Battered but Not Broken: Legal Recognition of BWS in India

  • Shailraj Jhalnia
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  • Shailraj Jhalnia

    Student at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India

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Battered Women Syndrome (BWS) is an outcome of Intimate partner violence (physical and psychological) exhibited by a woman, a sufferer of abuse on a repeated basis. Lenore E. Walker coined the term BWS as a legal defense in the 1970s to explain the complex psychological and behavioral patterns of women who endure sustained domestic abuse, including verbal attacks, threats, and physical and sexual violence. In India, Nallanthangel Syndrome was found in the landmark case Suyambukkani v. State of Tamil Nadu. The paper seeks to analyze the evolution of BWS as a legal defense globally and in the Indian context. In certain sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code), some sections are argued as a valid defense for BWS, like S.300 and S.100, which talk about sudden provocation and acts of self-defense. It would contextualize BWS as a theoretical concept, giving a global and Indian overview of landmark cases and how the decisions evolve. As psychological evidence in India, BWS has yet to develop much and is nascent. Still, landmark cases like Manju Lakra v. State of Assam have started accepting it as a valid defense. The larger object of the paper would be to provide a gender-just analysis of criminal laws about BWS and how there is a need for subjectivity in physical and mental hardships faced by women instead of Male perspective, which will help in better understanding and bringing different perspectives on criminal laws.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 3832 - 3840


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