New Delhi: With the monsoon session of parliament turning out to be a washout, the Narendra Modi government is thinking of convening a short session in September — mainly to secure passage for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, sources said.
The sources said a “two-three-day session” could be convened in September as no major business could be carried out during the monsoon session that began on July 21 and ended on Thursday.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which met on Thursday, decided not to recommend immediate prorogation of the houses. The two houses were adjourned sine die.
The sources said the decision to reconvene the monsoon session would depend on the progress the government makes in getting the support of opposition parties on the GST bill in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks a majority.
The bill could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session despite government efforts.
The Congress forced repeated adjournments in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over its demand for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje over their alleged help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi and of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam recruitment scam.
Madrid, October 22, 2017 : Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has outlined plans to remove Catalonia’s leaders and take control of the separatist region.
Speaking after an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday, Rajoy stopped short of dissolving the region’s parliament but put forward plans for elections, BBC reported.
The measures must now be approved by Spain’s Senate in the next few days.
Large crowds have gathered in Barcelona to protest against direct rule from Madrid. It comes almost three weeks after Catalonia held a disputed independence referendum.
Spain’s Supreme Court had declared the vote illegal and said it violated the constitution, which describes the country as indivisible.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has ignored pleas from the national government to abandon moves towards independence.
Rajoy said the the Catalan government’s actions were “contrary to the law and seeking confrontation”. He said it was “not our wish, it was not our intention” to impose direct rule.
This will be via Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, which allows it to impose direct rule in a crisis on any of the country’s semi-autonomous regions.
Spanish law dictates that elections must be held within six months of Article 155 being triggered, but Rajoy said it was imperative that the vote be held much sooner.
Reports say that Spain’s interior ministry is preparing take control of Catalonia’s Mossos police force and remove its commander Josep Lluís Trapero, who is already facing sedition charges.
The government is also considering taking control of Catalonia’s public broadcaster TV3, El País newspaper reported.
Catalan Vice-President Oriol Junqueras said Rajoy and his allies had “not just suspended autonomy. They have suspended democracy”.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said it was a “serious attack on the rights and freedoms of all, both here and elsewhere” and called for demonstrations.
The president of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said the club gave its “absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people”.
But he called for any reaction to be “civil and peaceful” and said dialogue was the only way to a solution.
Eduard Rivas Mateo, spokesman for the Catalan Socialist party — which supports the Spanish government’s stance but also wants constitutional reform — said he could not accept a “harsh application” of Article 155.
But Ines Arrimadas, head of the centrist Ciudadanos party in Catalonia, which is against independence, said holding fresh elections would “restore goodwill and democracy” in the region.
Rajoy’s use of Article 155 had been widely anticipated, but his announcement when it came still had a huge impact. The article has never been invoked before, so there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding its potential reach and meaning.
Although Rajoy insisted that Catalonia’s self-government is not being suspended, many will disagree. The removal from office of Carles Puigdemont and all the members of his cabinet, to allow ministers in Madrid to take on their duties, amounts to a major reining in of Catalonia’s devolved powers.
The Spanish Prime Minister said one of his aims is to restore peaceful co-existence to Catalonia with these measures.
Many Catalans who want to remain in Spain will approve of this strident action. But those who want independence for their region are likely to see this as a provocation rather than a solution. (IANS)
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”
New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.
Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.
But did she never decide to approach the authorities?
To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”
Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.
This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.
Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.
The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.
Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.
Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.
According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.
And what about rape committed by husbands?
In light of the debate over marital rape, a reminder: if you actually ask women, almost all the sexual violence they face is from husbands pic.twitter.com/BRVXk0cbbJ
These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,
Because of the stigma associated with it
Because of the presence of a defunct justice system
Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.
Marital Rape In India
While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.
A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.
The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.
In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.
Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.
Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.
Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.
In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.
Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective
Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women
Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.
But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?
The Debate Around Marital Rape In India
Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”
Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?
South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.
India can learn something from its neighbours. Nepal has laws against marital rape, so does Bhutan
Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”
In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.
The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,
It might be misused by people
It will be difficult to prove
It might break up marriages
But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?
In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.
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Modi pointed out number of chapters in the Bhagavad Gita were same as number of times the GST council had met ie 18
The President said that during his term even Modi had some issues about the bill but then praised Modi of having a constructive approach towards GST
Arun Jaitley complemented the quality and maturity with which the political stakeholders made the GST launch a success
July 1, 2017: After 17 years of limitless struggle, finally on July 1, 2017, GST (Goods and Services Tax) became a reality in India and the country is having mixed reactions about it. While some segment of the population is happy about it, some think it would give rise to inflation and other simply don’t understand the GST bill.
The Bill is launched from the Parliament House where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the person who made this into a reality. He translated this historic tax reform as ‘Goods and Simple Tax’.
During the enactment speech, Modi also pointed out two similarities in the Indian history and GST bill. One was that the number of chapters in the Bhagavad Gita were same as the number of times the GST council had met i.e. 18. Secondly, one was the number of taxes before GST and number of self-governed provinces in India before they were brought under one government by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
PM Modi said GST was not only a tax reform but a social reform too, and added, “Just like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel united over 500 provinces into one India, there were 500 different types of taxes spread across 29 states and seven Union Territories that we are bringing into one tax regime…. The best brains in the country have been working to make GST a reality and today it has become an exemplar of cooperative federalism in the country.”
Another notable thing about the GST launch was the attendees of the event. The SP (Samajwadi Party) and the BSP (Bahujan Samajwadi Party) didn’t have any take on attending the session but finally, they changed their minds and Ram Gopal Yadav from SP and Veer Singh with Raja Ram from BSP also attended the launch.
The only corporate leader was Ratan Tata and from the Bollywood industry, actor Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar were also invited.
Modi’s speech followed the speech of Pranab Mukherjee who said, “It is also a momentous occasion for me personally. I had introduced the Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2009 as the Finance Minister.”
He also added that during his term even Modi had some issues about the GST in a subtle way but then praised Modi of having a constructive approach towards GST.
After the President, Arun Jaitley was the third speaker who complimented the quality and maturity with which the political stakeholders made the GST launch a success. He also added that “this is a high point in Indian Politics.”
While the Opposition parties, including the Congress, didn’t attend the launch. They criticized that the bill was passed in a hurry and called it a blunder.
The government claimed that the reform will successfully create a national market, enhance the ease of doing business and improve tax compliance. Now after the successful launch of the event, the next most important thing would be towards the implementation of India’s biggest tax reform.
– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi