Colonial Rule and Subversion of Rights

Flavia Agnes

in Law and Gender Inequality

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195655247
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081189 | DOI:
Colonial Rule and Subversion of Rights

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This chapter explores the transformation of the legal structure in India and evaluates its effects on women’s rights. It analyses the process of colonisation in the Presidencies of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in order to understand the judicial structure of modern India. It explains that the transformation of the legal structure associated with the advent of colonialism occurred through the introduction of a legal structure modelled on English courts and through principles of substantive law which were evolved and administered in these courts. An analysis of the legal cases of women’s right to property reveals that with the benevolence of the English jurists, and the worst distortions of Brahminical smriti texts, the patriarchal modernity of India was ushered in.

Keywords: legal structure; women’s rights; colonisation; India; presidencies; Calcutta; Bombay; Madras; English courts; right to property

Chapter.  6587 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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