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24th August 2023 (10 Topics)

Law must recognise women’s dignity to be effective

Context:

Recently, the Parliament has passed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, under which a clause on using “deceitful means” to promise to marry a woman was penalized, after many cases emerged where women ask for their bodily rights (in case of pregnancy).

Supreme Court’s Intervention

  • SC Emphasizes Reproductive Rights: India's Supreme Court underscores a woman's right to make reproductive choices, criticizes undue interference.
  • Timely SC Intervention: A woman's plea to terminate her pregnancy denied by Gujarat HC; SC's swift review enabled her decision.
  • Promise of False marriage: Alleged "false promise to marry" relates to IPC Sections 375 and 90, involving invalid consent due to fear or misconception.

Issues

  • Relative Progressiveness of Laws: India's abortion laws are more liberal than some U.S. states, but practical barriers persist.
  • Complex Obstacles: Medical, judicial, and societal barriers hinder legal and safe abortions in India, akin to some U.S. states.
  • Trauma of Violation: The Gujarat case highlights the additional trauma faced by victims when societal expectations collide with personal choices post-violation.
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