Juvenile Justice Act
The Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice Bill, where the juvenile age for trial of heinous crime has been reduced. According to the new act, children of age 16 years will now be tried as adults in certain cases of crimes such as rape and murder. Before you spontaneously support our lawmakers for this decision, we urge you to read this, this and this to understand why reducing juvenile age is bad and harsh. In fact worldwide, people are debating to increase juvenile age to at least 21.
Judicial Action and Mis-Action
The Bombay High Court asked municipal corporations to be more progressive and inclusive while designing urban infrastructure, proclaiming that women had equal right to safe and clean toilet at all convenient places. The court said public toilets were critical as “any large infrastructure project to make cities livable”.
The Karnataka High Court gave visitation rights to Pascal Mazurier, a French consulate employee, when he appealed that he wanted to meet his children. However, the reason he was kept away from his children was the fact that he sexually abused one of them. In effect, the court allowed a rapist to meet the survivor of rape. Suja Jones Mazurier, mother of the seven-year-old survivor, has sought the intervention of the Karnataka State Commission.
Pointing out to the susceptibility of a child to imagination or tutoring, a special court acquitted a Bandra school peon of raping a then five-year-old girl at school. However, all the things pointed out by the court including no external injuries and the child’s susceptibility to imagination are in fact myths of child sexual abuse.
State Support For Women
Even as everyone is happy with juvenile age being brought down, domestic violence continues to be conveniently overlooked. Reports show improper budget allocation by states, reduction in the number of protection officers and way lesser number of actual cases filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
According to latest news reports, the centralised helpline number for women (181) is only functional for 8 hours a day in Maharashtra. There seem to be more problems with this, since the helpline which is to be connected with one-stop crisis centers, do not even have qualified counsellors.
Yet another witness in the Asaram Bapu rape case has gone missing. Here is a quick timeline of what happened in the two rape cases against Asaram Bapu.
Running short of ideas on how to spend the Nirbhaya fund, the Centre is now looking to adopt schemes on women’s safety, being run or floated by state governments. Please note that the Nirbhaya fund is a sum or Rs. 2000 crore allotted for the sake of women, which is lying unused completely.
Haryana’s new electoral restrictions (minimum schooling, possession of a functional toilet in your house, payment of all pending electricity bills, payment of all outstanding debt to cooperative banks, no criminal cases against them), upheld by the Supreme Court, seems to be the beginning of the end for rural women’s enfranchisement in India.
Women At Work
A parliamentary panel has found that women personnel constitute only a little over 9 per cent of the Delhi Police force and asked the Home Ministry to ensure that their numbers are enhanced and reaches up to 33 per cent.
Prof Bidyut Chakrabarty, against whom a case of sexual harassment was made in 2007, is now on the list of potential candidates for the position of Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. He is already part of the Executive Council of JNU since October 2015. Here is an open letter to the President of India urging that sexual harassment is a serious offense and it needs to impact process of appointment in universities.
Several cases of rape, attempt to rape and child sexual abuse were reported in the last week.
Featured Image Credit: A representational image of women in Indian police force | herbluewear.wordpress.com