articles by Deya Bhattacharya


India swaps 40-yr-old definition of blindness for WHO criteria: Move may allow blanket discrimination against visually impaired

Last week, as per a notification issued by the Union Health Ministry, India embraced the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition of blindness, and changed its four-decade old criteria of what blindness should be. In the process, India would drastically bring down the number of people who will be considered ‘blind’ in the country.


Marital rape: Legitimised by law, protected by courts

The marital rape question remains untouched by courts because the myth of familial zone of privacy perpetrated by the State needs to be kept alive.


Bombay High Court calls for compensation for rape survivors' children

In October 2013, the Maharashtra government introduced the Manodhairya scheme which envisaged the provision of compensation as well as rehabilitation, counselling support, medical and legal aid to women who are survivors of violent crimes such as rape, acid attack, and assault.


Yogi Adityanath's crackdown on abattoirs: Religionising of plates must be countered by constitutional checks

‘Firebrand’ Yogi Adityanath called for a crackdown on unlicensed abattoirs last month. The Allahabad High Court has held that the government of Uttar Pradesh cannot impose a complete prohibition on meat on a pretext of a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses, and that it is accountable to its people for providing access to legal, healthy meat.


Women's safety: Banning night shifts isn't the solution, the onus must be on govt and companies

The narrative on women’s safety and security is not one that women have been at the helm of. Time and again, the narrative has been usurped for various other political agendas.


Mental Healthcare Bill to strengthen systems that safeguard fundamental rights of the patients

The Lok Sabha unanimously passed the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016, a legislation that decriminalises suicide and provides for comprehensive mental healthcare and facilities for persons suffering from mental illness.


New National Health Policy overlooks health as basic human right, making it counter-intuitive

Since the right to health flows from the right to life, making the former a fundamental right in the new National Health Policy 2017 is a natural corollary.


Maternity Bill fails to keep working mothers' interest in forefront

The Maternity Bill, while a laudable move forward, has its flaws, and does not, in my opinion, keep the interest of working mothers at the forefront.


Supreme Court turns down abortion plea: Strict, pedantic reading of law is threat to women's rights

In what could have been deemed a landmark case on abortion laws, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, rejected the plea of a 37-year-old woman to abort a 26-week-old foetus that showed signs of Down’s Syndrome


Mental Health: Centre should stop passing the buck and ensure rehabilitation of patients

The fact that there are so many cases that indicate similar circumstances in mental health institutions resulting in the violation of human rights, is a sound reason for the Centre to stop passing the buck, and begin formulating feasible guidelines for implementation.


Lipstick Under My Burkha: CBFC routinely silences voices challenging narratives of gender, caste

Lipstick Under my Burkha has won the Oxfam Award for the ‘Best Film on Gender Equality’ at the Mumbai Film Festival and ‘Spirit of Asia Prize’ at the Tokyo International Film Festival. One would think that a film that has been internationally lauded for its unique take on issues of women’s rights and empowerment would be honoured nationally; the CBFC, however, has done the opposite – it has denied the film certification on grounds of it being “lady-oriented”, whatever that means.


Delhi High Court's treatment of adultery laws pave way for more gender-neutral interpretations of law

The Delhi High Court has observed, last week, that an act and allegation by either spouse, irrespective of gender, would cause mental cruelty to the other spouse with the same intensity.


Right to be forgotten: How a prudent Karnataka HC judgment could pave the way for privacy laws in India

In a rare case, the Karnataka High Court accepted, approved and upheld the concept of and the right to be forgotten, which was unheard of before in India.


SC order to audit 30 lakh NGOs is another way for State to target and delegitimise their purpose

The Supreme Court, on 11 January, passed an order directing the government to audit about 30 lakh non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and voluntary organisations that receive public funds, but have invariably failed to explain their spending.


FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs cancelled: Act being used as weapon to silence organisations

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has cancelled Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of about ever since it came to power in May 2014.


Food and Beverage Alliance policy guidelines are a good step, but India's public health framework is a worry

India lacks a framework of public health, legal and economic policies for effective implementation of the WHO recommendations that provide for a comprehensive reduction of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars and salt to children.


Triple talaq: Allahabad HC verdict may leave a lasting impact on future of gender equality in India

The Allahabad High Court triple talaq judgment will have legal as well as political implications, and will have a lasting impact on the future of gender equality in the country


Govt move to roll out injectable contraceptives for women absolves men of responsibility

Rolling out the DPMA without the provision for other integrated services that ultimately lead to a generation of empowered women is what is missing from the policy of the government.


World AIDS Day: United by HIV, those living with the condition build support systems

Apart from creating awareness, the HIV programme in India has brought a much-needed acceptance to a plethora of identities and sexual orientations and has offered space for movements and advocacy


The new HIV/AIDS Bill is great, but ineffective when the vulnerable are criminals under other laws

After years of deliberating on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/Aids) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, the Union Cabinet has finally approved it