Examining the Case for India to Repeal Its Personal Status Laws under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

By Shritha Vasudevan.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 14, 2015 $US5.00

The pervasive violence against women, though widespread in its tenacity has been barely recognized as a crime against women. Since, the many forms of violence against women are linked to a structural violation of human rights through structural inequalities that perpetuate a construct and (re)enactment of power, and the (re)production of dominance and control, the annihilation of its precepts is not only penal, but comprises restructuring structures and organizations as well as eliminating deep-rooted pathologies of dominance and power, notably social socio-cultural perceptions which limit women’s agency and render women highly vulnerable to everyday violence. India ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1998, with the Declaration that it will not interfere in the cultural practices of its religious communities. However, the due diligence obligation under the CEDAW mandates the intervention of the state into cultural practices to secure the rights against violence of women. This paper argues that India’s reluctance to intervene in its cultural practices directly maintains the structural system of violence against women. The paper considers the appropriation of the feminist demand for the Uniform Civil Code by communal forces and argues that the predication of this demand on the basis of the CEDAW, will secularize the movement and engender its legitimacy within Indian society.

Keywords: Law, Political Science, Interdisciplinarity, Human Rights, Structural Violence, VAW (Violence Against Women)

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.27-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 14, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 653.231KB)).

Shritha Vasudevan

Student, Women and Gender Studies, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA