LAWS, WOMEN’S LIVES: A CONSTITUTIONAL
PERSPECTIVE ON RELIGION, COMMON LAW AND
CULTURE IN SOUTH ASIA
Rs 500 Hb 2005
(All rights available)
about half a century now, South Asia has enjoyed
independence and constitutional rule, but many countries
have inherited a plural legal system as a legacy
of colonialism. In all five countries of the region
constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination
are confounded by discriminatory personal laws that
institutionalise gender inequality.
Contributors to this volume address this problem
from the perspective of countries that are statedly
democratic and secular, as well as those that are
theocratic, and from the experience of maintaining
plural legal systems. Specifically, the questions
they pose are: has the adoption of secular constitutions
in these countries, with guaranteed human rights,
made any difference to the legal status of women?
What impact, if any, does the adoption of a secular
constitution have on the regime of personal laws?
Has the transition from colonialism to constitutionalism
in the era of human rights made any difference to
the rights of women? Has the adoption of constitutions
that recognise equal rights made any difference
to the institutionalised private/public divide?
Archana Parashar • Cassandra Balchin •
Catharine MacKinnon • Faustina Pereira •
Indira Jaising • Jeff Redding • Martha
C. Nussbaum • Pratap Bhanu Mehta • Radhika
Coomaraswamy • Ramani Muttetuwegama •
Salma Sobhan • Sara Hossain • Savitri
Goonesekere • Sharan Parmar • Zoya Hasan.
is Executive Director of Lawyers' Collective Women's Rights Initiative. She was the first woman to be designated Senior Advocate (1986) and the first woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India (2009). Throughout her legal career, Jaising has focused on the protection of the human rights of women, successfully defending several landmark cases on discrimination. She was the recipient of the Padma Shri, the third highest civilian award in India, in 2005, and was nominated to the CEDAW Committee in January 2009.