Evolution: In context to this chapter, evolution refers to the way in which protecting the women from domestic violence developed from an urgently-felt requirement of a new law which can be enforced throughout the Country.
Criticise: To find fault with or disapprove of an individual or a thing, In context of this chapter, it refers to the citizens finding fault with the government’s functioning.
Sedition: This refers to anything that the government may consider as stirring up resistance or revolt against it. In such cases, the government doesn’t require absolute evidence to arrest the responsible individuals. Under the Sedition Act of 1970, the Britishers had an extremely broad interpretation of what constituted sedition, and what this meant was that they could arrest and detain any individual they wanted under this Act.
Repressive: In context to the chapter this refers to the laws that use unethical ways to control persons and
prevent them from using their fundamental rights.
Rule of Law: This means that all the laws of the country apply equally upon all the citizens, irrespective of any discrimination and no one can be above the law.
Law : Laws are generally made and enforced by the sovereign power in a country.
Civic cases : Cases relating to taxes, property and contract are called civil cases.
Criminal cases: Cases involving violation of penal laws such as murder, theft, assault etc. are called criminal cases.
Violation of law: To do something wrong or a crime against the law is called violation of law.
Rowlatt Act : Rowlatt Act was passed by the British Government to control revolutionary activities. Under this rule, the Government had the authority and the power to arrest people and keep them imprisoned without trial if they were suspected with the charges of terrorism.
Unpopular laws: The laws which constitutionally valid and hence legal, but are unpopular and unacceptable to people because they feel that the intention behind them is unfair and harmful, e.g. Municipal laws.
Controversial laws: The laws which favour one group and disregard the other, leading to a conflict are controversial laws.
Domestic violence denotes beating, abusing and misbehaving with women at home by husband or by in-laws or by son or daughter-in-law. Any type of torture-biologically, physically, mentally, emotionally comes under it.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 widens the understanding of the term domestic which include all women who live together in a shared household with the male member who is perpetrating the violence.
Significance of Women Protection Law, 2006
(i) It recognises the right of women to live in a shared household.
(i) The women can get a protection order against any further violence.
(iil) Women can get monetary relief to meet their expenses.
Laws that existed earlier were associated with criminal activities only. There was no provision for domestic violence with which the household women used to suffer. Women wanted protection against being beaten and the right to continue living in a shared household. Thus, the law against domestic violence was introduced to address these issues.
National Commission for Women
The National Commission for Women is a statutory body constituted under the National Commission for Women Act 1990 to protect and promote the interests of the women and safeguard their rights. The most prominent functions are review of laws, looking into specific cases of complaints of atrocities, harassment, and denial of rights and exploitation of women and taking remedial actions to restore their legitimate rights.
Equality of law in India prevails : In India, the law cannot discriminate between persons on the basis of their caste, gender, sex, religion, creed, class, ideology and social background. The rule of law means that all laws apply equally to all citizens of the country and no one can go against the law. Any crime or violation of law attracts a specific punishment.
Sedition Act 1870
The Sedition Act 1870 was an arbitrary Act passed by the British government. According to it, the government could arrest any person protesting or criticizing it.
(i) Indian nationalists began protesting and criticising the arbitrary use of authority by the Britishers.
(ii) They began fighting for greater equality and wanted to change the idea of law from a set of rules that they were forced to obey to such laws which included ideas of justice.
(iii) By the end of 19th century, Indian legal profession also began emerging and demanded respect in colonial courts.
One example of arbitrariness that continued to exist as part of British laws is the Sedition Act of 1870.The idea of sedition was understood within this act.
(i) In ancient India, there were innumerable and often overlapping local laws.
(ii) Different communities enjoyed different degrees of autonomy in administering these laws themselves.
(iii) In some cases, the punishment that two persons received for the same crime varied, depending on their caste background, with lower caste being more harshly penalized.
(i) The Parliament plays an important role in making laws. Different groups also create pressure on the government to give shape to new laws concerning different issues. These groups use various forums such as press, protests etc. to voice their demands and ideas.
(ii) For example, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act began in 1990s but took legal shape only in 2005. In 1999, Domestic Violence Bill was drafted and widely circulated.
(iii) In 2002, it was introduced in the Parliament. The National Commission for Women made submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee as the bill was not up to mark with their demands.
(iv) The Standing Committee submitted its recommendations to the Rajya Sabha and these were tabled in the Lok Sabha.
(v) After the demands were accepted by the Committee in 2005, a new bill was reintroduced and passed by both the Houses of the Parliament. On the President’s assent, the bill became an Act in 2006.
People can criticize unpopular laws by holding public meetings, and write about them in newspapers, report to TV news channels. In this way, citizens can express their unwillingness to accept repressive laws framed by the Parliament.
|Civil law||Criminal law|
|(1) It deal with the rights and obligations of people and what is needed to protect them||It deal with offences and their punishment.|
|(2) Theft, marriage and divorce, eviction, etc fall under the civil cases.||Robbery, murder and kidnapping are examples of criminal offences.|
In America, there was a segregation law according to which all public spaces, including the streets, were divided between the whites and the African- Americans, In a famous incident, an African- American woman Rosa Parks had refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man on 1st December 1955. She was protesting the law on segregation.
Her refusal was an input event that ignited the fire of protest against unjust lawS in USA. It had caused the start of the Civil Rights Movement, which led to the Civil Rights Act in 1964, that prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, religion or national origin in the U.S.A.
The Rowlatt Act not liked by Indian nationalists
During the British rule, Rowlatt Act was passed after the end of the First World War. It was not liked by the Indian nationalists. It was considered a powerful example of British arbitrariness because it allowed the British government to imprison people without due trial.
Indian nationalists, including Mahatma Gandhi, were vehement in their opposition to the Rowlatt bills. Despite the large number of protests, the Rowlatt Act came into effect on March 10, 1919. In Punjab, protests against this Act continued quite actively. On April 10, 1919 two leaders of the movement, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kichlew were arrested.
To protest these arrests, a public meeting was held on 13th April at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. General Dyer entered the park with his troops. They closed the only exit gate and without giving any warning, General Dyer ordered the troops to fire on empty-handed people. Several hundreds of people died in this gunfire and thousands were wounded including women and children. The scene of Jallianwala Bagh massacre was very terrible.
(i) The Lawyers Collective was formed with the specific aim of providing expert legal assistance to the underprivileged community and meeting unmet needs of victims of undeserved waiting.
(ii) It took up cases of pavement dwellers and slum dwellers, hawkers and women in distress. In 1999, they took the lead in drafting the Domes tic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill. This draft bill was widely circulated.