NEW DELHI -- Over the past year, the Supreme Court has countered traditions and practices which have stigmatized and isolated Indian women for centuries, and rendered them socially as well as economically weaker citizens.
A lot of work even needs to be done before women can feel that they are equal members of society - in theory and practice, but judgments towards that end are coming fast and furious.
On Women's Right Day, 2016, here are eight judgments which aim to empower Indian women in their personal and professional lives.
It was pointed out that inspite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination.
Sole Legal Guardian
The Supreme Court ruled that an unwed mother in India can become the sole legal guardian of a child without the consent of the father, and she is no longer required to disclose the father's name.
Inalienable Right To Stridhan
The Supreme Court ruled that a woman can claim her stridhan back from her husband and his family members even if they are not divorced. In other words, a woman can claim her stridhan even after separation from her husband.
Head Of The Family
The Delhi High Court has ruled the eldest female member of a family can be its Karta, a position which was only reserved for the eldest male. In other words, women can now be the legal head of their households.
"If a male member of a Hindu Undivided Family, by virtue of his being the first born eldest, can be a Karta, so can a female member," it said.
Right To Dance
The Supreme Court ruled that dance bars in Maharashtra would remain open, and stayed the law which banned dance performances in bars, hotels and restaurants in Maharashtra, rendering thousands of women unemployed.
In The Navy, Now
The Delhi High Court ruled for women to be granted permanent commission in the Navy, ensuring that women naval officers enjoyed rights similar to their counterparts in the Army and the Air Force.
No Compromise In Rape
The Supreme Court has ruled that there can be no mediation and no compromise can be reached with the culprit in cases of rape or attempt to rape.
Any kind of liberal approach has to be put in the compartment of spectacular error.
Live-In Relationships Recognized
The Supreme Court ruled that an unmarried couple living together for a long time would be presumed to be legally married, and a woman would be eligible to inherit her partner's property.
Money For Acid Attack Survivors
Rights Of Muslim Women
The Supreme Court asked that a Public Interest Litigation be registered to examine whether "discrimination" suffered by women under Islamic laws violates fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution and international conventions.
The Supreme Court also called for a reassessment of the Muslim Women Act, 1986, which requires a Muslim man to pay maintenance only for the period of iddat (three menstrual cycles or three months after divorce). India's Criminal Procedure Code, which applies to all citizens, provides maintenance to divorced women for their lifetime with the exception of remarriage.
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