“Menstrual Debates in India: Still A Long Way To Go”

ORGANIZED BY

VIDHI SEVA EVAM SAMAJIK UTTHAN SAMITI

IN COLLABORATION WITH

STATE WOMEN COMMISSION, UTTARAKHAND,

SHILPI SWAM SAHAYTA SANGH SWAHAYAT SARHKARITA,
THAKURPUR FEDERATION (WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION)

&

JCI BHARATPUR ROSHNI

ABOUT UTTARAKHAND
Uttarakhand was formed on 9th November, 2000 as the 27th State of India, when it was carved out of northern Uttar Pradesh. Located at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges, it is largely a hilly State, having international boundaries with China (Tibet) in the north and Nepal in the east. It is rich in natural resources especially water and forests with many glaciers, rivers, dense forests and revered Hindu temples of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are nestled in the mighty mountains.

ABOUT VIDHI SEVA EVAM SAMAJIK UTTHAN SAMITI
Vidhi Seva Evam Samajik Utthan Samiti is an NGO based in Uttarakhand, was founded in 2019 by an inspired groups of Students with the aim to spread awareness through outreach programs, seminars, conferences, etc. regarding legal rights, duties and government schemes in those areas where it is necessary and to help in providing assistance to the needy ones.

ABOUT STATE WOMEN COMMISSION, UTTARAKHAND
In purpose of the provisions of Clause (3) of Article 348 of the Constitution of India, the Governor is pleased to order the publication of the Uttarakhand State Commission for Women Act, 2005.

ABOUT SHILPI SWAM SAHAYTA SANGH SWAHAYAT SARHKARITA,
THAKURPUR FEDERATION (WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION)
Women’s Development Organization (WDO) was formed with prime objective to assist, encourage and to uplift rural & urban economically backward women from their welter of poverty that has still plagued them even after many years of independence. The main objectives of the Organization are to uplift economic and social standard of rural and weaker sections.

ABOUT JCI BHARATPUR ROSHNI
The mission of Junior Chamber International is to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. Its vision is to be the leading global network of young active citizens.

CONCEPT NOTE:
Vidhi Seva Evam Samajik Utthan Samiti is organizing a Virtual Seminar on the Topic “Menstrual Debates in India: Still a long way to go” with an agenda that “Shhh… talks not any more: let’s talk about Mensturation”. This Seminar is an attempt to bring individuals of varied fields on the Virtual Platform to disseminate the thoughts and knowledge in order to shape a strong and enabling environment for encouraging menstrual Debates in India.
Menstrual cycle is a natural process intrinsically linked with a woman’s body. Still many of us follow restrictions during our menstrual cycles, whether it’s in our homes, our relatives’ homes or at any religious event. However, it has always been surrounded by taboos and myths that subjected to social, religious and cultural restrictions. The freedom of women continues to be in the hands of dominant patriarchal discourse. Very few cultures across the world have acknowledged that menstruation is a natural phenomenon. With the evolution of these cultures, there has not been any significant change in people’s attitudes towards menstruation. Therefore, what remains are haunting questions like what effects do these taboos have on the overall development of women? Are menstruation taboos the cause of leading menstrual health problems in India?
Thus, to address such questions seminar aims to discuss menstruation related myths prevalent in India, their impact on women’s life, relevance of addressing these issues and measures that can be taken to combat them.

OBJECTIVE:
To provide a platform for stake holder like organizations working in the field of menstrual health on different level, researchers, practitioners, academicians, activists and policy makers to deliberate and discuss on what is required to build strategies and to address the constraints in inclusive practices towards Menstrual health for betterment of the society.

SUB-THEMES:

  1. Menstrual health and Hygiene management in India.
  2. Menstrual Education in young girls.
  3. Illogical taboos related to Menstruation in India.
  4. Impacts of myths related to Menstruation on Women’s life.
  5. Strategies to Combat Menstruation related myths.
  6. Access to Sanitary napkins in rural areas.
  7. Menstrual leave policy: A need of an hour.
  8. Effect of Patriarchal society on menstrual hygiene.
  9. Taboo, shame around Menstruation.
  10. Culture and Menstruation.
  11. Menstrual hygiene Education at school level.

REGISTRATION LINK- https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSflHPDHFdXaNc_UTYaiw6NXyzlkQkmkwzHDbOdKQIFAcY9yhg/viewform?usp=sf_link

IMPORTANT DATES:

Registration– 10th October, 2020 Seminar Date– 11th October, 2020

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE:
• Radhika Dhasmana
• Shreya Pandey
• Tayabba Parveen
• Sheeba Ansari
• Mohammadi
• Jagriti Joshi
• Sheeba

VIDHI SEVA EVAM SAMAJIK UTTHAN SAMITI CONTACT DETAILS:
• President – Mohammad Raashid Ali -6395670454
• Event Cordinator: Ms. Monica Negi -8755397477
• Convener: Ms. Srishti Tomar -9368971302
• Co- Convener: Ms. Priyanka sigh -7985207332
Visit us at- https://vidhiseva.in/

विधि सेवा एवं सामाजिक उत्थान समिति द्वारा स्वतंत्रता दिवस के मौके पर कार्यक्रम आयोजित कराया गया जिसमें माननीय न्यायाधीश श्री राजेश टंडन जी ने अपनी उपस्थिति दर्ज कराते हुए स्वतंत्र भारत में कैसे हमारे मानवाधिकार और संविधान लागू होने चाहिये और साथ ही सबको बधाई दी। इसके पश्चात अधिवक्ता श्री विनोद नौटियाल जी ने प्राचीन काल से कैसे भारत में स्वतंत्रता का जज़्बा कायम है और आज के समय में कैसे लोग स्वतंत्रता को गलत दिशा में ले जा रहे हैं, इसपर ध्यान आकर्षित किया और साथ ही सबको बधाई दी। इसके पश्चात कर्नल श्री जीवन छेत्री जी ने आत्मनिर्भर भारत बनने पर जोर दिया और बताया कैसे भारत इसके पथ पर अग्रसर है और सबको बधाई दी। अंत में कप्तान श्री पदम सिंह थापा जी ने इस दिन की महत्ता बताते हुए सबको बधाई दी। कार्यक्रम का संचालन श्री मोहम्मद राशिद अली जी के द्वारा किया गया। कार्यक्रम में संस्था के अध्यक्ष मोहम्मद राशिद अली, उपाध्यक्ष मोनिका नेगी, सचिव दिव्यांशु नौटियाल, कोषाध्यक्ष मोहम्मद तासीर अली, राधिका धस्माना, तय्यबा प्रवीन, आशुतोष लाम्बा आदि मौजूद रहे।

“Vidhi seva samajik utthan samiti has successfully organized its 5th Webinar on 2nd August on the topic “MEN’S RIGHT MOVEMENT: A NEED OF COMPREHENSIVE SOCIAL ENGINEERING”. The aim of organizing this webinar was to seek answer of a major question that, Is India ready for the Gender Neutral Laws? The plethora of Indian laws, most are gender specific to women recognizes only man as the perpetrator and the woman as a victim. How far this is relevant is something which is debatable.

The session was started by Ms. SOUMI CHATTERJEE who is an ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW at NOIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY. She spoke on the topic “Dowry related Laws and its mis-use”. She started with how the concept of dowry came into existence and with time the greed accelerated resulting into various criminal activities. As a result of that Dowry Prohibition Act was formed. She further advocated that the Act was formed for the good cause but unfortunately the legal provisions in the Act have became a tool for blackmailing and harassing the husbands and his relatives. She quoted, the Supreme Court has used the words ‘Legal Terrorism’ to describe the state in which the provisions are being misused in the case of Shushil kumar Sharma v. Union of India. In many cases , women try to rope in all the relatives of husband while she is filing a case against husband and also in-laws under the anti-dowry provisions. She explained (through various case laws) how the application of section 498A IPC by the police and court has become arbitrary, unconstitutional and void and therefore it violates article 14, 20 and 21 of the constitution. She added, the Criminal Mentality to misuse the anti-dowry laws spew up in society with the change in status of women. Lastly, she made the point that the existing laws are misused because of its pro-woman nature; they are deficient and inadequate and needs amendment.

The session was taken forward by the SIMRENJEET KAUR, RESEARCH SCHOLAR at PANJAB UNIVERSITY. She spoke on “Sexual Harassment of Men at workplaces”. Her main motive was to aware the participants about sexual harassment of men at Workplace. She pointed that Social thinking that men cannot be victim of sexual harassment has led men not coming forward and reporting. Constitution of India guarantees equality in Article 14 but it is disheartening to see that Indian legislation is silent on this issue. She added, the element that woman can sexually harass a man is still considered inconceivable in the society. She quoted that there is no exact data available on sexual harassment of men at workplaces in India because men do not come forward due to several reasons such as Embarrassment and humiliation about the incident, fear that the matter will be trivialized and disregarded , a sense of insecurity that they will not be believed, dread of becoming a subject of gossip and further humiliation, etc. She further added the sexual harassment of men invites Psychological suffering, physical suffering to men and at times professional loss as well if they come forward to speak. Lastly, she concluded with the idea that In India, Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, provides “right to equality” and henceforth there is an utmost need for amending POSH Act in order to make it a Gender Neutral Law.

The session was concluded by Advocate KUSHAL KUMAR, Partner, Erudite Legal. He spoke on “Feminist Media Vis-A-Vis Men’s Right. He started with the statement that to bring in social inclusion in the society, there is an urgent need of Social Engineering. Particular gender dominating the other is not to be accepted. Further, he added that with the modernization the concept of Feminism is being misunderstood. The unfulfilled desire of the women is leading them to file false dowry cases against the husband and relatives and false complains against men at workplace which is not the idea of making laws in favour of women. This is being done because the provisions are inclined towards women. The false cases are torturing and humiliating for the men who are innocent. Lastly, he suggested that there is an urgent need to amend the laws for making it Gender Neutral.

The event was moderated by Mohammad Taasir Ali who beautifully coordinated between the speakers and participants.

I, on the behalf of the entire organization extend my thanks to all the speakers for joining our virtual platform to disseminate their knowledge on the concerned topic.

Thank You!

By,

Priyanka Singh

With the rise in COVID-19 deaths in India, the country is witnessing grave infraction of a person’s right to die with dignity. Tragic incidents have been reported from across the country where dead bodies are being thrown in a pit or being denied burial due to fear of getting infected. These events have led several courts to express their anguish and reiterate the rights of the dead.

Right to die with dignity under the Indian Constitution

Most rights are accrued to a ‘person’ in the Indian Constitution, but does this word entail a dead person? Article 366 of the Indian Constitution, which is the definition clause, does not include the definition of ‘person’. Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act and Section 11 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are also unclear on this aspect. The Allahabad High Court in Ramji Singh @ Mujeeb Bhai v. State of U.P. has interpreted that a dead person should be construed in a limited sense of the word ‘person’ in Article 21 so as to accord the deceased some respect.

Dead persons have rights in two main areas: right to a dignified burial/cremation and crimes against the corpse. The Supreme Court of India in Parmanand Katara v. Union of India observed that a man’s body while he is living and after his death deserves the right to dignity and fair treatment under Article 21. Furthermore, in Ashray Adhikar Abhiyan v. Union of India, the Apex Court acknowledged the right to have a decent burial even to unclaimed bodies. In 2018, in the celebrated case of Common Cause v. Union of India, the Supreme Court, albeit in the context of euthanasia, observed that the right to die with dignity is an inseparable and inextricable facet of right to life.

Apart from this, even when there is a massive number of unidentified bodies during a natural disaster or a pandemic, under the National Disaster Management Guidelines, the government is required to give them a dignified disposal according to their religious and cultural beliefs, thus keeping their individuality intact. As far as crimes against the dead are concerned, the Indian Penal Code protects the rights of the dead such as Section 404 deals with dishonest misappropriation of dead man’s property, Section 499 protects defamation of a dead man and Section 297 prohibits trespassing on a burial ground.

Rights of the Dead during COVID-19

Recently a doctor in Chennai, who died after getting infected with the coronavirus, was denied burial at two cemeteries by the protesting mob. They pelted stones after which the colleagues of the deceased had to fill in the grave with their own hands. More such gut-wrenching incidents have been reported from across the country. A division bench of the Madras High Court took suo moto cognizance of this incident, recapitulating rights of the dead by invoking Section 297 of the IPC. The High Court also issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the police. Courts throughout the country have been reiterating the rights of the dead. For instance, The Delhi government was directed by the Delhi High Court to provide detailed status reports since crematoriums were returning bodies due to the lack of facilities.The Bombay High Court held that those who died as a result of COVID-19 are entitled to the same means of disposal as they would have been otherwise, if not for the pandemic. The court further broke the stigma and superstitions attached to the spread of the virus through dead bodies, clearing that individuals and localities are safe if the body is disposed of in compliance with the guidelines.

As the death rates spike, overwhelming morgues and funeral homes, management of the bodies becomes the need of the hour. Mass burial or cremation is generally the method adopted in colossal mishaps like a pandemic resulting in utter mismanagement. This makes it imperative that plans are made to alleviate the pain families and the broader society undergo in the wake of increasing deaths. India should learn from the plight of certain Italian cities where dead bodies had to be transported to neighboring cities as morgues had reached their maximum capacity. The 2005 resolution of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights highlighted the importance of dignified handling of human remains, as well as their proper management and disposal, while taking into account the needs of families.

The WHO, in March, released guidelines which state that bodies can be cremated or buried as per their religious sentiments, and the family members may view the body once it is prepared for the last rites. However, the family members should not come in proximity of the body and there should be no physical contact with it. Furthermore, the International Committee of the Red Cross has issued directives for each continent to ensure that the dead are disposed of with the utmost respect while upholding the cultural beliefs and proper sanitary precautions. In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), on 15th March, issued guidelines on the management of dead bodies of persons who died as a result of COVID-19, with the same essential principles as the WHO guidelines. These guidelines restrict the funeral attendees to immediate family members, and allow only those rituals and last rites that require no physical contact, like sprinkling holy water or reading from religious texts. While credit should be given to the ministry for the early issuance of the guidelines, the present need is for a revised version which incorporates the experiences of handling the disease in the past four months.

A remarkable example of such a legislation is the Coronavirus Act, 2020, passed by the UK parliament, which specifically deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated purposes. Section 58 talks about the powers of state authorities in terms of handling, transporting and disposing dead bodies. The authorities have drafted an elaborate law which recognizes the importance of a directive framework in such ordeals. The Indian authorities need to enact detailed legislations which are tailored according to the socio-cultural practices of the country, while maintaining a balance between public welfare and fundamental rights. Moreover, separate spaces must be earmarked for burying the bodies of people who have died of COVID-19 and the concept of deep burial should be followed. The general public must be educated that there is no chance of contamination from the dead if the proper procedure is followed. At the same time, adequate police protection must be provided to those facing unnecessary interruption in the burial of their kin.

Conclusion

With India becoming the 3rd worst COVID-19 hit country and the graph projected to peak in the following months, the need for a better legal framework becomes vital to maintain the sanctity of the dead, especially when their final days were full of suffering. The patients undergo emotional and physical trauma and their pain is further heightened by the absence of their loved ones around them during their final days. There is societal interest in early and dignified disposition of the deceased. The state is obligated, both as a welfare state and as a guardian of fundamental rights of persons, to properly dispose of a dead body keeping in mind the religious beliefs that the deceased professed.

What we need to work on together is to ensure these people get the dignity they deserve after death, and put an end to the horrifying images of bodies being thrown into burial pits without an ounce of decency, as if they are some kind of hazardous waste. People often don’t care how a body is handled until it’s their loved one. Whether dead or alive, a human body must be treated with dignity.

By,

Priyanka Singh

( LLM Graduate from National Law University)

They’ve been sent on Earth by HIM ,
To increase the brightness of light that has become dim.
No sleep in their eyes  is present at night,
Until they get over with the Covid-19 fight.
”  Stay at home ” , that’s what the warriors say,
While they continue bravely  with their swordplay.
They keep  their lives at risk so bravely,
Far from their family in the hell that is not  so homely.
With their weapons in hand and the masks on ,
Out they are to fight  till the demon is gone!
Respect them,
Salute them,
Pray for them,
Stay at home for them,
Because for the humans they are no less than the gems .

– Ms. Radhika Dhasmana

Ms. Soumi Chatterjee
Assistant Professor
Noida International University
Mrs. Simranjeet Kaur
Research Scholar
Dept. Of Law
Panjab University
Adv. Kushal Kumar
Founder
Erudite Legal Firm

विधि सेवा एवं सामाजिक उत्थान समिति द्वारा पांचवां वेबिनार “पुरुषाधिकार के आंदोलन: एक व्यापक नीति की जरूरत” के विषय पर आयोजित कराया गया। कार्यक्रम में कुमारी सौमी चैटर्जी जी, सहायक प्रोफ़ेसर, नौएडा इंटरनैशनल विश्वविद्यालय, ने दहेज संबंधित कानूनों पर और कैसे आज के समाज में इनका दुरुपयोग हो रहा है, पर चर्चा करी; इनके पश्चात् श्रीमती सिमरनजीत कौर जी,शोध विद्यार्थी, विधि विभाग, पंजाब विश्वविद्यालय, ने यौन उत्पीडन संबंधित कानूनों पर चर्चा करी और इसके जरुरत समझाए के कैसे आज के समय में इसका उपयोग पुरुषों द्वारा अपने लिए करा जा सकता है; बाद में कार्यक्रम के अंतिम प्रवक्ता अधिवक्ता श्री कुशल कुमार जी, संस्थापक, ए्रयुडाइट लीगल, ने आज के बदलते समाज में भी पुरुषों को ही गलत मान जाना और महिलाओं को पीड़ित मान जाना, और अपनी राय देते कहा के नारिवाद का अधिकतम दुरुपयोग हो रहा है और क्यों लैंगिक समानता कानूनों की जरूरत है। कार्यक्रम का मध्यस्थ श्री मोहम्मद तासीर अली जी के द्वारा किया गया। कार्यक्रम में संस्था के अध्यक्ष मोहम्मद राशिद अली, उपाध्यक्ष मोनिका नेगी, सचिव दिव्यांशु नौटियाल, कोषाध्यक्ष मोहम्मद तासीर अली, राधिका धस्माना, तय्यबा प्रवीन, आशुतोष लाम्बा, फरहाद अंसारी, जागृति जोशी, मोहम्मदी, शीबा अंसारी, यशोदा कुमारी आदि मौजूद रहे।