Crime Against Women | Sociology IQ

Crime Against Women | Sociology IQ


There are various forms of crime against women. From time to time, it begins even before their birth, sometimes in the adulthood and other stages of life. Let us examine some of the important laws introduced for eradication of crime against women.

i) Sati so far we have seen that in the Indian society, the position of women is always perceived in relation to the man, from birth onwards and at every stage of life, she is dependent on him. This concept has given birth to various social traditions and practices. One main manifestation of these traditions and practices has been that of Sati. It is seen as a zenith of achievement for a woman. This tradition of self-immolation of the widow on her husband’s pyre was an age-old practice in some region of the country, which received deification. The famous belief ran that the goddess enters into the body of the woman who resolves to become a sati. The custom of sati has been eliminated by law with the initiative of Raja Ram Mohan Roy; in the early decades of 19th century. However, there has been a remarkable revival of the practice of sati in the last few decades. In fact, Rajasthan has been the focal point for this tradition in recent years.

India has witnessed a strong social reaction in the form of organised agitation in the late 1980s against sati following the burning of the young educated Roop Kanwar on the funeral pyre of her husband in Deorala, Rajasthan. In response to the public demand the Parliament passed the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987. This law declares the tradition of sati unlawful and “any act towards such commission shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to six months or with fine or with both”, The Act also direct the maximal punishment for the abetment of the commission of sati, to equate it with murder rather than abetment of suicide, as has been done in the earlier cases of sati.

(ii) Violence against Women Violence against women both inside and outside of their home has been a crucial issue in the contemporary Indian society. To respond to the growing incidence of violence against women the Parliament amended the Criminal Law Act, 1983. This amendment gives legal recognition to the domestic violence by making cruelty inflicted by the husband or his relatives an offence. Again the Indian Evidence Act has also been suitably amended to provide that if a married woman commits suicide within seven years of her marriage the assumption in law will be that her husband or his relațives abetted the suicide. Based on the 84th Report of the Law Commission on Rape and Allied offences the government amended the Criminal Law Act in 1983. This amendment prescribed the protection of the rape victim from the glare of publicity during investigation and trial. It also introduced change in the definition of rape to remove the element of consent. It also enhanced the punishment for this crime.

(iii) Sex Determination Test According to Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 abortion is legal in India. Once more the Government of Maharashtra has gone afar ahead by passing the Maharashtra Regulation of use of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1988. This law has made prenatal sex determination test illegal in Maharashtra. Government of India passed the Pre natal Diagnostic Techniques (regulation and prevention of misuse) Act in 1994. It was proposed to prohibit pre-natal diagnostic techniques for the determination of sex of foetus, leading to foetal infanticide. This Act was again amended in 2001.

(iv) Indecent Representation of Women Indecent representation of women in the media has been a crucial issue in India. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 has been passed by the Parliament. This law examine for ban the “dispensing in any manner of the figure of a woman, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being dirty or derogatory to, or denigrating women or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals” Problems related to the Implementation of Law In India, various progressive laws have been passed and significant amendments have been introduced to the existing laws for women’s emancipation. However, within the existing values and norms of the society many of the progressive laws have not got the scope of full expression. Various reports point out that certain “pending provisions in the law are definitely influenced by the established patriarchal system, the dominant position of the husband and the social and economic background of women”.


Patriarchy , Entitlements and Sexual Division of Labour

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