LAW AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN INDIA Law plays an important role in regard to social change.

A variety of social legislations are being introduced in independent India to bring about change. Many laws have been passed for the welfare of the downtrodden in the agrarian sector, to emancipate women, to eradicate untouchability, to facilitate the social and economic development of the tribal population, etc. The constitution of India provides for the equality of status and the principle of social, Economic and political justice to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed, sex, etc. These form a part of the Fundamental Rights. Directive Principles of State Policy provides for legislation on various social matters. Since 1950 it has been the policy of the government to bring legislation in line with the Fundamental Rights given in the constitution. Untouchability has been abolished by Article 17 of the Constitution. The Untouchability (Offence) Act of 1955 made offences connected with this issue are cognizable and compoundable. But the status of the Dalits in many villages has hardly improved as the upper caste people still practice untouchability. According to the Special Marriage Act of 1954 the male should have completed the age of twenty-one years and the female the age of eighteen years at the time of marriage. Hindus, including Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Brahma Samajists and Veera Saivas are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. This Act enforced monogamy and provided the conditions for divorce. Marriage Act, 1954. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 was passed to protect the rights of divorced Muslim women. This Act was passed the Shah Bano controversy. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 permitted the adoption of a daughter or a son. It made the consent of the wife necessary in this matter. The widows also got the right to adopt by this Act. The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 conferred both the sons and daughters the right of inheritance from the property of Hindu father. The Hindu and Sikh organizations in Haryana and Punjab argued that this would lead to the fragmentation of agricultural holdings. The Union Government studied the problem and pointed out in 1969 that denial of daughters’ right of inheritance from the father’s property is the denial of equal status to women. Thus women were financially empowered. Another Act of immense social consequence is the Slum Areas Act of 1956. This Act provides for the declaration of any area as unfit for human inhabitance. The Motor Transport Workers Act of 1961 provided for eight hours of work per day and 48 hours per week. The Employment Exchange Act of 1959 provided for the registration of unemployed people and for training programs. Thus the state has taken upon itself the responsibility of

As a result. Thus the Social legislations passed after independence made tremendous changes in Indian Society. verbal. Donations at the Satisthal are liable for confiscation.30. 1995.000. sexual and economic abuse. Many voluntary organizations have come forward to work for social change by merit of these legislations. Article 23 asserts that no child below 14 is to be employed in any factory. the Indian Parliament passed a law which provides for a three months’ jail term if children do not look after old parents.helping unemployed individuals. The legislation also provides for the state to set up old age homes. 1987 was in application. mental. But with increase in population. The Offences against Children Bill of 2005 aims at protecting children's rights. In 2007. this Act is also of hardly any significance. emotional. loco-motor disability etc. Equal Opportunities. Violence against women in the form of bride burning and rape galvanized the women’s movement organized by the feminist groups since 1970s. Child rights activists are calling for the draft under consideration to be made into a law so that the suffering children have some hope. It covers seven disabilities . Mental Health Act. acts of threatening to abuse the victim or any other person related to her. low vision. Domestic violence is one of the gravest and the most pervasive human rights violation. The bill applies to adult children with parents over the age of 60. Prior to the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Act.blindness. disability concerns have captured the attention of both the Government and voluntary organizations. leprosy-cured. Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act. harassment for dowry. The Act aims to protect and promote economic and social rights of people with disabilities. The new Sati Act forbade any glorification of sati. makes it punishable with upto 7 years imprisonment and a possible fine of Rs. referred to as Persons with Disabilities Actwas passed to implement the Declaration of Human Rights by the UN Assembly. hearing impairment. It protects women from the physical. The Central government has passed the Commission of Sati Prevention Act of 1987. In 2005 the Government of India passed the Domestic Violence Act. . As a result the number of old age home increased and they shelter many old people. It was put into effect from 1st January 1996. It was intended to provide for the treatment and care of mentally ill persons. The Indian Penal Code defines the child as being 12 years of age.