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  • Taking the Monogamy Out of Marriage

    UNMANA INITIATED a lively discussion on marriage a few weeks ago, and there is news now that the institution as we legally define it in India may be set to change. Maharashtra is picking up the cause of legalising live-in relationships and providing more rights to extramarital female parties within a marriage. The state cabinet announced on Wednesday that the definition of the word “wife” under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code may be amended, thus facilitating the expansion of the institution of marriage. The bill cannot be cleared without the Centre’s approval, and the amendment has been suggested ostensibly in the interest of securing the rights of women in relationships that do not have the protection of the law. Continue reading

    Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Abortion in India

    NOT ALL OF US may agree on whether or not abortion is ethical. Some may feel that it is sinful, but a subjective choice nonetheless. Others may approve in theory but with a dose of “abortion guilt”, to use Naomi Wolf’s term. Still others, I realise, may condemn it altogether. But wherever we stand personally on this spectrum of opinion, the fact that abortion (legal or not) is inevitable in any society should be regarded as the foundation of one’s argument. And as feminists, a certain understanding that real women’s lives hang in the balance between ideologies is a must. Simply put, in the absence of safe and legal abortions, hundreds of thousands of women a year would die or suffer bodily harm as a result of unsafe, illegal ones. Continue reading

    Domestic Violence: Why a New Law?

    DOMESTIC VIOLENCE had been dealt with half-heartedly throughout the history of human rights mechanism in this country. Till about 2005, the only recourse for victims was a criminal law, which provided for punishment against the abuser (but no remedies or relief for the victim) and applied only to married women. Worse, the law failed to comply with the definition of ‘violence against women’ in international treaties like CEDAW and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which looked at it as a violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of women. Continue reading

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