Tuesday December 12, 2017
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Juvenile bill sanctioned by House

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New Delhi: On Tuesday, the parliament passed the juvenile justice bill, a day after members cutting across party lines concurred that the important legislation should be commenced immediately.

Those between 16 and 18 years of age should be considered as adults for heinous offences as provided by the bill.  Also, anyone between the age of 16 and 18 who perpetrates a less serious offence may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21.

Key provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015

· Juveniles aged 16-18 accused of heinous crimes (rape, murder) to be tried as adults

· Could face imprisonment up to 7 years but won’t get life sentence or death penalty

· Juvenile Justice Board to decide if every accused minor should be tried under Juvenile Justice Act or in regular trial court

· Juveniles convicted under the regular justice system cannot contest polls and are ineligible for government jobs

· Corporal punishment has been made an offence and is punishable between 6 months and 3 years in jail

· Employing a child for begging will invite up to 10 years in jail

· Use of children by militants will carry up to 7 years in jail

Currently, a juvenile incriminated (under 18 years) is tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and if convicted, sent to a reform home for a period of maximum 3 years ( as in the case of Nirbhaya gang rape and the recently-released convict).

On Tuesday, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said a custodial institution for young offenders would be set up as per the proposed law to house juveniles accused of horrendous crimes. The existing law emboldened the juvenile crime, she said.

“Juvenile’s crime is increasing at a rapid speed. Children walk into police stations saying we have murdered, send us to a juvenile home.”

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said there should be a seperate place for the juvenile convicts and they should not be kept in jail with “hardened criminals”.

M. Venkaiah Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the bill has been listed several times by the government in the monsoon season as well as the winter season, but it could not be taken up. The law will not be applicable on the rape convict who has already been released.

However, none of the notices to send the bill to a house panel were presented to Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechurycalled it an emotional move and questioned, ” if a 15-year or 11-months old commits a crime will the definition be changed again?”

Kurien, however, said there was no proposal to send the bill to a panel, after which members of the Left parties staged a walkout.

The bill was passed through voice vote after that.

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70 Years of Independence But No Right to Live With Dignity for Women: National Commission for Women Data

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Right to live with dignity
Indian students shout slogans as they hold placards demanding stringent punishment for rapists during a protest in New Delhi, India, April, 23, 2013. VOA
Oct 3, 2017: India completes 70 years of Independence, yet women of the country fight for their ‘right to live with dignity’. Our women are still not free from the clutches of societal customs. According to the media reports (2016-17), the National Commission for Women (NCW) received maximum complaints under this category, ahead of rape or molestation.
The NCW is a statutory body appointed to safeguard women’s rights. The highest number of complaints registered by NCW were 4,373 under the ‘right to live with dignity,’ followed by dowry harassment (1,752), disrespecting the modesty of a woman (946) and violence against women (943), reported IndiaTimes.
“The NCW is founded upon the recognition that in a patriarchal society, women face a far greater degree of vulnerability and, hence, any effort to reform any law cannot go against this well-evidenced fact and reality and now argue that men are equally if not more vulnerable than women,” All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan said, reported PTI.
[bctt tweet=”As much as Right to live is a physical right, it is equally imperative to exercise a right to live with dignity. ” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]
Many a times police personals ask women inappropriate and insensitive questions during investigations. It is startling to see that NCW department has registered 3,963 complaints of police apathy, which also top the cases of molestation or dowry.
Often women are compelled to marry against their choice. Indian women grapple with the right to choice in marriage and forceful arranged marriages that dominate consensual marriages in the Indian society. NCW received 337 complaints about women wanting the right to choose their own spouses.

In the famous conflict between Maneka Gandhi and Union of India, she challenged her impounded passport in the apex court. Maneka was issued a passport on 1976, and within a week, the same was impounded because of the public interest. A writ petition was filed with the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of India gave a new light to Article 21 (III) by demonstrating that the right to live is not merely a physical right but encompasses the right to live with dignity as well.
As per the Article 21 of Indian Constitution:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

 

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Taxing Menstruation? GST Denies Sanitary Napkins as Essential Commodity

GST has definitely marked a cornerstone in the Indian economy, however, it has failed to recognise the basic need of a woman

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GST
Most store owners in this market say they are unprepared for the switch to the Goods and Services Tax that will unify India into a single market because they do not have computers or internet connections. VOA

– By Naina Mishra

July 3, 2017: The revised GST rate list has yet again proved to be patricentric and ignored the natural process that leads to motherhood – “Menstruation”. With levying 12% tax on sanitary napkins, it evinced that menstrual hygiene of the 355 million women is still not the concern of the policymakers. What’s intimidating is the depiction of an Indian Woman in the society. Exemption of kumkum, sindoor, bindis, alta and bangles from tax exemplifies a picture of the ideal Indian woman as a visibly married Hindu woman in India.

In India, Menstrual hygiene still remains to be the most challenging developmental issues today. Regarded as a deep taboo, menstruation is a crafted illusion of myths and misinformation and thus inherently judged as shameful, gross and weird. Women and girls often times lack access to hygienic sanitary materials necessary for good menstrual hygiene. It is estimated that over 20 percent of girls drop out of school completely after reaching puberty.

Indirect taxation is classified into essential and luxury goods, and labeling sanitary pads as the luxury item, not admitting its essential attribute in myriads of women’s life is another critique of the revised GST rate list. The arguments on taxing sanitary pads keep on mounting that the product was not inborn or domesticated in India. Cotton rags conversely can be used as an alternative if used with discretion and washed properly. However, such basis cannot deny the access to basic menstrual sanitation facility to the women.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple Kamakhya questions the Dominant Religious Legacies against Menstrual Blood

A study by AC Nielsen titled, “sanitary Protection reveals only 12 % of India’s 355 million women use sanitary napkins. Over 88% of women resort to unsafe alternatives like un-sanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand. Incidents of Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) are 70% more prevalent among these women. The biggest challenge to using a Sanitary Napkins in India is the affordability owing to which 88% of women use old fabric, rags or sand to manage their menstrual flow.

Lately, Delhi Commission of Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal wrote to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: “The better half of our population has been bestowed with the gift of motherhood and in this process, all females from the tender age of 10-12 years till 45-50 years face monthly menstruation. Since menstruation is a natural phenomenon, hygiene, and proper health during this period is a natural fundamental right of each female citizen of this country. However, sanitary napkins which are critical for the health and hygiene of millions of women are presently taxed.”

Not only this, there have been similar attempts in the past by Sushmita Dev, Member of Parliament, who launched a petition to  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for removal of tax on sanitary napkins.

Sushmita Dev with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley concerning petition

The highlights of the petition were affordability, accessibility, and availability of sanitary napkins to the Indian women. The petition deemed the tax unfair because of the underlying fact –  women being taxed 12 months a year, for about 39 years on a process they have no control over. The petition gained three lakh supporters in its due course.

The petition was also signed by Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development.

Maneka Gandhi supporting the Tax free wings petition

She stated, “I strongly believe a tax exemption for sanitary pads will also bolster the Honourable Prime Minister’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and “Swachh Bharat” initiatives. This will also encourage more girls to continue their school education and more women to participate in the workforce.”


– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Delhi University hostels bar Girls from stepping out on Holi

DU's International Student House for Women (ISHW) has stated that they came to this decision considering "the best interest of residents"

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Girls hostel (representative image),, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 12, 2017:  Two hostels for girls under Delhi University have barred the boarders from going out on Holi, drawing sharp and immediate reactions from students who termed this step as “arbitrary”.

DU’s International Student House for Women (ISHW) has stated that they came to this decision considering “the best interest of residents”.

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According to the ISHW notice, “Residents and female guests will not be allowed to leave or enter the premises from 9 PM on March 12 till 6 PM on March 13. No late night permission will be granted on March 12 and those desirous of playing Holi should go outside the residential block within the hostel premises.”

According to PTI reports, a similar notice has been issued by Meghdoot Hostel, informing its residents that “the main gate will remain closed from 6 AM to 5.30 PM on March 13”. The inmates have also been barred from consuming “any narcotic drugs in form of thandai” and has also advised the students not to return to the hostel late in the evening of March 12.

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According to the statement of Pinjra Tod, a group of students who have been rallying against discriminatory rules for girls in university hostels, “The rise in sexual violence and harassment that women experience on the streets around Holi is barely addressed and instead once again, women are locked up for their own safety and arbitrary restrictions are imposed on their mobility.”

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Last week the group had protested outside the office of the Women and Child Development Ministry because of their objection to the statement by its minister Maneka Gandhi advocating curfew for the school and college students living in hostels-both boys and girls- to keep them away from their “own hormonal outbursts”.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang