FEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE & GENDER JUSTICE
Syllabus with list of readings
Judgments for Reference during the Course (Indicative list)
- Air India and Others v. Nargesh Meerza 1982 SCR (1) 438
- Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A.K.Chopra AIR 1999 SC 625
- Arumugam Servai v. State of Tamil Nadu (2011) 6 SCC 405
- C.B. Muthamma v. Union of India 1979(4)SCC 260
- Javed and Others v. State of Haryana2003 (8) SCC 369
- Lata Singh v. State of UP AIR 2006 SC 2522
- Mahmood Farooqui v. State (judgment of Delhi High Court on Sep. 25, 2017, available at http://lobis.nic.in/ddir/dhc/ASK/judgement/25-09-2017/ASK25092017CRLA9442016.pdf)
- Nyaydhar v. Union of India Ministry of Home Affairs and Others (judgment of the Supreme Court on Nov. 29, 2017)
- P.Geetha v. Kerela Livestock Development Board (2015) SCC Online Ker 71
- Rajesh Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Another2017 SCC OnLine SC 821
- Saroj Rani v. Sudarshan Kumar Chadha AIR 1984 SC 1562
- Shiv Kumar v. Union of India (Karnataka High Court judgment of 3 February 2014)
- Smt. Harvinder Kaur v. Harmander Singh Choudhry AIR 1984 Del 66
- T.Sareetha v. T. Venkata Subbaiah AIR 1983 AP 356
- Vasantha R v. Union of India and Others 2001 II LLJ 843(Mad) 99
- Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan (1997) 6 SCC 241
- Vishwa Lochan Madan v. Union of India (2014) 7 SCC 70
- V.Revathi v. Union of India and Others (1988) 2 SCC 72
Statutes for Reference during the Course (Indicative list)
- Constitution of India, 1950 (Jan. 26, 1950)
- Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (2013), No. 13 of 2013 (Apr. 2, 2013)
- Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance (2018), No. 2 of 2018 (Apr. 21, 2018)
- Criminal Procedure Code (1973), No. 2 Of 1974 (Jan. 25, 1974)
- Dissolution Of Muslim Marriages Act (1939), No. VIII of 1939 (Mar. 17, 1939)
- Equal Remuneration Act (1976), No. 25 of 1976 (Feb. 11, 1976) along with its amendments
- Guardian and Wards Act (1890), No. 8 of 1890 (Mar. 21, 1890)
- Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (1956), No. 104 of 1956 (Dec. 30, 1956)
- Indian Evidence Act (1872), No. 1 Of 1872 (Sep. 1, 1872)
- Indian Penal Code (1860), No. 45 Of 1860 (Oct. 6, 1860)
- Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act (1986), No. 25 of 1996 (May 19, 1986)
- Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (1994), No. 57 of 1994 (Sep. 20, 1994) along with its amendments
- Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act (2012), No. 32 of 2012 (June 19, 2012)
- The Family Courts Act (1984), No. 66 of 1984 (Sep. 14, 1986)
- The Hindu Marriage Act (1955), No. 25 of 1955 (May 18, 1955)
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (2015), No. 2 of 2016 (Dec. 31, 2015)
- The Maternity Benefit Act (1961), No. 53 of 1961 (Dec. 12, 1961) along with its amendments
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971), No. 34 of 1971 (Aug. 10, 1971)
- The Mental Healthcare Act (2017), No. 10 of 2017 (Apr. 7, 2017)
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006), No. 6 of 2007 (Jan. 10, 2007)
- The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act (2005), Act No. 43 Of 2005 (Sep. 13, 2005)
- The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities Act (2016), Act No. 49 Of 2016 (Dec. 27, 2016).
- The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act (1989), No. 33 Of 1989 (Sep. 11, 1989)
- The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Of Atrocities) Amendment Act, (2015), No. 1 Of 2016 (Dec. 31, 2015)
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (2013), No. 14 of 2013 (Apr. 22, 2013)
INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE
(Weeks 1,2 & 3)
The first module introduces the students to feminist theory, politics and jurisprudence. It familiarizes them with basic concepts, major schools of feminism, classical and contemporary feminist discourses, and their linkages with law. The module provides for a close reading of selected aspects of classical and path breaking feminist scholarly writings. It also discusses feminist critique of important institutions.
- Introduction to gender, patriarchy and feminism
- Overview on schools of feminism: liberal, radical, socialist, post-colonial, Dalit
- Classical and contemporary feminist discourses: neo-liberal, governance & carceral
- Feminist critique of the State, family, marriage, religion and the market
- Alison M Jaggar, Feminist Politics And Human Nature (Rowman & Allanheld 1983), Chapters 3-6
- Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman: With Strictures On Political And Moral Subjects
- Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex 813-847 (trans. Constance Borde & Sheila Malovany Chevallier, First Vintage Books Edition May 2011) (1949).
- Kate Millet, Sexual Politics 61-87 (University of Illinois Press 1969, reprinted 2000).
- Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women, And Rape 256-282 (Bantam Books 1975).
- Catherine MacKinnon, Difference and Dominance, in Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1987).
- Sharmila Rege, A Dalit Feminist Standpoint, in Gender and Caste 90-101 (Anupama Rao ed. 2005).
- Nancy Fraser, How Feminism became Capitalism’s Handmaiden- and How to Reclaim it, in The Guardian, Oct. 14, 2013, available at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/14/feminism-capitalist-handmaiden-neoliberal.
- Chandra Talpade Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anticapitalist Struggles, 28 Signs 499-535 (2003).
- Prabha Kotiswaran, Á Bittersweet Moment’: Indian Governance Feminism and the 2013 Rape Law Reforms’ inEconomic & Political Weekly, Vol. 52, Issue 25-26, 24 June, 2017.
- Pratiksha Baxi, Çarceral Feminism as Judicial Bias: The Discontents Around State vs. Mahmood Farooqui, Interdisciplinary Law, Issue 3, October 2016
- Catherine Rottenberg, The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism” in Cultural Studies, Nov. 18, 2013. 1-20, available at
GENDER EQUALITY & THE LAW
(Weeks 4 & 5)
Very often, terms such as ‘gender inclusion’, ‘gender blindness’, ‘gender neutrality’, ‘gender sensitivity’ and ‘gender mainstreaming’ are used without a clear understanding of the distinction between the same. This module begins by unpacking these terms. A discussion on the concept of gender justice, and types of and approaches to gender equality seeks to provide a lens through which both international and Indian normative standards are examined.
This module would also examine women’s movements’ engagement with the law in India, thereby providing the student with an understanding of the context in which conversations and initiatives for law reform around gender justice have taken place in India. It then provides an overview of India’s obligations to gender justice under international law and the Indian Constitution.
- Understanding gender terminologies
- Concept of gender justice and gender equality
- Approaches to gender equality
- Women in India: A situational analysis
- Indian women’s movements & their engagement with the law
- India’s obligation to gender justice: Constitutional and international
- Anca Gheaus , Gender Justice, in Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jan. 2012, 1-25, available at https://jesp.org/index.php/jesp/article/view/60/53
- Shampa Dev, ‘Gender Justice in India: A Feminist Jurisprudential Perspective’, Tattwa Journal of Philosophy, 2018, Vol. 10, 69-88, available atjournals.christuniversity.in/index.php/tattva/article/download/1786/1524
- Marie Powell, ‘A Rights Based Approach to Gender Equality and Women’s Rights’, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 26, 2005 – Issue sup 1: Gender and Development, 605-617
- ‘Towards Equality’ – Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India, Government of India, 1974, available at http://pldindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Towards-Equality-1974-Part-1.pdf, and http://pldindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Towards-Equality-1974-Part-2.pdf
- Vibhuti Patel & Radhika Kajuria, Political Feminism in India: An Analysis of Actors, Debates and Strategies (Frederich Ebert Stiftung 2016)
- Catharine A MacKinnon, ‘Sex Equality under the Constitution of India: Problems, Prospects and Personal Laws’, International Journal of Constitutional Law, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1 April 2006, 181–202.
- Ratna Kapur & Brenda Cossman, ‘On Women, Equality and the Constitution: Through the Looking Glass of Feminism’ inGender and Politics in India 197-261(Nivedita Menon ed., Oxford University Press 1999)
- Kalpana Kannabiran, Judicial Meanderings in Patriarchal Thickets: Litigating Sex Discrimination in India, in Women and Law: Critical Feminist Perspectives 172-204 (Kalpana Kannabiran ed., 2014).
- Nivedita Menon, ‘In the Wake of the AUD Report’, Mar. 10, 2018, https://kafila.online/2018/03/10/in-the-wake-of-the-aud-report/
- Gita Sen & Avanti Mukherjee, ‘No Empowerment without Rights, No Rights without Politics: Gender-equality, MDGs and the post-2015 Development Agenda’, Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Vol. 15, 2014, Issue 2-3: Special Issue on Millennium Development Goals, 188-202
- Jayna Kothari, Gender Justice and India’s Obligations under International Conventions, Mar. 8, 2013, available at http://clpr.org.in/gender-justice-and-indias-obligations-under-international-conventions/
- Recommendations of High Level Committee on Status of Women in India headed by Prof. Pam Rajput, 2014.
- National Policy for Women 2016: Articulating a Vision for Empowerment of Women (Draft), Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, May 2016, available at http://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/women%20empowerment%20poliy_Final_17May.pdf
- Radha Kumar, The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India, 1800-1990 (Zubaan 1993)
FEMINIST DOCTRINES & THEIR APPLICATION TO LAWS ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA
(Weeks 6, 7 & 8)
This module aims at familiarizing the students with feminist doctrines, concepts and principles, and exploring the application of the same to statutory laws and judgments on violence against women in India.
- ‘Good Woman, Bad Woman’ syndrome
- Victimization, agency & empowerment
- Lived realities
- Upendra Baxi, Vasudha Dhagamwar, Raghunath Kelkar And Lotika Sarkar, Open Letter To The Chief Justice Of India, Supreme Court In Mathura Rape Case, Sep. 16 1979.
- Flavia Agnes, Protecting Women Against Violence – Review of a Decade of Legislation 1980-89, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 27, Issue No. 17, Apr. 25, 1992.
- Ved Kumari, ‘Gender Analyses of Indian Penal Code’ in (ed), Engendering Law - Essays in Honour of Lotika Sarkar (Amita Dhanda, Archana Parashar eds. 1999, Eastern Book Company) 139-160
- Sunita V S Bandewar, Amita Pitre & Lakshmi Lingam, Five Years Post Nirbhaya: Critical Insights into the Status of Response to Sexual Assault, in Indian Journal Of Medical Ethics, Mar. 28, 2018, available at http://ijme.in/articles/five-years-post-nirbhaya-critical-insights-into-the-status-of-response-to-sexual-assault/?galley=html
- Kimberle Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color, 43 Stanford L. Rev. 1241-99 (1991).
- Nivedita Menon, Is Feminism about ‘Women’? A Critical View on Intersectionality from India, International Viewpoint, 18 May 2015, available at http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/IMG/article_PDF/article_a4038.pdf.
- Naisargi Dave, Queer Activism: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics 167-204 (Zubaan 2016)
- Case Studies: Khairlanji, Soni Sori, Bilkis Bano, Kunan Poshpara & Extra judicial killings in Manipur
- Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law (Jan. 23, 2013), 57-95, http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Justice%20verma%20committee/js%20verma%20committe%20report.pdf
- Sohaila Abdulali, ‘I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t - Sohaila Abdulali’, New York Times, Jan. 7, 2013
- Aloysius Irudayam SJ et al, Dalit Women Speak Out: Caste, Class and Gender Violence in India 46-66 (2011).
- Arvind Narrain, Violation of Bodily Integrity: The Delhi Rape Case Among Others, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 48, Issue No. 11, Mar. 16, 2013.
GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT & DISCRIMINATION
(Weeks 9 & 10)
This module critically examines laws pertaining to discrimination and harassment, including (but not restricted to) the Uniform Civil Code debate and the discourse around law prohibiting sexual harassment at the workplace. It discusses the relevance and import of feminist doctrines such as ‘personal is political’ and ‘public - private dichotomy’.
The final part of this module aims to trigger discussion around the current context in which due process has come to be discussed and deliberated upon globally, against the backdrop of ‘Me Too’ campaigns, ‘Lists’ that publically shame alleged sexual harassers, and sexual harassment laws that are heavily weighed against the respondents, but also deny justice to the complainants. It examines the meaning and import of due process and procedural fairness and their relevance for the legitimacy of laws related to women’s rights. It juxtaposes procedural fairness with populist and vigilante justice, and examines both through the prism of feminist principles.
- Understanding doctrines: Personal is political, Public-private dichotomy
- Debate on the Uniform Civil Code
- Law to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace
- ‘Misuse of law’ by women
- Substantive and procedural justice; the relevance of due process
- Carol Pateman, ‘Feminist Critique of the Public and Private’ inFeminism and Equality103-123 (A Phillips (ed.)
- Flavia Agnes, Law, Justice and Gender: Family Law and Constitutional Provisions in India, (Oxford University Press 2011), Chapter 2: Constitutional Claims and Gender Justice.
- Flavia Agnes, ‘Conjugality, Property, Morality and Maintenance’ in Women And Law Critical Feminist Perspectives 32-58 (Kalpana Kannabiran ed., Sage Publications 2014)
- Flavia Agnes, ‘The Supreme Court, Media and the UCC Debate’ in Religion, Power & Violence: Expression of Politics in Contemporary Times 225-247(Ram Punyani ed., Sage Publications 2005)
- Narendra Subramaniam, India Needs to Debate the Components of a Progressive Uniform Civil Code’, The Wire, Oct. 23, 2017
- Nivedita Menon, Uniform Civil Code: The Women’s Movement Perspective, Kafila, Oct. 1, 2014
- Elizabeth Bartholet, Nancy Gertner, Janet Halley & Jeannie Suk Gersen, Fairness For All Students Under Title IX (Aug. 21, 2017), available at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33789434
- Saptarshi Mandal, ‘Do Personal Laws Get Their Authority from Religion or the State – Revisiting Constitutional Status’, in Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 51, Issue No. 50, Dec. 10, 2016
- Lotika Sarkar, Women And The Law (undated), available at http://feministlawarchives.pldindia.org/wp-content/uploads/33.pdf
LIMITS OF LAW & RE-IMAGINING GENDER JUSTICE
(Weeks 11 & 12)
The last module examines the prospects of gender justice within state and non-state laws and mechanisms for legal redress. It discusses the limits of law and feminist re-imaginations of gender justice.
It draws upon the discourse on homogenous laws vs. plural laws, the Feminist Judgment Project initiative, and discussion of non-state and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for women, examining the transformation of feminist knowledge into praxis, and raising questions of access to justice, legitimacy and effectiveness of non-state mechanisms for grievance redress for advancing gender justice.
- Limits of law
- Access to Justice for Women
- Feminist Judgment Project
- Non-state Mechanisms for Justice for Women in India
- Erika Rackley, ‘The Art and Craft of Writing Judgments: Notes on the Feminist Judgments Project’ in FEMINIST JUDGMENTS: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE (Rosemary Hunter et al, eds. 2010)
- Sylvia Vatuk, ‘The “Women’s Court” in India: An Alternative Dispute Resolution Body for Women in Distress’, inThe Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, Vol. 45, 2013, Issue 1, 76-103
- Nandita Haksar,1999. Human Rights Lawyering: A Feminist Perspective, in Engendering Law: Essays in Honour ofLotika Sarkar (Amita Dhanda & Archana Parashar eds., Eastern Book Company 1999).
- Saumya Uma, ‘Access to Justice for Women: From Obligations to Outcomes’, National Law University Odisha (NLUO) Law Journal – Special Issue on ‘Access to Justice’, Vol. II, Issue 1, August 2015, 116-134
- Ritupriya Gurtoo, ‘Khap Panchayats in Relation to Women’s Human Rights: Indian Perspective’, Journal of Legal Studies and Research, Vol. 2, Issue 2, April 2016, http://jlsr.thelawbrigade.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Ritupriya.pdf
- Sabiha Hussain, Shariat Courts and Women’s Rights in India, Centre for Women’s Development Studies http://www.cwds.ac.in/ocpaper/shariatcourts-sabiha-ocpaper.pdf