THE LEGAL MESSAGE :-
In the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday, criminalising sex between a man and his minor wife, while the court refrained from adjudicating on the larger issue of marital rape, its judgement made reference to the Justice J.S. Verma committee recommendations that explained why the exemption of marital rape must be removed, and that a marital or other relationship is not a defence or justification for a lower sentence.
Rooted in Outdated Notions :-
The unjust treatment of marital rape as an exemption stems from three common law notions :-
- Marriage constitutes a contract, which includes the woman’s irrevocable consent to sex
- A woman is the property of her husband, and rape is a violation of a man’s property rather than a crime against women.
- After Marriage, a woman’s identity becomes part of her husband’s.
Despite the outdated, problematic origins of this exception, the Indian government has consistently resisted a change in the law.
The gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012 resulted in an amendment to the criminal legislation in India, including the definition and punishment of rape. However, the exemption of marital rape was retained, despite recommendations by the Justice Verma committee. Lawmakers reacted to its recommendation arguing: “If marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress.” The government thinks it will be used as a tool to harass men, and that it will affect the institution of marriage — an argument that places greater significance on marriage than women’s rights.
We must also recognise that removing the current marital exception, if nothing else, has an important signalling effect. In order to prove effective, such a change needs to be accompanied by a deliberate attempt to shift attitudes that normalise violence in the home. Currently, even in cases of non-marital rape, judges have suggested that rape victims marry their rapist for a “happy conclusion”, which highlights the notion that forced sex does not amount to rape if it takes place within a marriage.
The experience in countries such as the U.S. where marital rape is criminalised shows that despite changes in the law, the patriarchal notion that marriage overrides the legal and sexual autonomy of a woman still exists. Although all 50 states had enacted laws against marital rape by 1993, almost half the States still treat it differently from rape outside of marriage. In some states, marital rape is a chargeable offence only if the perpetrator uses or threatens to use physical force. In others, proof of marriage is often an easy way to reduce or mitigate the consequences of the offence. These kinds of legal distinctions legitimise the perception among law-enforcement agencies that cases of marital rape should be treated as less serious than rape outside of marriage.
Towards Justice & Prevention :-
These perceptions among law-enforcement agencies suggest that while it is important to work towards facilitating access to justice for victims, it is crucial to simultaneously focus on preventive measures. Since gender socialisation begins young, the study also speaks of the need to focus interventions on children and adolescents. This socialisation is reinforced through family and societal institutions, popular culture and media.
Social learning psychologists have found that a disrupted home environment contributes to violent, anti-social behaviour of a child.
Therefore, in addition to sensitising law enforcement authorities whose attitudes are merely symptomatic of widely-held beliefs about women and gender roles, we need to work with children, parents and the larger community to ensure marital rape is condemned, not condoned.
SIX STEPS TO JOB CREATION :-
India’s highly segmented labour market, one can still discern at least three demographic groups that are in urgent need of jobs :-
- A growing number of better educated youth
- Uneducated agricultural workers who wish to leave agricultural distress behind
- Young women, who too are better educated than ever before.
India is indeed the fastest growing large economy in the world
- Yet with investment low
- Credit off take low
- Capacity utilisation in industry low
- Agricultural growth low
- Plant load factor low
- Job growth is low as well.
So now What Policy Makers can do to revive job growth ?
Industrial & Trade Policy Needed :-
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is finally preparing an industrial policy. It is essential that trade policy is consistent with such an industrial policy. Otherwise the two may work at cross purposes and undermine each other’s objectives & this is what has been happening for several years. Excessive imports have been destroying Indian manufacturing due to Inverted Duty Structure.
What is Inverted Duty Structure ? Inverted duty structure is a situation where import duty on finished goods is low compared to the import duty on raw materials that are used in the production of such finished goods. For example, suppose the tariff (import tax) on the import of tyres is 10% and the tariff on the imports of natural rubber which is used in the production of tyres is 20%; this is a case of inverted duty structure.
- Special packages are needed for labour-intensive industries to create jobs. There are a number of labour intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments.
- There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Most of the unorganised sector employment is in MSMEs.
- Align Urban development with Manufacturing Clusters to create jobs. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has a programme called AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) aimed at improving infrastructure for small towns. Infrastructure investment by the government always creates many jobs.
- Focus of women. Girls are losing out in jobs, or those with increasing education can’t find them. Secondary enrolment in the country rose from 58% to 85% in a matter of five years (2010-2015), with Gender Parity. Skilling close to clusters which is where the jobs are, is likely to be more successful. The problem with skilling programmes has been low placement after skilling is complete. The availability of jobs close to where the skilling is conducted will also enhance the demand for skilling.
- Public investments in health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs.
- Government schools needs a development.
- The number of paramilitary personnel continues to grow, State governments are not filling even sanctioned posts in the policy and in the judiciary (at all levels there are vacancies). More police and a larger judiciary can both reduce crime as well as speed up the process of justice for the ordinary citizen.