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Marriage and divorce: mental cruelty by the wife

By Rakesh Shukla

In this case of granting a divorce on grounds of mental cruelty by the wife, the Supreme Court seems to have gone out of its way to change the parameters of what constitutes mental cruelty on the part of the woman. It could have far-reaching consequences for future cases

Mental cruelty

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Gap between law in theory and in praxis

A recent Bombay High Court judgment stating that a daughter ceases to be part of a father’s family on marriage, coupled with reports that a lady judge has listed her daughters as liabilities in her public declaration of assets, underlines just how subjective law is, says Rakesh Shukla

law on sati

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Patriarchy cedes to gender equality

By Rakesh Shukla

Deeply entrenched patriarchy continues in modern India, from the airlines to the armed forces. But the Supreme Court’s November 2011 judgment, stating that Air India’s policy of appointing only males as in-flight supervisors was patently discriminatory, is a victory

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Child custody in the context of foreign court orders

By Rakesh Shukla

In a matrimonial dispute case involving a child, where the child was removed from his natural environment (the US) by the mother, and brought to India, the Supreme Court of India ruled that it was the child’s best interests that must be given priority. Both mother and son were ordered to return to the US within 15 days

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Free to choose: Mental retardation and reproductive choice

By Rakesh Shukla

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India struck down a high court order to terminate the pregnancy of a mentally retarded woman, against her will

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Apex court rules anew on cruelty by husband and relatives

By Rakesh Shukla

The Supreme Court does not just decide individual cases -- it lays down the law of the land. A recent ruling in which the apex court held that kicking a woman and threatening her with divorce do not amount to cruelty could set an unhealthy precedent

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SC flip-flops on irretrievable breakdown of marriage

By Rakesh Shukla

The Supreme Court has in the past granted divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of marriage, but a recent judgment dismisses it. The law must be settled once and for all, in the best interests of society

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Sexual harassment at defence establishments

By Rakesh Shukla

If a woman employed in the defence services files sexual harassment charges at the workplace, she is likely to be further harassed by the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against her, as the recent case of the principal of Army Public School demonstrates

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Medical expenses and maintenance

By Rakesh Shukla

In a judgment regarding medical reimbursement to a wife by her husband, the Supreme Court observed that the terms ‘maintenance’ and ‘support’ include means of living, food, clothes, shelter, recreation, health, proper care, nursing and medical assistance during sickness. Therefore, a wife is entitled to get medical reimbursement from her husband as part of maintenance

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Maintenance for wife and children: final and interim

By Rakesh Shukla

What is the law’s position on maintenance for the wife and children, after a divorce? What happens if the courts take years to arrive at a final decision regarding maintenance? Can the wife and children avail of interim maintenance during pendency of the proceedings?

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The finer points of dowry death

By Rakesh Shukla

In Baldev Singh versus State of Punjab 2008 (11) SCALE 120, although a demand by the husband for a fair share for his wife in her father’s property did not constitute a demand for dowry there were other circumstances and evidence to prove that the wife was being harassed by her husband and her in-laws for dowry, and subsequently died, making it a dowry death

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The 'husband' in the context of cruelty, dowry death and the validity of marriage

By Rakesh Shukla

How does one interpret the expression “husband” in the context of the offences of cruelty and dowry demands, in cases where the validity of the marriage is in question?

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Who is a legally wedded wife?

By Rakesh Shukla

If a woman is duped into marriage by a man who is already married, and then deserted, can she claim maintenance for herself and her children?

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Hindu women and adoption

By Rakesh Shukla

A recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of a disabled woman from Madhya Pradesh highlighted that a married Hindu woman cannot adopt a child

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SC upholds the importance of informed consent

By Rakesh Shukla

Can a doctor remove a patient’s organs without informed consent, in the course of surgery, even if he thinks it’s in the patient’s best interest? In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court decreed that correctness or appropriateness of the treatment procedure does not make the treatment legal in the absence of consent

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Love, romance and the age of marriage

By Rakesh Shukla

Legally, a Hindu bridegroom should be aged 21 and a bride 18. However, several girls over 15 but under 18 elope to marry men of their choice. In many cases, the boy is subsequently arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping. What does the court do in such circumstances?

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Raped woman's testimony overrides medical evidence

By Rakesh Shukla

The sexist attitudes of a patriarchal society ensure that convictions in rape cases in India are rare. The recent Supreme Court judgment, convicting the accused solely on the basis of the complainant's testimony, is therefore a welcome departure from the norm

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At odds with the Domestic Violence Act

By Rakesh Shukla

In its first ever judgment involving the Domestic Violence Act, the Supreme Court gives an interpretation clearly at odds with the objectives of the Act and against the interests of women who face domestic violence

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Defining mental cruelty

By Rakesh Shukla

In a recent judgment the Supreme Court attempted to clarify the concept of 'mental cruelty' in matrimonial law. Do these conditions and definitions work in a country like India with so much gender inequality?

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A setback for the battle against dowry

By Rakesh Shukla

A recent Supreme Court judgment stating that money demanded on account of financial stringency or to meet urgent domestic expenses does not constitute dowry has serious repercussions for ongoing and future dowry-related cases

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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per ...

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Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

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Features

Ragi over rice

Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutri...

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Books & Reports

Vertical farms

Vertical farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and...

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Punjab Series

Nation's food bowl in crisis

By Anosh Malekar

When the state that was the country's biggest agricultural success story in the 1970s tops the list of indebted farmers, it is obvious that there is something very rotten in the state of agriculture in the country. A three-part series that looks at the agriculture crisis in India's fo...

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News

Stories of change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. No...

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Changemakers

Urban poverty and the food crisis

A grain in an empty bowl: Government services in the urban context

By Maheen Mirza

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part o...

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Backgrounders

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

By Aditya Dev Sood

What use can a computer be to someone earning less than a dollar a day? What use is information technology in a country that has a low penetration of telephony and computers, where even electricity is not assured, and where millions are still illiterate? These are standard questions...

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Analysis

Free culture for a free society

By V Sasi Kumar

What is it that prompts a group of people in Calicut to start the Chamba Swatantra Cinema Project? How did the world move from copyrights over knowledge, introduced in the 16th-18th centuries and codified as the Statute of Anne, to free software, free knowledge and free culture? And w...

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Features

Do you want to be watched?

The new rules for surveillance under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. They also seem misguided, says Sunil Abraham . How many terrorists or criminals will be arrested in India thanks to the new ID requirements at cybercafés or a ban on public wi-fi? Intelligence work cannot be replaced...

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Changemakers

Stories of change

The people's voice

By Sherna Gandhy

Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through th...

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News

India turns to ICT for better delivery of welfare schemes

Bihar will become the first state in the country to videograph the distribution of PDS coupons to weed out ineligible recipients. And the Union human resources ministry proposes to use a cheap, indigenously made tablet PC to record BPL and caste data

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