Chapter 4 Understanding Laws
Write in your own words what you understand by the term ‘rule of law’. In your response include a fictitious or real example of a violation of the rule of law.
Rule of law means that the laws apply equally to all irrespective of caste, religion, colour, sex etc.
- Two people jump the signal red light and are caught by the traffic policeman. One of them pay a bribe and go scot-free. Whereas the other, who did not or could not do so, had his license confiscated and a challan issued to him.
- The traffic policemen as well the first person both violated the rule of law.
State two reasons why historians refute the claim that the British introduced the rule of law in India.
Historians refute the claim that the British introduced the rule of law in India because colonial law was arbitrary, and the Indian nationalists played a prominent role in the development of the legal sphere in British India.
Re-read the storyboard on how a new law on domestic violence got passed. Describe in your own words the different ways in which women’s groups worked to make this happen.
Domestic violence against women was very common in India in the early 1990s. Throughout the 1990s, the need for a new law was raised in different forums like Public meetings and women’s organizations. In 1999, Lawyers Collective, a group of lawyers, law students, and activists, after nation-wide consultations took the lead in drafting the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill. This draft bill was widely circulated. Meetings were held all over the country supporting the introduction of this Act.
The Bill was first introduced in Parliament in 2002, but it was not to the satisfaction of all. Several women’s organisations, like the National Commission for Women, made submissions to the Parliamentary Standing Committee requesting changes in the Bill. In December 2002, after reviewing the request made by the National Commission for Women, the Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its recommendations to the Rajya Sabha and these were also tabled in the Lok Sabha. The Committee’s report accepted most of the demands of the women’s groups.
Finally, a new Bill was reintroduced in Parliament in 2005. After being passed in both houses of Parliament, it was sent to the President for his assent. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act came into effect in 2006.
Work of women groups on getting the law of domestic violence passed:
- Hearing complaints by the victims of domestic violence.
- Need for new law was raised at different forums.
- Lawyers collectively with law students and activities drafted the Domestic violence. (Prevention and Protection) Bill. This was widely circulated.
- Women’s movement for the introduction of the Bill in Parliament.
- Introduction of Bill in Parliament.
- Opposition to the Bill.
- Referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee.
- In December 2002, recommendations of the Standing Committee after incorporation of amendments as per women’s groups.
- Reintroduction of Amended Bill.
- Passed by both the houses.
- Assent of the President of India.
- Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act came into effect in 2006.
Write in your own words what you understand by the following sentence on page 44-45: They also began fighting for greater equality and wanted to change the idea of law from a set of rules that they were forced to obey, to law as including ideas of justice.
The Sedition Act of 1870 was a turning point in the struggle for freedom in India. According to the Sedition Act any person protesting or criticising the British government could be arrested without due trial.
Indian nationalists began protesting and criticising this arbitrary use of authority by the British. They also began fighting for greater equality and wanted to change the idea of law from a set of rules that they were forced to obey, to law as including ideas of justice.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Indians started asserting themselves in the colonial courts.
The Indian Legal profession began emerging as a force to reckon with and the Indians demanded respect in the courts. Indians started using law to defend their legal rights.
Indian judges began to play a greater role in making decisions.
Thus the Indians played a major role in the evolution of the rule of law during the colonial period.
- The Indian Nationalists advocated for greater equality for Indians before the law.
- They also advocated bringing changes in the law which were derogatory and which were forced on Indians.