persisted for many years and must be overcome.”
Moral Policing not the job of Internal Committee, 16th December, 2020
The Delhi High Court in Bibha Pandey vs. Punjab National Bank and Ors. stated that in cases where sexual harassment is not made out, the IC can only conclude that no action is required to be taken and in cases of the contrary wherein sexual harassment is made out, then the recommendation of the IC can only be for taking appropriate action for misconduct as per POSH law. Moral Policing is not the job of the Management or of the IC.
Exclusion of married daughter from seeking benefit of compassionate appointment is unconstitutional, 15th December, 2020
In Bhuvaneshwari V Puranik vs. State of Karnataka & Ors., the Karnataka High Court observed that “If the marital status of a son does not make any difference in law to his entitlement for seeking appointment on compassionate grounds, the marital status of a daughter should make no difference, as the married daughter does not cease to be a part of the family and law cannot make an assumption that married sons alone continue to be the part of the family.” It said that “…excluding the daughters purely on the basis of marriage will constitute an impermissible discrimination which is invidious and be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.”
Respondent can be of the same gender as the Complainant, 27th November, 2020
In the case of Malabika Bhattacharjee vs. Internal Complaints Committee, Vivekananda College & Ors., the Calcutta High Court said that a cursory glance at section 2(m) of the 2013 Act shows that the term “respondent” brings within its fold “a person”, thereby including persons of all genders.
Family can’t pressurize women to get married, 26th November, 2020
In a matter (name confidential) wherein a 26-year-old woman approached the Delhi Commission for Women, accusing her parents of forcing her to get married against her will and later filed a Writ Petition for the same, the Delhi High Court observed that the family can’t force a woman to get married.
Transgender persons can’t be denied a legitimate right because of their preferred gender, 12th November, 2020
In Hina Haneefa vs. Union of India, the Kerala High Court was hearing a plea filed by a trans woman, challenging that Section of the National Cadet Corps Act which excludes trans people to be eligible for enrolment. The Court observed that “a person cannot be denied a legitimate right only because she is a transgender (person).”
Prostitution is not an offence and major women have a right to choose their vocation, 24th September, 2020
The Bombay High Court in Kajal Mukesh & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra reiterated that “there is no provision under the law which makes prostitution per se a criminal offence or punishes a person because the person indulges in prostitution. As per the Act, what is punishable is sexual exploitation or abuse of person for commercial purpose and to earn the bread.” The Court said that the Petitioner victims were a major and, therefore, have a right to reside at the place of their choice, to move freely throughout the territory of India and to choose their own vocation as enshrined in Part III of fundamental rights of the Constitution of India.
Daughters have equal coparcenary rights in HUF, 11th August, 2020
The Supreme Court in a landmark decision in Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma confered status of coparcener on the daughter born before or after amendment in the same manner as son with same rights and liabilities, and since the right in coparcenary is by birth, it is not necessary that father coparcener should be living as on when Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force.
Consent is not consent unless given freely, 29th June, 2020
The Kerala High Court in the case of Thankappan P. K. vs. State of Kerala and Ors. upheld the conviction of a rape accused and made specific observations regarding what constitutes as ‘consent’ and observed that “In a country like ours committed to gender equality, only sexual intercourse which are welcomed could be construed as not violative of the rights of the victim and accepted as consensual.” The Court effectively held that consent is not consent unless given freely.
Sole testimony of the victim is acceptable in a departmental inquiry, 15th June, 2020
In the case of Bhuwan Chandra Pandey vs. Union of India and Ors., the High Court of Uttarakhand held that a woman who is a victim of a sexual assault, is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another man’s lust. In cases involving sexual harassment, molestation, etc. the Criminal Court is duty-bound to deal with such cases with utmost sensitivity. Evidence of the victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction, and it does not require any corroboration unless there are compelling reasons for seeking corroboration.
Reproductive choices of a woman is her Fundamental Right, 1st May, 2020
The Single Judge Bench of Rajasthan High Court reiterated in State of Rajasthan vs. S that “a woman’s right to make reproductive choices is also a dimension of ‘personal liberty’ as understood under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is important to recognise that reproductive choices can be exercised to procreate as well as to abstain from procreating. The crucial consideration is that a woman’s right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity should be respected. This means that there should be no restriction whatsoever on the exercise of reproductive choices such as a woman’s right to refuse participation in sexual activity or alternatively the insistence on the use of contraceptive methods.”
Nirbhaya convicts hanged, March 20th, 2020
In Nirbhaya case, the Apex Court dismissed the final appeal of convicts to stay execution past midnight hours before the scheduled execution on March 20th, 2020. At around 3:30 AM, the Bench gave an order dismissing the Writ Petition filed on behalf of Pavan Kumar challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President. At 5:30 AM, the convicts were hanged at Tihar jail.
Sexual Harassment at workplace is violation of Right to Equality, 20th February, 2020
The Supreme Court in Punjab and Sind Bank & Ors vs. Mrs Durgesh Kuwar, observed that Sexual harassment at the workplace is an affront to the fundamental rights of a woman to equality under Articles 14 and 15 and her right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution as well as her right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Women officers in the army to be granted permanent commission, February 17th, 2020
The Supreme Court in an important judgment on gender equality in The Secretary, Ministry of Defense vs. Babita Puniya and Ors., held that all serving Short Service Commission women officers in the army should be granted permanent commission regardless of their service. The policy of absolute prohibition of women from command assignments was held violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
Two finger test unscientific, violates victim’s privacy and dignity, 17th January, 2020
The Gujarat High Court in State of Gujarat vs. Rameshchandra Rambhai Panchal held that the two-finger test is one of the most unscientific methods of examination used in the context of sexual assault and has no forensic value. The Court observed “Whether a survivor is habituated to sexual intercourse before the assault has absolutely no bearing on whether she consented when the rape occurred. Section 155 of the Indian Evidence Act does not allow a rape victim’s credibility to be compromised on the ground that she is “of generally immoral character”. The two-finger test is unconstitutional. It violates the right of the victim to privacy, physical and mental integrity, and dignity. Thus, this test, even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, give rise to a presumption of consent.”
– Esha Shah, Paralegal