Flavia Agnes

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Flavia Agnes (born 1947) is an Indian legal scholar and women's rights activist.


  • The fact that our government shouts "death sentence" and the National Commission for Women ex-chairperson follows it up by calling for castration of rapists just shows a warped belief in a weird linkage between increasingly barbaric and sensational punishments and greater liberation for womankind. If only they'd look at mundane nitty-gritties.
  • All these new demands, death penalty for rape and long terms in prison for harassing women will only have the offenders roaming free because the burden of proving "beyond reasonable doubt" will become the victim's problem.
  • Sitting in a metropolis like Delhi, it’s easy to pass a judgement that laws are being misused. But we should look at the larger reality where the laws are yet to reach the minimum standards of use.
  • Section 497 is based on Old Testament values. It doesn't protect the rights of women, only protects the proprietorial rights of men over their wives' bodies.
  • It's a routine thing women go through with cops. They treat women, particularly from the lower classes or those they think of as "loose", in a very humiliating, lecherous manner.
    • On the attitude of Mumbai policemen towards women, as quoted in "The Law's A Beast" Outlook India (9 May 2005)
  • Dancing and singing are legitimate professions, not new to women. Banning such bars, would violate the right of these women to earn a livelihood, as laid down under Article 21 of the Constitution, as well as the right to carry on a legitimate profession under Article 19.
  • He does not seem to have understood the gravity of the offence. India's elite lauded the amendments to the IPC, widening the definition of rape, little realizing that they did not apply simply to lower-class men, but could affect them too. While there has been much clamour for the death penalty in cases of rape involving the lower classes, would the elite now like to apply this to themselves?
  • Not only is the sentence meted out to the young boys from impoverished background too harsh, but our fear is that it will set a bad precedent and serve to dilute the "rarest of rare" premise upon which a verdict of death penalty must hinge as per our criminal jurisprudence. While most countries are moving towards abolition of death penalty, this is a move in the reverse direction.
  • How are all the details relevant to the case and the actual crime? When it is a case of an upper class woman, there is a titillating curiosity and over interest in her life. Her life becomes a free for all.
  • The ‘love jihad’ campaign diligently perpetuates the myth of the insatiably lustful Muslim man. Hindu women, in contrast, are made out to be helpless damsels, prone to seduction. This venomous propaganda has been wreaking havoc in the lives of young couples, with women denied their agency to choose their marriage partners. Within this communally vitiated atmosphere, where every interfaith marriage is viewed as a political conspiracy and every effort is made to keep Hindu girls ‘pure’ from contamination from Muslim boys, can the political party fuelling such an atmosphere spearhead a campaign to enforce the UCC?

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