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GS – Paper 1
- Flawed understanding of triple talaq law is leading to its misuse
- Issues in wages against housework and alternatives to it
GS – Paper -2
- India’s counter-coercive strategy against China
- Post-Central vista verdict: Need to improve process of developing Public project?
Source– The IndianExpress
Syllabus- GS Paper II (laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.)
Synopsis– Faulty understanding of the triple talaq law i.e., Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, as well as the Islamic law on divorce is leading to misuse of the act.
Introduction- In the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that mother-in-law of the second respondent (wife) cannot be accused of the offence of pronouncement of triple talaq under the Act as the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man (husband). It clearly shows that the act is being misunderstood.
Background of the anti-triple talaq law-
- Anti-women divorce customs prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia had been given a severe blow by the teachings of great social reformer Prophet Muhammad.
- On the basis that “old habits die hard”, unscrupulous men innovated ways and means to circumvent the Prophet’s noble teachings.
- One of these was the practice of triple talaq — repeating the word “talaq” thrice — which was believed to effect instant dissolution of marriage leaving no room for any reconsideration or reconciliation.
- Instead of defeating this innovation, law men of the time called it talaq-ul-bidat and declared it to be “sinful but effective”.
- This concept remained in Muslim societies for centuries across the globe.
- But due to its devastating effects on families and societies, country after country in Asia and Africa gradually abolished by legislation the detestable practice of triple talaq.
Situation in India-
India took a much longer time to follow suit. During British rule, courts kept this law alive as a “sinful but effective” form of divorce after calling it a concept “bad in theology but good in law.”
Post– Independence, some High Court judges like VR Krishna Iyer of Kerala and Baharul Islam of Assam tried to awaken the custodians of state authority to the need for its abolition.
Finally, the practice of triple talaq was outlawed in the Shayara Bano case of 2017. The anti-triple talaq Act of 2019 was the outcome of this judicial reform.
How provisions of Triple Talaq law are often misunderstood?
- Misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (cruelty to a woman by her husband or his relatives) was once acknowledged by the apex court and formalized some measures. But under feminist pressure, the measures were withdrawn.
- Anti-triple talaq law together with Section 498A is proving destructive for the families.
- For Instance, in one triple talaq case in Kerala, a lawyer of a woman included her husband’s mother in the FIR filed against her husband in reference to the said IPC provision.
- Kerala High Court had refused bail to the accused husband’s mother. The case went to SC where SC highlighted the faulty applications os the act, that
- There is no specific provision in Section 7(c), or elsewhere in the Act, making Section 438 inapplicable to an offence punishable under the Ac
- Section 7 of the 2019 act is particularly misunderstood. Many lawyer misbelief that it overrides the general provision for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- For example, after enactment of the act, a man accused in the Triple talaq case sought anticipatory bail in the Bombay High Court. Lawyer argued that the non-obstante clause in Section 7, makes CrPC provision inapplicable.
- However, Court rejected the argument and granted bail to the person.
- For understanding the common-sense fact that this Act is meant to discipline erring husbands only, the learned lawyers needed a learning session with the apex court.
The verdict of SC is a significant step towards preventing the misuse of the anti-triple divorce law.
Source- The Indian Express
Syllabus- GS Paper I (Salient features of Indian Society, Role of women and women’s organization)
Synopsis- It is important to recognise the value of unpaid domestic work. However, creating value isn’t always about fair remuneration. A salary to women for domestic work will institutionalise the idea of men as ‘providers.
Introduction– Recently, Kamal Hasan’s party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, promised salaries to housewives as a part of its electoral campaign in Tamil Nadu.
Shashi Tharoor also said that monetising the services of women homemakers in society will enhance their power and autonomy and will lead to a recognition of the value of unpaid work. He also emphasised on creating near-universal basic income.
Origin of demand for wages against housework-
- It was first raised at the third National Women’s Liberation conference in Manchester, England. The International Wages for Housework Campaign (IWFHC) was formed by Selma James in 1972.
- In India, the National Housewives Association, in 2010, tried to seek recognition as a trade union. But it was rejected on the ground that housework is not a trade or an industry.
- To empower women financially and help them live with dignity, in 2012, the government announced that it was considering mandating a salary for housework to wives, from husbands. But it never came to force.
Status of majority of women in their family-
- Household works require efforts and sacrifices throughout 24/7, 365 days a year, still they face domestic violence and cruelty due to their economic dependence on others, mainly their husbands.
- As per the data of the NSSO, only about a quarter of men and boys above six years engaged in unpaid household chores, compared to over four-fifths of women.
- Every day, an average Indian male spends 1.5 hours per day in unpaid domestic work, compared to about five hours by a female.
Consequences of the paid domestic work
Recognising the value of unpaid domestic work is not always about fair remuneration. It may not lead to all positives;
- Men paying for wives’ domestic work could further enhance their sense of entitlement. It may also put an additional onus on women to perform.
- Ethically, buying domestic labour from wife will formalize the patriarchal Indian family where the position of men stems from their being “providers” in the relationship.
- Moreover, legal recognition does not always mean protection. For instance, despite legal recognition of equal inheritance rights, the majority of women are not receiving that.
What are the alternatives to wages for housework?
- First- Dowry can be converted to the policy as it shows some gains received by daughters from the parental property (equal inheritance rights). It would be more effective than salary for household work.
- Second– Rather than creating a new provision of salary for housework, we need to strengthen awareness, implementation, and utilization of other existing provisions like;
- Right to reside in the marital home,
- Streedhan and haq mehr,
- Inheritance rights as daughters
- Free legal aid and maintenance in instances of violence and divorce
- Third- Women should be encouraged to reach their potential through quality education, access and opportunities of work, gender-sensitive and harassment-free workplaces.
- Fourth– Husbands should support wives in their daily housework and should not burden their wives for the work which they can do by themselves.
- Fifth– We should raise our boys to be brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers who would respect the women and will fight for their rights.
Just as we do not want women to commodify their reproductive services and we banned commercial surrogacy in the country. On similar lines, we should not allow the commodification of housework and personal care.
Once the above-given conditions are assured to the women, they will be able to exercise freedom for themselves and will be able to decide whether to work inside or outside of the home.
Source: Click here
Syllabus: GS 2
Synopsis: India has done quite well in countering Chinese moves in eastern Ladakh with its coercive strategy.
There is an opportunity for middle powers like India to redefine their position in the world order as decline and rise of Chinese and American powers continue.
- Alexander L. George, an American political scientist, is best known for his work on coercive diplomacy. The happenings in eastern Ladakh can be understood with reference to four variations of coercive diplomacy:
- A gradual turning of the screw.
- A try-and-see.
- A tacit ultimatum.
- A full-fledged ultimatum.
How the four variations of coercive diplomacy were used in the border standoff?
- China attempted to alter the existing status quo in eastern Ladakh, this resembled gradually turning the screw and then waiting to see India’s reaction.
- India adopted a try and see approach. India wanted to engage in mild forms of coercion that involved the building up of forces to achieve parity on the ground.
- IAF was displaying its capabilities in Ladakh indicating that India wanted PLA to restore the status quo without any threats.
After India failed to compel the PLA to withdraw by mid-july, it had two options according to Alexander George’s escalatory ladder:
- First, India could have issued an indirect or tacit ultimatum that would involve an unspoken and firmly controlled tactical action, by this means signifying resolve and intent.
- Second, it could issue a full-fledged ultimatum followed by multi-dimensional military action that could lead to a limited conflict.
What approach did India took to handle china?
At the operational and strategic level, the Chinese did not expect the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to mobilise and get into their operational roles at high altitude with effortlessness.
- Indian Army lowered the psychological high ground gained by Chinese by occupying key heights overlooking Chinese PLA.
- At the strategic level, India’s political establishment did not push the panic button and synergised politico-diplomatic-military approach was adopted.
- India has militarily recovered well, diplomatically played ruthlessly and strategically postured skilfully in spite of the restrictions of the ongoing pandemic. However, it is too early to predict the course of events; it can only be fair to say that India has done well in countering Chinese coercion in Ladakh with its own brand of counter-coercion.
Source: click here
Syllabus: GS 2- Governance
Synopsis: The issue of Central Vista Project has reiterated the need for holistic solutions for the issues in process of the redevelopment projects.
The majority ruling decided that the government had followed all processes as required by the regulations and could go ahead with the construction.
However, it is only the one instance, which is visible, the problem of redevelopment project is much bigger. For instance, Amaravati project as the proposed capital for Andhra Pradesh.
- In this project firstly land was acquired through controversial methods and later on the project was abandoned, creating problems for farmers.
Thus, thoughtful solutions to the issues, is required that can be common for all such projects
What are the areas require improvement?
Public participation and architectural services procurement are the 2 of several areas that are in urgent need of improvement;
The issue of public Participation
- Horizontal accountability ensures check on government, by creating connected state organisations such as heritage committees and environmental regulators.
- Vertical accountability requires citizen oversight. Citizens are asking for improved participatory process.
- Government argues that horizontal accountability is in the place. Provisions for consultation although are not absent, but the process of consultation is vague.
- Judgment in central Vista is also not clear on the matter of public participation.
- Development of Land Acquisition act provides a few lessons that has spelt out consent required from a minimum number of landowners.
Process of architectural services procurement
- Process of choosing a designer for a public project need improvement as there is lack of evaluation criteria and standards for design. Also, weightage is given to lower fee instead of better designs.
- The architecture firms face entry barriers as their expertise is judged on the basis of their company’s turnover. The unreasonable revenue conditions make it difficult for many firms to qualify and also reduce pool of choice.
What regulatory changes can be made?
- First, for improving consultation, regulations and process have to clearly state what prior disclosures are required, when meetings have to be held and reasons for accepting and declining suggestions should be listed properly.
- Second, the government adopted the Quality and cost based selection (QCBS) for choosing designers. This method specifies requirements for consultants, places higher weightage on their technical capability and lower weightage on financial proposals.
- Third, in order to reduce the entry barrier, one can consider the suggestions made by the Architects’ Council of Europe. It suggests dropping turnover requirements and emphasized on qualitative selection criteria.
- Weightage given to design value has to be clear and fixed as more than 65% of the registered architects in India are below 35 years and many firms are medium-sized, such changes are all the more required.
- Policymakers maintain that developing countries like India have a quite low state capacity. Therefore, higher standards set in the matured economy and continued by governments with higher capacity cannot be suddenly implanted.
- The dominant argument is that practices will improve as economic growth happens and as the country builds capabilities. However, this incremental approach to be moderated.