Dhu'l Qadah 1424 H
Volume 17-01 No : 205
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There is a new law that states that a woman could be arrested at “any time of the day or night,” in spite of the absence of a female constable. This judgment gives the police one more tool to use against women.
By A Staff Writer
Aawaz-e-Niswan, an organisation of Muslim women recently initiated a coalition of rights groups, lawyers and media persons to launched a signature campaign against a recent judgment by the Indian Supreme Court, that revokes a law prohibiting the arrest of women at night, and in the absence of women constables: warning that it could spark an increase in police violence against them.
On August 26, 1994, in a high profile case of the Christian Community Welfare Council versus the south Indian state of Maharashtra, the high court in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, ruled that no woman could be arrested in the absence of a woman police constable. The judgment further decreed that an arrest of a woman either before sunrise or after sunset was unlawful.
Rights activists had then applauded the landmark judgment. “We saw the Mumbai High Court judgment as a real tool to defend and extend the rights of women against violence by the police,” says Rebecca Gonsalvez, a criminal lawyer and member of the India Centre for Human Rights and Law, an organisation engaged in building a body of humanitarian law in India.
But on October 15, 2003, the Supreme Court over-ruled the judgment of the Mumbai High Court, following an appeal against the 1994 ruling by the State of Maharashtra. The new law states that a woman could be arrested at “any time of the day or night,” in spite of the absence of a female constable, if the arresting police officer is reasonably satisfied that the presence of one is not possible. It further elaborates that the arresting officer should not delay the arrest or impede the course of investigation in the event of a woman constable being unavailable. “This judgment gives the police one more tool to use against women,” declares an irate Hasina Khan, head of Aawaz-e-Niswan. As she adds, “We know by experience that sex workers routinely get picked up at night. We used the Mumbai High Court judgment as a framework to sensitize the police force. We told them they could arrest women only within the framework of the rights made available to them by the judiciary. But that they could not pull women by their hair and take them away at midnight.”
But the new ruling is regressive, and squarely erodes women’s rights. For as Hasina puts it, “It gives the police the power to justify and accelerate the use of violence.” According to India’s nodal crime documentation body — National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) — in 2001, 144608 women were arrested for cognizable crimes under the Indian Penal Code.
According to their data, women constituted 5.4 per cent of total arrests, with the Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu recording the highest numbers. “While sex-specific statistics of custodial violence are not available,” says Hasina, “We know for a fact that women arrestees are doubly discriminated against and doubly vulnerable before the police.”
A case in point is that of Mumbai chain snatcher, Fatima, who was arrested for petty crime by a male police officer in October 2003. While under detention, Fatima was beaten and raped in the police station for several hours, succumbing to her injuries soon afterwards.
“There are no more than 8-10 women constables in every district of Maharashtra,” alleges Hasina Khan.Activists point out that there is an acute dearth of trained women police officers in India. As one of them stresses, “Rather than direct the Indian police to recruit and train more women police officers, the Supreme Court has absolved them from providing equal rights to employment for women.”
But it is the long-term repercussions of the judgment that are worrying. Says Khan; “The judgment will go a long way in building an environment of fear and deep insecurity for women as they deal with the police. It even makes peaceful women protestors more vulnerable to police harassment.”
By Imaam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah
ONE: The Prevention of Knowledge: Knowledge is a light which Allaah throws into the heart and disobedience extinguishes this light.
Imaam Shaafi’ee (rah) said: “I complained to Wakee’ about the weakness of my memory, so he ordered me to abandon disobedience. And informed me that the knowledge is light. And that the light of Allaah is not given to the disobedient “
TWO: The Prevention of Sustenance: Just as Taqwaa brings about sustenance, the abandonment of Taqwaa causes poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the abandonment of disobedience.
THREE: The prevention of obedience (to Allaah). If there was no other punishment for sin other than that it prevents one from obedience to Allaah then this would be sufficient.
FOUR: Disobedience weakens the heart and the body. Its weakening the heart is something which is clear. Disobedience does not stop weakening it until the life of the heart ceases completely.
FIVE: Disobedience reduces the lifespan and destroys any blessings. Just as righteousness increases the lifespan, sinning reduces it.
SIX: Disobedience sows its own seeds and gives birth to itself until separating from it and coming out of it becomes difficult for the servant.
SEVEN: Sins weaken the hearts will and resolve so that the desire for disobedience becomes strong and the desire to repent becomes weak bit by bit until the desire to repent is removed from the heart completely.
EIGHT: Every type of disobedience is a legacy of a nation from among the nations which Allaah Ta’ala destroyed. Sodomy is a legacy of the People of Lut (alayhis salaam), taking more than one’s due right and giving what is less is a legacy of the People of Shu’ayb (alayhis salaam), seeking greatness in the land and causing corruption is a legacy of the People of Pharoah and pride/arrogance and tyranny is a legacy of the People of Hud. So the disobedient one is wearing the gown of some of these nations who were the enemies of Allaah.
NINE: Disobedience is a cause of the servant being held in contempt by his Lord. Al-Hasan al-Basree (rah) said: They became contemptible in (His sight) so they disobeyed Him. If they were honorable (in His sight) He would have protected them. Allah the Exalted said:
“And whomsoever Allaah lowers (humiliates) there is none to give honor.” [Hajj 22:18]
TEN: The ill-effects of the sinner fall upon those besides him and also the animals as a result of which they are touched by harm.
ELEVEN: The servant continues to commit sins until they become very easy for him and seem insignificant in his heart and this is a sign of destruction. Every time a sin becomes insignificant in the sight of the servant it becomes great in the sight of Allaah.
Ibn Mas’ood (radhiallaahu anhu) said: Indeed, the believer sees his sins as if he was standing at the foot of a mountain fearing that it will fall upon him and the sinner sees his sins like a fly which passes by his nose so he tries to remove it by waving his hand around. [Bukhari]
TWELVE: Disobedience inherits humiliation and lowliness. Honor, all of it, lies in the obedience of Allaah. Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak said:“I have seen sins kill the hearts. And humiliation is inherited by their continuity The abandonment of sins gives life to the hearts. And the prevention of your soul is better for it.”
THIRTEEN: Disobedience corrupts the intellect. The intellect has light and disobedience extinguishes this light. When the light of the intellect is extinguished it becomes weak and deficient.
FOURTEEN: When disobedience increases, the servant’s heart becomes sealed so that he becomes of those who are heedless. The Exalted said:
“But no! A stain has been left on their hearts on account of what they used to earn (i.e. their actions).” [Mutaffifeen 83:14]
FIFTEEN: Sins cause the various types of corruption to occur in the land. Corruption of the waters, the air, the plants, the fruits and the dwelling places. The Exalted said:
“Mischief has appeared on the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have earned; that He may give them a taste of some of (the actions) they have done, in order that they may return.” [Rum 30:41]
SIXTEEN: The disappearance of modesty which is the essence of the life of the heart and is the basis of every good. Its disappearance is the disappearance of all that is good. It is authentic from the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he said: Modesty is goodness, all of it [Bukhari and Muslim] A Poet said:
“And by Allaah, there is no good in life Or in the world when modesty goes.”
SEVENTEEN: Sins weaken and reduce the magnification of Allaah, the Mighty in the heart of the servant
EIGHTEEN: Sins are the cause of Allaah forgetting His servant, abandoning him and leaving him to fend for himself with his soul and his shaytaan and in this is the destruction from which no deliverance can be hoped for.
NINETEEN: Sins remove the servant from the realm of Ihsaan (doing good) and he is prevented from (obtaining) the reward of those who do good. When Ihsaan fills the heart it prevents it from disobedience.
TWENTY: Disobedience causes the favors (of Allaah) to cease and make His revenge lawful. No blessing ceases to reach a servant except due to a sin and no retribution is made lawful upon him except due to a sin. Ali (radhiallaahu anhu) said: No trial has descended except due to a sin and it (the trial) is not repelled except by repentance. Allaah the Exalted said: “Whatever misfortune afflicts you then it is due to what your hands have earned and (yet) He pardons many.” [Shura 42:30] And the Exalted also said: “That is because never will Allaah change the favor He has bestowed on a people until they change what is with themselves.” [Anfaal 8:53]
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