The National Conference: Perspectives for an Autonomous Women’s Movement in India

The National Conference: Perspectives for an Autonomous Women’s Movement in India: 

Dec. 23-26th 1985 Bombay 

Hosted by Forum against Oppression of Women, Bombay 

Newsletter March 1986


1. Women & Personal Laws 

We believe that today no equality and justice is available to women of this country regardless of the religion they practice. This is an outcome of religions as well as political structures in which women have had no power. These personal laws have meant inequality and subordinate status of all women in relation to men. We, therefore, must strive for a civil code where all women get rights, equal to men in matters of marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody, inheritance, property, adoption and other such matters. Women’s organisations should strive to get adequate representation in framing these laws. 

We also believe, that such laws, when enacted, will not encroach on the rights of any religious community in this regard should only govern the relationship between 3 human beings and God, and should definitely not govern the relationship between man and man, or man or woman. Therefore, we strongly support the demands of any woman, or a group of women who are striving to bring any change for bettering the position of women in this regard. We also condemn the Hindu communal designs at making the democratic issue into a threat to minorities.

We also lodge our protest against the efforts by the state at restricting the scope of section 125 of the Cr. PC.

This resolution was passed by majority votes i.e. 50. But the minority i.e. 22 votes expressed their opinion. 

Minorities’ opinion: on the question of personal law.

a. We strongly support the rights of the minorities in India and feel that any move for reform must come from within the community. 

b. We strongly condemn Justice Chandrachud’s communal comments on Muslim personal law. 

c. We support the right of Shahbano and other women of all communities to maintenance as under section 125 of CPC. 

d. We strongly condemn any move to amend section 125 in a bid to deny women of any community the right of maintenance. 

2. Women & Work: 

We condemn the two notifications passed by the Central Govt. and the Maharashtra state government notification excludes from the purview of the maternity Benefits Act, all those unmarried women, Similarly the State government notification excludes from the purview of the Act all those women who have not changed their names to their husband’s name. 

We demand that both these notifications be withdrawn with immediate and retrospective effect.