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Malavika Rajkotia has been an advocate in the Indian Courts for over 35 years and has developed a practice on divorce and property law. She is widely regarded as one of the best divorce lawyers in India.
She is the author of Intimacy Undone: Law of Marriage, Divorce and Family in India, which seeks to critically examine the institution of divorce and marriage in India, situated as it is within larger political structures and institutions. She has also worked on issues relating to civil liberties and human rights with organisations like Sakshi and IFSHA and has delivered lectures at various universities including National Law University Delhi. She has also previously spoken at Judicial Academies on family law and gender sensitization of judges.
We will also be joined by Justice Prabha Sridevan who will offer her comments on the topic.
Justice (Retd.) Prabha Sridevan served as a judge of the Madras High Court from 2000 to 2010. Post retirement, she was appointed as the Chairperson of the IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Tribunal) from 2011 to 2013.
During her tenure as a High Court judge, Justice Sridevan dealt with a wide range of cases, including the celebrated Novartis Glivec case, where she ruled against Novartis, holding that India’s section 3(d) was a constitutionally valid statutory provision.
Within the complex framework of Indian family law, securing the recognition of women’s economic rights, particularly within the context of divorce, is a tricky endeavour. In her talk, Malavika Rajkotia will delve into the critical intersection of gender, autonomy, and legal rights in the family law framework and the challenges that she has encountered while engaging with this structure over years of her practice in the Indian courts. The evolution of Indian courts' perspectives on recognizing the economic value of women's unpaid domestic labour has been glacial and while recent judgements such as that of the Madras High Court, are beginning to recognise this value, the impact of such judgements on alimony, property division, and maintenance settlements remains to be seen.
With references to the social and legal norms and biases that have traditionally relegated women's contributions to the domestic sphere, such as under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Ms. Rajkotia will explore how these paradigms have historically disadvantaged women during divorce and custody proceedings. She will speak of a slowly transforming perspective of the Indian courts through discussion on case law and her effort to incorporate a feminist reading of the law in her practice. Her talk will also navigate the delicate balancing act required in fighting for the recognition of women’s autonomy and the importance of taking into account the contributions women make to the household, both in monetary and non-monetary terms. By fostering a deeper understanding of the legal intricacies involved in advocacy for women’s economic rights in Indian courts,her talk aims to underscore the need for the deserved acknowledgement of women's labour, particularly in the course of proceedings that arise at the time of divorce and custody.
The Laws of Social Reproduction project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (under grant agreement No. 772946). For more information about the project, please email: Prabha.email@example.com.