The Indian Judiciary's Tryst With Online Gender-Based Violence: An Empirical Analysis of Indian Case-law

This research is forthcoming, and will be released in 2022.

IT for Change has undertaken a detailed study of 90 cases examining judicial responses to different kinds of cases of technology-facilitated gender-based violence from the Supreme Court, 17 High Courts, and 2 District Courts across the country. The largest group of cases were related to NCIID (Non-Consensual Intimate Image Distribution Cases), revealing the flagrant abuse of women's privacy and consent and the ease of access offered by the online space.
This study has yielded certain striking insights into the pervasiveness of certain regressive patriarchal stereotypes. For instance, courts still tend to look at women exercising their legal rights through a paternalistic lens where women are treated only as docile subjects in need of protection. There also seems to be an impulse to lessen the gravity of online (as opposed to offline) forms of violence, as a somehow milder form of gendered violence. At the same time, we have also found some promising signs. In the years after the landmark Puttaswamy judgment which recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right, courts are increasingly adjudicating privacy violations such as the non-consensual distribution of intimate images as privacy violations rather than through outmoded Victorian notions of obscenity and impropriety.

Our study shows, however, that there is still much ground to be covered in terms of the promotion of gender-sensitive judicial attitudes and effective orders to prevent further violence in such cases.

You can read the draft paper here.

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