Women’s Justice The violation of women’s fundamental rights through physical, mental, emotional, and sexual violence against women has become almost commonplace in the Indian context. Violence against women has taken particularly acute forms in circumstances where populations are already marginalized, such as in areas affected by armed conflict, areas undergoing mass displacement. Women in the Tribal belts and amongst Dalit populations are already vulnerable, and become even more so in areas affected by conflict.
There is therefore a pressing need for the judiciary to recognize and address the particular forms of violence levied against women who are ‘doubly marginalised’ by caste, class, religion, or in situations conflict. Customary routinely laws discriminate against women, both by denying justice to victims of violence and by dispossessing women from their shares in land and property. A number of laws that protect women from discrimination have also either inadequate, or have not been properly implemented.NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA has been intimately connected with the women’s movement for overtwo decades. The Women’s Justice Initiative (WJI) is our national network of lawyers and social activists, using the law to oppose all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence against women and to increase women’s access to the justice system as a vital means to their empowerment.What We Do?The framework of ‘women’s justice’ involves notonly the prevention of specific forms of violence and discrimination against women, but also encompasses all other human rights, including the right to food and health; disability, housing labour rights; dalit/ tribal/ adivasi rights; environmental justice; criminal justice, etc. With this holistic vision of equality and gender justice, NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA works directly with poor and marginalized women as well as through legal education, advocacy and policy analysis to continue the struggle for women’s rights.In order to achieve our objectives, the NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA adopts a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the various facets of women’s rights violations.
The NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA engages in strategic litigation throughPILs in the High Courts and the Supreme Courtfor systematic changes as well as the implementation of policy and women’s rights laws. Through legal aid and counseling we provide women with representation women in cases including divorce, domestic violence, matrimonial remedies, guardianship, custody, adoption, property rights, sexual harassment, etc. The NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA is also active in opposing bail of the accused in cases of violence against women,particularly in cases of rape, dowry harassment, domestic violence, and acid-attacks. Lawyers working with the NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA provide legal counseling to women at various women’s crime cells, and to women prisoners. We provide legal expertise as member of several committees, including as members of several sexual harassment complaint committees acrossthe country. The NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA also runs a number of helplines throughout the country that provide legal counseling as well as some and psychosocial support to women.NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA responds to situations of crisis through emergency dispatch of legal teams for supportin crisis-affected zones, through investigative missions and through legal fact-findings, which often become the basis for further litigation to address severe women’s rights violations. We also consistently monitor and review the implementation of laws and policies related to women.Through legal education and training for socialactivists, mahila panchayats, police personnel, lawyers, law students, paralegals, etc., we work to integrate women’s issues into the general discourse on justice and human rights.
Judicial colloquia and legal consultations is a crucial aspect of our work, to sensitize judges and strategize the development of women’s rights law in India. The NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA also supports campaigns to in fluence public opinion, policies and legislation in support of a violence-free society for women. A core operational element of the NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA is the degree to which the team works in solidarity with other organizations. As such, NAYA SAWERA SANSTHA has nurtured deep partnerships with grassrootswomen’s NGOs, supporting them in the collective struggle to address the public denial of women’s rights.Issues Of Concern Rape and sexual assault Domestic violence Sexual harassment in the workplace and in educational institutions Matrimonial disputes, custody, divorce Women’s property and inheritance rights Reproductive and sexual health rights of women/ adolescent girlsPre-birth sex-selection and elimination of female foetusesTrafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work, marriage, etc.Child marriage Child Sexual Abuse Witch hunting Acid attacks‘Honour’ based crimes against women/ ‘honour killings’Equal employment opportunities for women and labour rights.Rights of doubly marginalized sections of women like HIV+ women, dalit and tribal women, women prisoners, lesbians, bisexuals, disabled women.Any other gender based discrimination/exploitation
( PRIYANKA GUPTA)