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Chauvinistic mindset?

Editorial |


Since the judicial proceedings are at their initial stage and legal expertise will be tapped before any determination is made, use of a term like “regressive” may be unwarranted. Yet in the laywoman’s perception, the affidavit filed by the Central government in the Delhi High Court would point to an archaic attitude towards marital rape, and suggest that the establishment is immune to fresh thinking.

As proven by the contention that there is no reason for India to adopt practices adopted by the developed world. That, surely, will add to the criticism of the government not being open-minded, and raise questions of how the economy, industry etc can be modernised without a matching social transformation ~ and a legal system that translates into practical reality the myriad aspects of gender equality.

True that the “case” will in all likelihood reach the portals of the apex court, yet the formulation of the Centre’s affidavit sends out seemingly negative signals to “forward-looking” people. Does beti bachao beti padao stop at the doorstep of literacy? Or is the young professional woman condemed to be “married off” ~ or lip-service paid to her as a Devi?

Can she fly a stateof-the-art jetfighter and yet be deprived of full control of her body in her marital home?

Will these queries be addressed in the spirit of the new definition of privacy, and the thinking that junked the abhorrent practice of triple talaq? Without entering into the domain of legal technicalities, the many would need much convincing to accept that the concept of marital rape would destablise the institution of marriage ~ unless the “aisle” is accepted as a one-way street. Similarly, holding little water is the argument that a revised law would be open to misuse: if the anti-dowry law has infirmities it can be amended, but there can be no denying that most instances of misuse are with the connivance of the law-enforcing agencies.

Only the village idiot will lap up the argument that the question of marital rape is better addressed by social action rather than legal pronouncement ~ if social action sufficed there would no need for reservations for the downtrodden, “caste” would have long-been eradicated etc. Why, even Yogi Adityanath’s “Anti-Romeo” squad would have been jobless.

Or the desire for a common civil code would have dissipated long ago, and no need would have arisen for a saffron-wearing MP to classify the populace as Ramzadas and haramzadas.

It is, admittedly, unfair to draw so many conclusions from a single affidavit ~ possibly a poorly drafted document. There will certainly be close monitoring of legal developments and whether the judiciary will maintain its progressive thinking.

And yet another nagging question: are our political and social systems so decrepit that the courts have to tell us how to conduct all our affairs?