Overview: GENDER NEUTRALITY IN LAWS – HUMAN IS NOT LIMITED

Oct. 4, 2020, 1:13 p.m.   suryasikha98  
Pens of Law students    


Profile of the Author: – Bhagyashree Chauhan is pursuing her final year in BBA.LLB from Symbiosis Law University, Hyderabad. Her primary areas of interest are Constitutional Law and Socio-Legal issues.

While the Indian Penal Code expands the notion of rape that included non-penile-vaginal penetration offences, the meaning tends to adhere to a gender-specific notion of rape focused on the abuser-perpetrator system's predetermined gender-dependent representation. Here, I will chastise this understanding of gender specificity in Indian rape law on the basis that this really facilitates a stereotypical conception of gender, and lead to serious discrimination. Instead, it is more reasonable to follow a human rights-based approach when defining the act of rape or to eradicate the gender differences in identifying perpetrators and victims of sexual assaults. The Declaration is focused on the duty of the State not to discriminate based on sex, the acceptance of LGBTQ rights as well as the recognition of common grounds in the promotion of gender neutrality in Indian rape law.

Although the meaning of the word under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 has been modified multiple times, somehow it fits with the common conception of rape in which the victims and perpetrators are both women and men.[i] It is also said that we are living in a patriarchal dominance society. However, when it comes to legislation in India, do we even have policies that benefit men at all?

It does not only assume women’s rights when we read about gender equality, it implies gender equality for everything that includes men. Cases of violence against women are always heard, be it sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry cases, etc. Crimes against men in India, however, are not so frequently cited or even discussed.[ii]

We have all kinds of rules, such as rape, sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, dowry cases, etc., for crimes against women, and we speak out against these crimes against women. We fail to recognize and accept, on the other hand, that even men could be victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, etc., and if we still preach about equality, is there any equality? This can be demonstrated by an example of even an entire coach reserved for women in the Delhi Metro.

However, if a man sits on the seat in the specific coach designated for women, then he is made to get up from that seat completely ignoring the fact that the man might just need to sit. Anytime oppression is done towards women, we lift our voice, so why don't we do the same when a man is the victim?

Sections 354A to 354D and 375 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 specifically state that, as mentioned in the above sections, even a woman may be the victim of the offences and the perpetrator will be a male[iii]. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act 2005 itself states that it is an act that favors women who have reportedly been subjected to domestic violence.[iv] The lack of empirical evidence in favor of sexual assault is by far the most significant contention provided in support of gender-specific rape laws. This argument is very flawed. Simply less documentation of such instances is the explanation behind its absence of actual data.[v] This does not eliminate the likelihood of such events occurring.[vi] The key reasons for less reporting of such cases are:

Stigma from anti-masculinity

It is argued that patriarchal social construction restricts men from filing lawsuits about sexual harassment when a woman is the offender. This stigma is often referred to as hegemonic masculinity, which has three features: males are not feminine, physically violent and not heterosexual. This characterization contributes to the development of an unsubstantiated impression in which he would be made female if a male sexual victim were to disclose his case.[vii]

No laws to punish suspects for male rape

The pervasive gender-specific existence of Indian rape laws has prevented men from filing cases because they do not find any laws that penalize male-rape convicts. While the POCSO Act, 2012 is gender-neutral in cases of sexual harassment of girls, adult male culture still hopes for gender-neutral legislation on rape.[viii]

In rape laws, gender neutrality does not aim at totally desexualizing rape. Instead, it aims to expand the coverage of victims of rape. It seeks to remove the conventional definition of the male-female stereotype connected to rape. It is strongly accepted that the introduction of gender-neutral laws on rape would not be a piece of old tacky and that it should bear in mind the patriarchal nature of Indian society, granting men unfair powers to use it against women. However, this should not be a justification for limiting the implementation of legislation on gender-neutral abuse, since it would deprive the male community of their fundamental human rights.[ix]

As much as a genderless 'law of the land' seems to be a fantasy, its pragmatism should be examined at, like other laws. Total 'gender neutrality' and 'equality' are nothing but synonyms, given what is seen on the face of it. There, in fact, anything but we still have to ask ourselves, "This law is important, but is it workable?”. Not only for us, but also for all those parts of society on which it is bound to have an impact. For the true meaning of the law is not to make our country sound revolutionary, but to be able to be used by the people of this land.

FAQs:

Q. What is gender neutrality?

Ans. The idea of a social culture to be non-biased in behavioral aspects in terms of social as well as legal norms which sees all humans to be privileged of equal rights and status.

[i] Smt. Sudesh Jhaku vs K.C.J. And Others 1998 CriLJ 2428

[ii] Sakshi vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors 1999 CriLJ 5025

[iii] 172nd Report, Law Commission of India, 2000

[iv] The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012

[v] Shweta Kabra, gender neutral laws – how needful in india? http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/3FE150D0-E784-49BD-8328-4134C0E87955.pdf (10/4/2020,1:00 PM)

[vi] TNN, Activists join chorus against gender neutral rape laws, TOI (India, 7 May 2013)

[vii] Nidhi Gupta, Rethinking the relationship between law, gender justice and traditions in india: from hostility to harmony (2017-18) https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/8569411/file/8577140.pdf (10/4/2020,1:00 PM)

[viii] International Men’s Day: ‘I am a man who faced domestic abuse’ (india, 19 November 2019) https://www.thequint.com/news/india/stories-male-victims-domestic-violence-india (10/4/2020,1:00 PM)

[ix] “They treated us in monstrous ways” https://www.hrw.org/report/2020/07/29/they-treated-us-monstrous-ways/sexual-violence-against-men-boys-and-transgender (10/4/2020,1:00 PM)


Liked the article ?
Share this:

Tags

india ads fairnesscreams tv ads ban proposal anti ageing creams government 2006 micro small review enterprises development act big India Juvenile Justice Women justice Jurisdiction Constitution caa secularism amendment sedition Arbitration consumer complaint filing international laws wildlife protection animal laws USA china women empowerment pornography legal prostitution sex trafficking laws legalising Economy Measures RBI Coronavirus Reserve Bank of India stability coronavirus impact liquidity shantikanta das monetary policy repo rate moratorium disinformation fake news state of frenzy social media anger hate issue EpidemicDiseaseAct uniformcivilcode equality secular illegalimmigrants immigration assisteddying euthanasia police brutality custodial violence police efforts jail separation divorce hindu marriage family laws economic slowdown unemployment percapitaincome inflation GDP growth aggregate demand commercial surrogacy bill armed forces equal rights landmark judgement indian army transgender living conditions third gender Disability rights rape law Criminal law IPC regulatory sandbox IRDA framework IRDA guidelines live environment RBI regulations pollution womeninmates punishment sexualassault wrongfulconvictions IPR EnvironmentLaws JudicialActivism Jurisprudence Internship singleparent adoption niti manthan phase 1 prison reforms Phase 1 Niti manthan e-fradus cyber crimes It Laws Medico legal aid Media technology and democracy legal literacy Body Offences Housing infrastructure Infra accessibility for the persons with disability indian law global laws right to health fundamental right article 21 Indian penal code criminal law crimes against women rapecases IntellectualPropertyRights Trademark NuclearSecurity Cyberlaws judiciary petitions mercy petition review petition curative petition zero draft human rights business United nations ADR Law mediation Alternative dispute resolution mechanism negotiation conciliation Mahatama Gandhi Gandhian Concept of Law economics technology technological unemployment network online consumption production working remotely law of sedition article 19 right to freedom and expression moblynching violence offence animalrights gayparenting pronouns fundamental duties Indian law Constitution of India covid19 criminal justice system constitutional administrative litigation Courts order commission report speedy trial Corrections legal aid legislature Police Successionlaw casestudy SARFAESI e-debate maritalrape 498A IPC Misuse nirbhaya rape case death penalty deterent theory covid-19 force majuere events Force Majeure Clauses coronavirus outbreak doctorine of frustration clauses contract UAPA 2019 Review indigenous people LabourLaws Familylaw dowry death white collar crimes plea bargaining menstruation myths defamation forgery events Results Phase 2 trespass mental health Patent rights crimes lockdown child abuse traditional crime crime rate phishing ransomware cybercrime malware domestic violence doctoring lis pendens applicability conditions insensitive media coverage media Death News channel ayodhya judgement Group Discussion Exceprts naturaljustice legalprincipals Supremecourt crpc Bail Legalethics legal guidelines telemedicine legal issues Laws Section 269 Section 270 cholera privacy concern Divorce Muslim Women retention of property yemen conflict competition law 10 years administrativelaw PiracyLaw juvenile justice EIA Draft 2020 30th June 2020 Environmental Impact Assessment Climate Change Laws Dissent Research Group juvenile crimes Administration environment conservation Sustainable Oceans Énvironment Service laws Compassionate Appointments capital punishment policy legislation webinar scientist climatologist report policy change Indo-China conflict Trade war TPA property patent law section 144 principles of natural justice justice delayed instant justice work from home InformationTechnology persons with disabilities discrimination health girls disease community duties individual contemporary world common interests duality MRTP Act Indian economy competition commission of india Competition Act appraisal singaporean court section 377 Navtej singh judgement IHL war crimes humanitarian law ipc beyond india extra territorial jurisdiction wife maintenance desertion marriage #digital strike #cyber security chinese apps #chinese apps #ad-hoc arbitration #institutional arbitration #environmental law #environment #human rights #strict liability Lok Adalats US-India Abortion laws Live-in-relationships Indian Judiciary Universal Healthcare Rules Based World Order. YL3 victim dying declaration wish last wish truth balanced cooperative bank sarfaesi act Internet Ban Censorship Website Ban #DPSP #state #covid #IP black money racism Skin colour Political system Unrest accountability Jammu and Kashmir Article 370 Abrogation Kidnapping and Abduction Indo-Nepal brutality dk basu guidelines Conflict Changing dynamics democracy prostitution in India extradition laws and treaties Surrogacy laws case study Law and Order society Legal Implications regulatory framework Betting Gambling Seventh Schedule Central Government Betting Laws cyber delinquency Juvenile Justice Act Doctrine Part Performance Section 53-A CERC sustainable development Grid Code electricity laws electricity control Mental HealthCare Act WHO National Trust Act Disaster Mangement Indian legal Framework Female Criminality social structure Corporate Laws Corporate Veil Company Election Laws Electoral Reforms Law Commission of India Article 324 Election Commission contempt of court rule of law supreme court principle of natural justice judges criticism high court Fertility Assisted Reproductive Technology Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill Legal Evolution Literature growth goods and services Predatory Pricing Market legal remedies cryptocurrency virtual currency santhanam committee ethical behavior border LAC Aksai Chin revenge porn FIR SC/ ST Reservation artificialintelligence Privacy privacy specialmarriageact constitutional constitutionality Article 139A Education National Education Policy HRDMinistry feminism Gender Inequality Sex god juristic personality PIL earth nature ecosystem public trust Section 420 ASCI Advertisements Covid-19 Online Dispute Resolution dispute JusticeOnTime Cyber Space election Cloning Senior citizens Human Rights arrest CrPC procedural laws curative legislation Ration card Judicial Review Writ Jurisdiction indian passport foreigners-act extradition law laws in India Inheritance Laws Section 6 Domicile CLAT NLU belgium extradition treaty vicarious liability law of torts common law International Commercial Arbitration Private Defence Legal Right energy consumption national solar mission international law economic sanction tax structure Reforms NDPS Act Section64A genocide research projects internships summer school Virtual Courts Digital India NDHM Press Regulation italian-marines fishermen kerala international waters arbitration womenrights witchhunting janaushadischeme medical national health policy healthcare national digital health mission world health organisation legal jurisprudente draft health data management 2020 concerns drawbacks ministry of health and family affair sting operations media trial press rights right to privacy Twitter Prashant Bhushan period leave probate essentials for will will Technical biometrics Laws for women settlement mandalcommission 30 years gandhi principles Indianlegalsystem CELRA Climate Change Phase 3 sakshiaggarwal communication skills youcanskilldevelopment client counselling soumikghoshal sbi protest farm acts agriculture farmers anti-farmers men Executive power constitutional law Article 73 finance transparency political parties bonds Sexual Harassment Ministry of Human Resource Development Educational Reforms sabarimala case untouchability cruelty misuse by women gender biased 488A ban of apps section 69A tiktok app compensation section 357A state s right to disconnect employees' rights constitution of india bankruptcy Insolvency_law_committee insolvency_bankruptcy_act insolvency nclt students accessibility retributive theory right to life marine life MPA wildlife protection act aquatic animals regulation gender equality constitution internet identity theft fraud #Live-in Relationship #Live-in Relationship morality, unmarried couples. #society #socialchange