#India – Marriage officer humiliates HC woman lawyer #Vaw #WTFnews #Womenrights

, TNN | Jun 15, 2013,

Marriage officer humiliates HC senior lawyer for late marriage
How can you think of getting married at this age? The officer told a shocked Nirmala, who charging him with objectionable and unwarranted conduct.
JABALPUR: What has age to do with marriage? Plenty, if one happens to be a woman in Madhya Pradesh. Only, senior lawyer in MP high court, Nirmala Raikwar, learnt it the hard way.

When, along with her friend and fiance Ramesh Raikwar (younger in age incidentally), she appeared before additional collector and marriage officer, Jabalpur, Sheelendra Singh, with her application for a court marriage, Singh publicly not only remonstrated her for choosing to tie the knot when she was already past her prime and also mocked Ramesh over his poor choice for a bride.

How can you think of getting married at this age? The officer told a shocked Nirmala, who charging him with objectionable and unwarranted conduct, has filed a complaint in the court of judicial magistrate first class even as MP High Court Bar Association has taken up her cause. Narrating the incident to TOI, Nirmala said that she had applied for a civil marriage on March 3 and notices were served thereafter on March 12. On May 24 she, along with Ramesh and her junior colleagues, arrived in the office of the marriage officer for fulfilling the formalities.

“Singh examined me closely and demanded to know my age. It was not a very polite question and I said the age is mentioned in the documents lying on the table, please check it out,” Nirmala said.

Bar association demands action, warns of agitation

Bar association has demanded action against Singh and warned that lawyers’ would launch an agitation if the issue was ignored by authorities.

Meanwhile, admitting that the additional collector had no business to behave in such a manner, Jabalpur divisional commissioner Deepak Khandekar said he was probing the matter and would take action if allegations were found true.


Blood lust mars India’s Tiananmen moment #Vaw #delhigangrape

N. JAYARAM 8 January 2013, http://www.opendemocracy.net/

The mere passage of laws and amendments will fail to make a dent when police forces enjoy impunity, society remains deeply patriarchal and son-preference as well as other anti-female practices remain.

Violence against women and sexual harassment are such daily occurrences that only the most egregious and horrendous make front page news, although other not so prominent incidents are stored away in the collective conscience.

“Guilt” and – in South Asia – “family honour” have a powerful hold, and most incidents of even horrific violence get suppressed.

But the gruesome gang-rape of a young woman in a bus in New Delhi in mid-December, the long wait for reports of her precarious condition and her eventual death caught the conscience of most Indians with access to mass media.

Although there are continuing questions on the part of the marginalized sections of India as to why the rapes and gang-rapes that members of their communities suffer regularly fail to be noticed by the mainstream media, there seems to be a consensus of hope that this is a moment for possible future change in gender relations in India.

It has been likened to the Tunisian and the Egyptian pro-democracy movements of 2011. Another comparison could be with the two Tiananmen movements – of 1976 following the death of Zhou Enlai and the 1989 in the wake of former Chinese communist party general secretary Hu Yaobang’s passing away. The first had the tacit backing of Deng Xiaoping who was soon to emerge as the supreme leader and usher in economic reforms while keeping a tight lid on dissent. The second Tiananmen incident led to a tightening of the regime before an acceleration of economic reforms that have led to runaway growth alongside massive corruption, denial of trade union rights, discrimination against migrants and other problems the people cannot protest about.

While India is a chaotic democracy, it too is at a crossroads. The current upsurge that has affected most cities, where large numbers of people have staged spontaneous demonstrations,  could be harnessed for real change towards making India a less violent place for women as well as for children and old people, or it could see it turn towards being one where retribution and insecurity rule.

The incident and its aftermath have been making front page news for weeks now. Hindu chauvinists and other conservatives have been falling over each other in coming up with bizarre suggestions – one wants women to stayconfined to their households, while another wants them to call a would-be rapist ‘brother’ and beg for mercy.  Meanwhile the what-was-she-wearing crowd has been active and vocal.

One outstandingly disturbing aspect of the reactions to the gang-rape has been widespread and shrill demand for harsh punishments for the gang-rape accused. While calls to hang them quickly are widespread, other frequently aired demands are for them to be castrated and given Saudi-style punishments. Hundreds of mostly young people around the country have held placards calling for the accused to be hanged or castrated, or subject to other violent punishments.

Among the bizarre reactions and demands is one asking lawyers not to represent the rapists. No one, not even those the whole world deems responsible for the most monstrous of acts, ought to be exempt from the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Legal representation is a fundamental right and it should have been taken for granted that all lawyers are duty-bound by the “cab rank rule” – to take on a brief so long as they have no conflict of interest. But two bar associations in New Delhi have openly declaredthat they would not appear for the alleged gang-rapists.

India’s Bar Council did step in and say it was “concerned” over the two associations’ stance. But that followed a day after former Indian Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju declared the bar associations’ moves “illegal”.

“Professional ethics require that a lawyer cannot refuse a brief, provided a client is willing to pay his fee, and the lawyer is not otherwise engaged. Hence, the action of any Bar Association in passing a resolution that none of its members will appear for a particular accused, whether on the ground that he is a suspected terrorist, rapist, mass murderer, etc, is against all norms of the Constitution, and professional ethics,” Justice Katju said in a newspaper article.

Other than Justice Katju’s comment, there has been silence from the leading lights of India’s judiciary, from politicians as well as from the media. Hardly anyone else has spoken out against such calls which have been heard each time the public and the media deems someone massively guilty.

There were pressures against representing Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani sole survivor from the group that staged a terror attack on Bombay on 26 November 2008 causing scores of deaths. Kasab was hanged in secret on 21 November 2012. A large number of witnesses and cameras captured his image while he was on a shooting spree in a railway station and it was a foregone conclusion that he was guilty as charged. However even he ought not to have been denied due process but questions have been raised as to whether that happened. Lawyers have argued that one of those on death row in India now, Mohammed Afzal Guru, lacked proper legal counsel and did not get a fair trial.

India’s dysfunctional government has been found wanting in its response to demands for summary punishment for rapists and other similar violent calls. Leadership has been sadly lacking at a time when public fury has to be channeled in constructive directions.

About the only positive decision the government has taken in recent weeks was the formation of the Justice Verma Committee to recommend amendments to Indian laws dealing with sexual assault. But mere passage of laws and amendments will fail to make a dent when police forces enjoy impunity, society remains deeply patriarchal and son-preference as well as other anti-female practices remain.

In the coming weeks and months, the judiciary, the government and the media could either handle the case of the gang-rapists with sobriety, to douse public demands for harsh retribution and to begin the spadework for turning India into a genuinely law-abiding country. Or it could succumb to populist rhetoric and cave in to calls for hanging and other violent punishments, usher in tough-talking leaders and turn India into even more of a faux democracy than it is now.

Free Waqar: A campaign for justice in Kashmir

Deutsch: Flagge des Bundesstaates Jammu und Ka...

Image via Wikipedia

Mar 14, 2012, By Dilnaz Boga | Agency: DNA

Online global campaigns to free prisoners wrongfully held have come to Kashmir. A group of youth, who call themselves Friends of Waqar have been silent for months. The fact that Waqar has been denied his basic rights has not let them have a moment of peace, one of them says, as he proceeds to show me the website (www.freewaqar.org) the group has been working on in uptown Srinagar.

The boys have decided to launch their own online protest. “We have made this website and we want people from all over the world to sign a petition to release Waqar immediately and mete out justice. This is an illegal detention,” Aslam (name changed) said.

Friends of Waqar are fighting for Waqar Ahmad Moharkan, a second year student of Bachelor’s in Commerce at Srinagar’s Islamia College of Science and Commerce. He was arrested by police of MR Gunj station on 4 October, 2011 on charges of participating in protests in Srinagar.

The court allowed his bail application on 23 October, 2011. Instead of being released, he was rebooked and moved to Central Jail under judicial remand on 15 December, 2011 suddenly slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA).

His lawyer, the head of the Bar Association in Kashmir Mia Qayoom has stated in writing that the youth was deliberately not handed a translated copy of the grounds of detention so that he would be unable to make an effective representation against the order of detention. The police passed the PSA without informing Waqar’s family, who had the legal right to challenge the act.

Thee family was informed about the PSA after the time to legally challenge the act had expired. Waqar was then illegally shifted to the Cargo Interrogation Centre for two days, one of his Friends said.

The youth in Kashmir are very articulate and aware of their rights. “We know what our rights are internationally and locally and we refuse to be denied of them. Just like Palestinian prisoners, we will ask the world to intervene… they have a moral obligation and they must fulfil it,” the young man in his early 20s added.

Waqar’s PSA order, which DNA is in possession of stated, “You have frequently come in the adverse notice of the police for your involvement in anti-social activities aimed at disturbing the public tranquility and peace in the city. You are instrumental in mobilising the anti-social elements for creating havoc in so far as causing serious law and order problem is concerned which inevitably besides endangering human life also causes impediments in the smooth economic development of the state. Your said acts are aimed at keeping the state on boil and thereby bringing about secession of J&K from Union of India. It has also emerged that your such nefarious designs are being carried out in a well thought out manner to bring the whole Downtown area to a stand still.”

Read full article here


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