Archive for April 26, 2013

Activist gets rape threat while discussing anti-rape protest online

online rape threat

Activist abused and threatened with rape on Rediff.com live chat that was organised to discuss anti-rape protest

By Team FI

Social activist Kavita Krishnan has demanded a public apology from the website Rediff.com in regard to the degrading and violent messages addressed to her during a chat organised by the news portal. Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, was contacted by Rediff.com to participate in a live chat on April 23, 2013, which invited participants to interact with an activist involved in the anti-rape protests.

The chat took place in her office from 2 pm to 3 pm when at one point, one of the participants with the handle RAPIST began to post offending and malicious threats. “In one ‘question’ he said, “Kavita tell women not to wear revealing clothes then we will not rape them.” The same man then posted another question several times: “Kavita tell me where I should come and rape you using condom.” Both questions were in block capitals and very visible,” said Krishnan.

Rediff.com’s Ganesh Nadar, responded at first saying that live chats cannot be screened. “This I know for a fact is not true since I have been in such chats with other media groups. Later Mr Nadar said that the man in the Rediff Mumbai office monitoring the chat failed to spot the ‘RAPIST’ because there were ‘so many questions.’ I find this difficult to believe since this was the only handle in capital letters and the questions were also in capitals. Yet, no one from Rediff did anything to screen such offensive questions, or to block someone with a handle of ‘RAPIST’ from the chat!” said Krishnan.

Krishnan has demanded a public apology from Rediff.com. “Condoning and allowing such intimidating behaviour against women keeps women out of the online space just as rape keeps women off the streets. I resent this intimidation, and in this instance, hold Rediff squarely responsible for failing to keep ‘RAPIST’ out of the chat,” accused Krishnan.

Krishnan has also asked Rediff.com file an FIR and help to investigate the identity of the offender. She was informed that Rediff has taken a screenshot of the chat and are filing an FIR with the screenshot being sent to cyber crime labs in Worli, Mumbai. Though she has not received the screenshot as yet, she informs that Rediff.com has posted the transcript of the chat with a “(non) apology of sorts.”

Justice J.S.Verma: In memoriam

Justice Verma

To pay tribute to the man who left a legacy of justice is to promise to keep the fight ongoing

By Farah Naqvi

On April 22, 2013, India lost a man who stood taller than others. In a lifetime of work he unwaveringly upheld the values of our Constitution and deployed them to uphold rights of those most weakened, most marginalized – whether by the deliberate tragedies created by vicious state politics or by the ubiquitous hierarchies of a patriarchal social order. He stood up for the rights of women, for justice in Gujarat, and for so much more.

Justice J. S. Verma led from the front. He led with integrity, honesty and a fearless ability to hold accountable the State, even the Judiciary and certainly society as a whole. Both as Judge and as citizen he spoke boldly a language of justice on the many complex issues that define our times. He dug into the depth of the horrors in Gujarat to craft the NHRC report in 2002. And 10 years later he pierced through the resilient patriarchy of Indian society to craft the Justice Verma Committee report in 2013. Both with the same deep intellect and instinctive clarity on what was right and what was just.

Way back in 1997 he headed the three member Supreme Court bench that gave us the Vishakha Judgment, a time when ‘sexual harassment in the workplace’ was little more than a collection of meaningless words to most Indians, and he lived to see that judgment translate itself into an Act.

Most recently, on January 19-20, 2013, at the hearing of the Justice Verma Committee, the stamina of seasoned women’s rights activists, to sit for endless hours, to speak for endless hours, was more than tested by the stamina of the committee members, including Justice Verma, Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramanium who sat without break, and listened and absorbed till late into the evenings.

The JVC report shall remain a historic report, because it sliced through the layers of patriarchy, not by peeling one layer at a time, but in dealing sharp, clear blows to its very core

Justice Verma turned 80 just before he formally handed the JVC report to the government. This gift – not for himself but for the women of India – shall remain a historic report, because it sliced through the layers of patriarchy, not by peeling one layer at a time, but in dealing sharp, clear blows to its very core. Parts of the JVC Report have found their way into the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013. Other parts remain an unfinished agenda. And the lasting tribute of the women’s movement, to this extraordinary Jurist and human being, can only be to stay the course on this long journey on which he joined us, leaving a milestone in his wake.

At his funeral there were several of us, women’s rights activists of many different hues standing together, joined in a moment of respect and gratitude, silently owning his legacy, silently promising to take it forward.

Farah Naqvi is a Delhi based activist and writer

Justice Verma: A judge who fought for women’s rights

Justice Verma: A judge who fought for women’s rights

Justice Verma

With the sad demise of Justice Verma, the Indian women’s movement has lost one of its most noble defenders

By Team FI

Justice J S Verma, the much respected jurist who died of multiple organ failure on Monday at the age of 80, was cremated yesterday with state honour in New Delhi. He was the former Chief Justice of India and ex-Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

On behalf of the women’s movement, Vrinda Grover (lawyer), Suneeta Dhar, Madhu Mehra and others attended the funeral at the Lodhi Road crematorium and paid tribute to the great human rights defender.

Noted women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes told FeministsIndia that she is honoured to have interacted with Justice Verma. “Justice Verma will always be remembered for his humility, dedication and commitment towards women. Three landmark decisions in his career paved the way for women’s legal rights. His Vishaka Judgment ensured security to women at the workplace in the absence of a law. As Chairperson of the NHRC, he ordered the retrial and transfer of the Bilkis Banu case and lastly and most significantly he prepared the progressive and practical Verma Committee Report post the Delhi rape.”

Justice Verma began his legal career in 1955. He was responsible for several landmark judgments that made him the face of judicial activism in the country. In May 1997, during his term as the Chief Justice of India the Supreme Court of India adopted the Charter “Restatement of Values of Judicial Life”. This charter, served as a code of conduct, a guide for the judiciary of India to be strong, independent and impartial.

In 1997, as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he passed a landmark judgement in the case of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan. It gave the country its first definition and framework for sexual harassment at the work place, recognizing sexual violence as an abuse of a woman’s constitutional and human rights.

Three landmark decisions in his career paved the way for women’s legal rights

After retiring from the Supreme Court, Justice Verma served as the chairperson of the NHRC from November 1999 to January 2003. In the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, he led an NHRC team that visited Gujarat from March 19 to 22, 2002. The team submitted a report on April 1, 2002 which was welcomed by human rights groups in the country. In an interview to Tehelka magazine in 2008, Justice Verma unequivocally stated that NHRC had passed two orders on April 1 and May 31, 2002, which had “indicted the state government of Gujarat. In the April order, the NHRC clearly stated that the government is doing little to stop the violation of fundamental rights to life and dignity of the people in Gujarat.”

Renowned feminist economist Devaki Jain stated that India has lost “a great luminary and the noblest of human beings.” She described his tenure as the Chairperson of NHRC as one of the glorious periods for those who were working in the field of human rights in India. “He was always accessible and willing to respond to ideas and positions which were not ‘associated with important people’. Justice Verma opened his mind and the doors of NHRC, with what can be called ‘immediate effect’ to a proposal I made for what at that time we called ‘Indigenizing Human Rights Education’,” said Devaki Jain.

Activist Sheba George commented, “He will be remembered for his landmark NHRC report on the 2002 violence in Gujarat and also for the work he did to end violence against women after the gruesome gang rape in Delhi last December.”

Last year, in December, the brutal gang rape of a young woman and her subsequent death as a result of her injuries had the country and its capital engulfed in protest and anger. The government appointed a three member panel headed by Justice Verma to formulate recommendations to create stronger laws against sexual violence. The Verma Commission took in suggestions and opinions not only from women and human rights groups in the country but also individuals across the nation. Within 29 days, a 630 page report was submitted to the government. The report went above and beyond the call of duty by not just recommending changes to the current laws but framing a comprehensive gender policy.

Though the report was applauded by women’s and human rights groups in the country, the government response with the Criminal Law Amendment 2013 came as a letdown by ignoring some of the key points made in the Verma Commission report.

Justice Verma is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Report to UN calls Indian juvenile homes “hell holes”

Child abuse report India

Report on child rape says sexual offences against children in India have reached an epidemic proportion with 336% increase in past decade

By Team FI

India saw an alarming increase of 336% in child rape cases from 2001 to 2011 – from 2,113 recorded cases in 2001, to a startling figure of 7,112 cases in 2011, says Asian Center for Human Rights in its report titled India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes.

Though a total of 48,338 cases were recorded in the said time period, the report warns that these are only the tip of the iceberg as the majority of child rape cases are not reported and that children regularly become victims of other forms of sexual assault too. The report pinpointed the juvenile justice homes run and aided by the Government of India as “hell holes where inmates are subjected to sexual assault and exploitation, torture and ill treatment apart from being forced to live in inhuman conditions. The girls remain the most vulnerable,” stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Juvenile justice homes were established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (JJ(C&PC) Act), 2000. By the end of financial year 2011-2012, about 733 juvenile justice homes were fully supported by the Government of India under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The 56-page report highlights 39 emblematic cases of systematic and often repeated sexual assault on children in these homes. Out of the 39 cases, 11 cases were reported from government-run juvenile justice homes such as observation homes, children homes, shelter homes and orphanages, while in one case a CWC member was accused of sexual harassment during counseling sessions. The remaining 27 cases were reported from privately/NGO run juvenile justice homes such as shelter homes, orphanages, children homes, destitute homes, etc. Majority of privately/NGO run homes are not registered under Section 34(3) of the JJ(C&PC) Act (as amended in 2006).

“In most cases, sexual assault in the juvenile justice homes continues for a long period as the victims are not able to protest and suffer silently in the absence of any inspection by the authorities under the JJ(C&PC) Act,” informed Mr Chakma. In the case of government-run juvenile justice homes, the perpetrators were staffs including the caretakers, security guards, cooks and other Class IV employees, and the senior inmates. In two cases, the sexual abuses were committed by the senior inmates in collusion with the staff.

With respect to the privately/NGO-run juvenile justice homes, the perpetrators include managers/ directors / owners/founders and their relatives and friends, staff members such as caretakers, wardens, cooks, drivers, security guards, gatekeepers, senior inmates and outsiders including security forces.

Out of the 27 cases in privately/NGO-run homes, inmates were responsible for the offences in five cases and out of these, in one case, the offence was committed in collusion with the staff.
No Inspection

The Asian Centre for Human Rights holds the Government of India i.e. the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the State Governments responsible, pointing out the absence of preventive mechanisms or regular inspections as one of the four major reasons for the continuing deplorable situation. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and the Child Welfare Committees intervene only after crimes are reported.

Most State governments do not have Inspection Committees which are mandated to inspect the juvenile justice homes and report at least once in every three months. The Ministry of Women and Child Development which approves projects for all the States and Union Territories under ICPS since 2010, has never raised the issue of Inspection Committees with the Governments of Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland despite having yearly meetings for the last three years.

In fact, no separate budgetary allocation has been made under ICPS for the functioning of the Inspection Committees. The report alleges that there is a conscious effort on the part of the Ministry to avoid the issue of the Inspection Committees.

There are 462 District Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) in 23 States mandated to verify fit institutions, majority of them exist only on paper. The State Government of Karnataka in October 2010 put the conditions that “members of the CWCs cannot visit child care institutions, when they are not holding a sitting, without prior permission of the heads of these institutions”, thereby prohibiting random and surprise inspections.

Unregistered Homes
There are hundreds of unregistered child care homes across the country despite the requirement to register the same within six months under JJ(C& PC) Act, 2006. In many cases funds are given by the State Governments even if institutions are not registered.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development had raised the issue of non-registration of children’s home with Jharkhand in 2013, and with Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Karnataka and Kerala in 2012, among others, but unregistered children’s homes exists across the country.

There is no punitive provision per se for non-registration of the institutions but Section 23 of the JJ(C&PC) Act allows the authorities to take action against willful neglect, mental or physical suffering of children but little action is taken. Inspection is seldom carried out in these unregistered homes and children remain extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse in these homes.

Lack of segregation on the basis of gender
Though Rule 40 of the JJ(C&PC) Rules, 2007, provides for separate facilities between for boys and girls as well as according to age i.e. for boys and girls up to 12 years, 13-15 years and 16 years and above, this provision has not been complied with. “While authorities of the juvenile justice homes are the main predators, the absence of separate facilities facilitates sexual assaults on the minor inmates by the senior inmates,” stated Mr. Chakma.

Recommendations
According to the report, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) will not address the menace of child sexual abuse unless the Government of India creates a Special Fund under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme to provide financial assistance for prosecution of the offenders under the POCSO.

Asian Centre for Human Rights also, among others, has recommended immediate establishment of the Inspection Committees in all the districts with mandatory inspection of the juvenile justice homes every three months; stopping funds to any home unless inspection reports are submitted; separate budgetary allocations for the functioning of the Inspection Committees, ban on posting of male staff in girls’ homes, separation of residential facilities based on the nature of offences, gender and age, completion of inspection of all unregistered homes within six months and registration of cases against the authorities of the unregistered juvenile justice homes.

The report has been submitted in advance to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms Rashida Manjoo who is conducting an official visit to India from 22 April to 1 May 2013. ACHR is scheduled to meet the Rapporteur on 23 April 2013.

State wise statistics of child rape (2001-2011)

Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of child rape cases with 9,465 cases
Maharashtra – 6,868 cases
Uttar Pradesh 5,949 cases
Andhra Pradesh 3,977 cases
Chhattisgarh 3,688 cases
Delhi 2,909 cases
Rajasthan 2,776 cases
Kerala 2,101 cases
Tamil Nadu 1,486 cases
Haryana 1,081 cases
Punjab 1,068 cases
Gujarat 999 cases
West Bengal 744 cases
Odisha 736 cases
Karnataka 719 cases
Himachal Pradesh 571 cases
Bihar 519 cases
Tripura 457 cases
Meghalaya 452 cases
Assam 316 cases
Jharkhand 218 cases
Mizoram 217 cases
Goa 194 cases
Uttarakhand 152 cases
Chandigarh 135 cases
Sikkim 113 cases
Manipur 98 cases
Arunachal Pradesh 93 cases
Jammu and Kashmir 69 cases
Andanam and Nicobar Island 65 cases
Puducherry 41 cases
Nagaland 38 cases
Dadra and Nagar Haveli 15 cases
Daman and Diu 9 cases.

Delhi rape case: Women’s groups organise morcha

child rape

Women’s and progressive groups will take out a morcha today in New Delhi to protest against the increasing violence against women and the inaction of the police personnel in the reported cases of violence

By Team FI

In a collective action, women’s and progressive groups in Delhi have organised a protest march against the increasing violence against women and the apathy and inaction of the police as seen in the case of the brutal rapes of a five year old in Delhi and the six year old girl in Aligarh. The protest action called by groups, including Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault, Nirantar, Saheli, Jagori, AIDWA, AIPWA, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression and others is to be held today afternoon at 12.30 pm at the Jantar Mantar.

The press statement calls attention to the fact that in the first three months of 2013, 393 cases of rape were reported in Delhi. The recent cases of brutalization of the five year old girl in Delhi and the rape and murder of the six year old in Aligarh have witnessed the police failing discharge their duties and proving themselves to be corrupt, ineffective, prejudiced and often violent, said the statement.

The statement protested the delay in “filing an FIR and attempts at bribing the family and the audacity in assaulting a woman protester.” Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bani Singh Ahlawat was caught on camera slapping a woman protestor during the recent protest action in Delhi. The statement also brought to notice the physical violence perpetrated by the police in Aligarh on women protesters, as well as the insensitive remarks of the SSP (Aligarh), Amit Pathak who had reportedly said, “How can we decide whether the girl was raped or not? Did someone see it happen?”

The protest action calls for the offending police personnel to be charge sheeted and dismissed, to be held accountable under the various provisions of the newly promulgated Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013.

Protest mount in Delhi over child rape

Anti-rape protest delhi

By Team FI

Protests and anger are mounting in Delhi over the brutal rape of 5- year- old girl in Delhi last week.

Anti-rape protesters stormed the barricades outside the residences of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The police had to forcefully remove protesters from outside the police headquarters.

The anger was also directed against Delhi police’s alleged negligent and callous attitude in refusing to file FIR when the parents reported the rape. The child’s father has alleged that police officials told him to be grateful that the child was alive and offered a bribe to hush up the case.

The five-year-old girl was abducted on April 15 and was sexually assaulted for two days without food and water in a room in which the accused lived. She was rescued Wednesday when her family, who lived in the same building, heard her feeble cries.

The Delhi police arrested the accused, Manoj Kumar, a garment factory worker, from his in-law’s house in Bihar. The 22-year-old accused was produced in a Delhi court and has been sent to judicial custody till May 4. A jittery Delhi administration, to avoid a repeat of the massive protests after the rape and murder of young student in December last year, on Sunday stopped protesters from marching to India Gate and distributed pamphlets requesting the public to remain calm.

The doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where the child was admitted stated that the girls’ condition is stable and she is responding to treatment. Doctors earlier removed pieces of candle and a plastic bottle from the child’s vagina. One of the doctors treating her is reported to have admitted that he had never before witnessed such brutality committed on a child.

Featured photo courtesy: PTI

Breaking the Binary: Questioning assigned gender identities

Trans people

Mumbai group to release report of its study that challenges assumed notions of gender, sexuality and sex in five cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Thrissur

By Team FI

LABIA, a queer feminist lesbian bi-sexual transgender collective in Mumbai is all set to release its much waited research project – Breaking the Binary – Understanding concerns and realities of queer persons assigned gender female at birth across a spectrum of lived gender identities.

The research initiative, which started in 2009, primarily focuses on the voices and stories of 50 people interviewed across the country. The study explores the circumstances of queer persons who were assigned the gender female at birth and were made to, or expected to, fit into society’s norms around gender and sexuality. It looks at their experiences with natal families and in school and their journeys through intimate relationships and jobs. The study also attempts to understand what happens to these identities in public spaces, and how they are treated by various state agencies. It also examines how and where they seek and find support, community, and a refuge from the violence and discrimination. The findings of this study, according to the group, question and challenge society’s basic assumptions about gender, sexuality and sex.

LABIA states that this research has given them “new insights into gender itself, which we feel are crucial additions to the current discourse in both queer and feminist spaces”. The study also “flags areas of particular concern, and highlights some necessary interventions”.

The dates and venues for the different cities are as follows:

Mumbai Saturday, 27th April
3:30 to 7:30 pm Mini Auditorium; SNDT Juhu Campus, Santacruz; Bombay

Kolkata Wednesday, 1st May
3:00 to 7:00 pm WBVHA Tower, 1stFlr, 580 Anandapur, Kolkata, Local host: Sappho for Equality

Delhi Saturday, 4th May
3:00 to 7:00 pm The Attic, 1st Floor, 36, Regal Building, New Delhi, Local hosts: Saheli, Qashti LBT

Bangalore Tuesday, 7th May
3:30 to 7:30 pm Vishranti Neelayam, Opp Hindu Office; Infantry Road, Bangalore, Local hosts: LesBiT, WHAQ. Alternative Law Forum

Thrissur, Thursday, 9th May To be confirmed Sahayatrika

Chennai Saturday, 11th May
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Dhyanasram, Santhome, Chennai, Local hosts: The Shakthi Resource Center, East-West Center for Counseling Orinam, Nirangal, RIOV

For more details contact: stree.sangam@gmail.com

Women journos slam Telugu TV channels’ moral policing

Telugu Media moral policing

Sexual harassment and public defamation of women law students by news channels in Hyderabad comes under strong protest from women journalists across India

By Team FI

Network of Women in Media, India, (NWMI) has strongly condemned the misogynist portrayal, by certain television channels, of the female law students who attended a party in Hyderabad on 12th April. In a press release issued this week, NWMI protested against the incident which they described as sexual harassment of women in a public place, and criminal intimidation of the women with threat of public defamation through media.

On 12 April 2013, a group of students from Nalsar Law University attended a farewell party for their graduating seniors at a night Club located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. When they stepped out of the club around 10.30 pm, one of the women students spotted someone taking their pictures with a mobile phone. She objected and demanded to see the mobile. The mobile turned out to be a dummy, without a card in it. When she further objected and demanded that the phone with which photos were taken be handed over, other media cameramen who were present began to film the altercation. Despite repeated protests, the media cameramen continued filming the women.

The next morning several Telugu channels – TV9, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Sakshi TV, Studio N, NTV, IdlyTV, and News 24 – showed the footage. Significantly, while only a couple of channels were present outside the club and were involved in the incident, the story was generously shared with many other channels. Links to this footage were also put up by several websites. The victims of this coverage were not given the opportunity to respond or give their side of the story.

The anchors of the TV channels repeatedly referred to the women as punch drunk, half naked, and nude, when the women students were dressed in strapless evening wear. One of the anchors referred to their attire as “creepily offensive short clothes.” Though none of the media persons were present in the club, the anchors claimed that they women were dancing in the club. To make matters worse one news channel put together several clips of provocative dancing from various sources, implying that the present incident was somehow connected to those.

The channels turned into ‘moral police’ when they claimed that the students were “leaving Indian traditions in tatters by their dressing and behavior”. The reporters and anchors held forth on excessive freedom for women and its “devastating” effects on society. This despite the fact that the channels’ staple fare for advertising revenue on their news bulletins comprises song and dance sequences from films and film events which regularly feature skimpily clad women dancing provocatively to songs with double meaning lyrics.

The channels also falsely claimed that the students’ behavior was condemned by women’s organizations even though they only showed the statements of two little-known local politicians, thereby misleading public opinion.

According to the NWMI, the TV channels, by photographing/filming people without their permission in a public place have grossly interfered in the privacy of these individuals. This appears to be in violation of items 4, 6, 1, and 2 of the News Broadcasters’ Association’s Code of Ethics for programming and also appears to be in violation of the programming code prescribed under the Cable Networks Regulation Act.

Women journalists representing NWMI have demanded that the channels involved in this misdemeanor should be fined and made to apologize to the victims, and the said apology should be telecast on the channels involved.
A
detailed report of the incident is already on the media watch website,The Hoot

The online petition drafted by the victims

India’s Supreme Court rejects Novartis patent claim

Novartis

Health rights activists hail judgment as a major victory for the world wide campaign for affordable medicines

By Team FI

In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court of India rejected Novartis AG’s plea to patent its cancer drug, Glivec. The drug was developed in the 1990s and is considered beneficial for treating chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal tumors.

The Swiss company’s legal fight began after the Chennai patent controller rejected its application for a patent for Glivec in 2006. According to health rights activists, Novartis tried to get an Indian patent for a ‘new’ version of the drug which was just the same old molecule with a tiny cosmetic change. India’s patent law applies strict standards for granting patents.

Glivec costs INR 120,000 (around USD 2400) per dose. This judgment opens the door for generic production of the drug and the generic version is expected to be at least 95% cheaper. The court decision is also expected to facilitate early entry of generic medicines into the market for other diseases too. India’s generic drug industry supplies much of the cheap medicine used in the developing world.

Rejoicing at the decision, Mr. Y. K. Sapru of the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA), which had opposed Novartis’ patent application, said, “Our access to affordable treatment will not be possible if the medicines are patented. This judgment is a huge victory for human rights.”

According to Anand Grover of the Lawyers Collective, who had represented the CPAA in the court, the ruling “gives life to Parliament’s intent of facilitating access to medicines and of incentivizing only genuine research”.

The judgment is considered to be a great boost for India’s health rights movement. A similar case is being fought in the Supreme Court by activists who are campaigning for affordable Trastuzumab drug. In another boost to India’s health rights movement, the Supreme Court admitted a public interest writ petition against licensing and trials of cervical cancer vaccines in January this year.