Home Know Your Rights A few landmark judgments in women's rights!

A few landmark judgments in women’s rights!

Landmark Judgements:

Margaret Thatcher once said: ‘If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.‘ Since time unknown women have been silently, distinctly, patiently keeping our worlds intact. Has she received her due?

No, I believe we can shamefully admit that we have more often than not, as a family, community, society, country, world, we have failed her. But after each blow, she rose, alive, stronger, louder and prouder. Salut her ! For without her , we would not exist!

In light of the universal celebration of womanhood on March 8th, let’s look at some landmark women centric judgments by the court of law in India.

Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997) - Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013) -CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)
Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)

Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997): Safety of Women at workplace.

‘They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.’ – Louise O’Neill

Bhanwari Devi a social worker with a state-sponsored social program working for the prevention of child marriage was gang-raped by five men for preventing child marriage. When a trial court acquitted all accused, Vishaka a group for women’s education and research along with four others took up her cause and filed a writ with Supreme Court against sexual harassment at the workplace.

This led to the Supreme court in 1997, defining what constitutes Sexual Harassment, framed detailed guidelines regarding a mechanism for redressal of grievances for employers to follow, and also said that it is the duty of the employer to provide safe working environment for its female employees. The guidelines laid out formed the basis of the legislation: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.  

Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013): Guidelines for betterment of Acid Attack Survivors.

We do not believe in capital punishment. We do not ask for acid attacks in retaliation. All that we are asking for is a change in the mentality of society. It is the responsibility of the government to rehabilitate acid attack survivors.’: Laxmi Agarwal

Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997) - Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013) -CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)
Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)

In 2006, Laxmi Agarwal along with another acid attack survivor Rupa filed a PIL in the Supreme Court asking for adequate compensation to the victim, measures to regulate sale of acid and betterment of acid attack survivors.

In 2013, taking cognizance the increasing acid attacks on women  the Supreme Court imposed strict regulations on the sale of acid , amendment in CrPC requiring the government to compensate victim, full and free medical treatment, inclusion of a separate section for acid attacks in IPC and a minimum compensation of 3,00,00 lakhs.

CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003): Criminalisation of pre-natal sex determination.

‘The best music I have ever heard is the sound of my daughter’s giggling.’ – Deasish Mridha

But for many in India, this genre of music does is not appealing enough. India’s daughters have been fighting female infanticide, feticide amongst other assaults for centuries. In 1994, amidst increasing instances of female feticide in the country the Parliament brought about the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, an amendment was made to the same in February ,2003. In spite of the provisions of the act, the implementation was ineffective.

In the population census of 2001, the sex ratio was found to be alarmingly skewed in various states. CEHAT along with two other petitioners moved the court for effective implementation of the above said Act.

The subsequent judgement laid emphasis on the importance of enforcement of law rather than the solution. It directed the Centre and State governments to ensure strict adherence to prevention of pre-natal sex determination.

Mary Roy Vs State of Kerala (1986), Vineeta Sharma v Rakesh Sharma (2020): Coparcenary rights.

‘Oh my son’s my son till he gets a wife, But my daughter’s my daughter all her life.’ – Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

In one of the earliest cases for gender equality, Ms. Mary Roy, an educator, activist in 1960 filed a case against her brother Mr. George Issac for an equal share in family inheritance. Mary petitioned to end the practice on the Keralite Syrian Christian community of bequeathing the daughters with only a minor share of property under the Travancore Syrian Christian Succession Act, 1916 and Cochin Succession Act 1921.

After rejection by a lower court, the high court ruled in favour of the same. Following this the Supreme Court in 1986, upheld the supremacy of the Indian Succession Act of 1925 over the above mentioned two Acts. It ruled that women from the Syrian Christian community can seek an equal share in their father’s property.

In 2020, the Vineeta Sharma versus Rakesh Sharma case , the Supreme Court ruled that women would have coparcenary rights for Hindu Undivided Family Property  by virtue of birth and could not be excluded based on whether they were born before the 2005 Amendment to the Hindu Succession Act .

Before the 2005 amendment the son could claim inheritance by virtue of right while women could only claim if she was unmarried, once married she was considered part of the husbands family.

We haven’t always respected or treated our women well , but judgments like the above emboldens women to choose to challenge the wrongs meted out to her for years.May we have many more !

Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)

Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)

Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003) Landmark Judgements: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan (1997)Laxmi vs. Union of India and Others (2013)CEHAT Vs Union of India (2003)

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