Sensory Counterpublic of Law: Women, Violence, and Kinship in Delhi
Présentation (en anglais), dans le cadre des midis-CRIDAQ, de Mme Megha Sharma Sehdev, postdoctorant 2020-2021 du Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la diversité et la démocratie.
Women who take recourse to domestic violence laws in India do so by interacting with a complex legislative formation consisting of ancient, customary, colonial, and post-colonial jurisprudence. This presentation describes the deep structure of domestic violence legislation in India and its manifold provisions dealing with intimate violences against women — from everyday disputes and arguments to the denial of maintenance rights, bodily violence, and murder. Indian gender violence law has become more accessible to Indian women, especially in urban areas, in the wake of two reforms: the 2005 Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, which consolidated diverse crimes under the heading of domestic violence, thereby naming these acts; and the 2012 Nirbhaya protests which drew attention to judicial process in sexual violence cases, leading to the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. These consolidations, I argue, betray complex genealogies of gender violence jurisprudence even as they render accessible to women a baroque landscape of laws. Read in the context of “access-to-law without justice,” I argue that through their casework women draw attention to the deep histories and potentials of law, by bringing this opaque body of knowledge in touch with common and social experience. In this process, women reveal aspects of law to which legal liberalism itself can be blind and which are crucial in re-shaping the experience of intimate violence.
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