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BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME: PROSPECT OF SITUATING IT WITHIN CRIMINAL LAW IN INDIA

https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2021-8-4-

Abstract

In patriarchal cultures, like the one prevalent in India, rigid, polarised and hierarchical gender roles work to establish a strong normative relationship between gender and the treatment of offenders committing violent crimes like homicide. While most of the common law countries have already undergone a social change towards making their criminal laws more gender-sensitive by accommodating the experiences of battered women, the situation in India is quite different. The Indian courts have recognised Battered Woman Syndrome very recently in only three cases, much differently than courts of other jurisdictions. While in other countries Battered Woman Syndrome has been adduced by the advocates of battered women to support defence pleas, the Indian Courts have resorted to it only to explain the effects of battering relationship. The fact that Battered Woman Syndrome has only been recognised in such small number of cases and the lack of scholarship in this particular area, clearly resonates the resistance of the Indian criminal law towards women’s accounts of experiences. Drawing on the example of the three cases, the author makes an attempt to put forth feminist legal arguments and offer a fresh perspective on the possibility of using Battered Woman Syndrome as a defence to address the concerns of battered women who end the cycle of violence by ending the lives of the abuser in a ‘kill or be killed’ situation. Since BWS as a subject has quite extensively been researched in other common law countries, the present study limits itself to the Indian jurisdiction only. This paper also challenges the effectiveness of the existing defences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to accommodate the cases of battered women and highlights the need for introducing a new justificatory defence as a plausible solution.

 

About the Author

AISHWARYA DEB
WEST BENGAL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF JURIDICAL SCIENCES, KOLKATA, INDIA.
India
She is serving as a Civil Judge in West Bengal, India and is also a Doctoral Candidate at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata. Prior to this, she served as an Assistant Professor (Law) at Adamas University, Kolkata and has also worked as a Consultant for the Human Rights Lawyering Project (HRLP) of National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, India under the aegis of The Ford Foundation. She qualified CBSE UGC-NET examination held in November 2017 for the post of Assistant Professor. She completed her LL.M. from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, India in 2018 and received the Nani A. Palkhivala Memorial Gold Medal for Topper in LL.M. She holds a B.A.LL.B (Hons.) degree from the Department of Law, University of Calcutta, India and is also a recipient of Certificate of Merit and Atul-Binod-Akshay Book Award for securing the highest marks in B.A.LLB (Hons.) amongst all the admitted students in University of Calcutta.


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Review

For citations:


DEB A. BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME: PROSPECT OF SITUATING IT WITHIN CRIMINAL LAW IN INDIA. BRICS Law Journal. 2021;8(4). https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2021-8-4-

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ISSN 2409-9058 (Print)
ISSN 2412-2343 (Online)
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