Legal Theory and Law Relating to Women

By Prof. (Dr.) G. B. Reddy   |   English and Foreign Languages University (Host University)
Learners enrolled: 2377

Overview of the Course

Legal theory deals with the theoretical study of law, and tries to explain the nature of law, provides deeper understanding of legal reasoning and role of law in society. Law affords special protection to women, in order to ensure equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination. This course would explain in detail all the components of Legal Theory in its first part and gives an understanding of the law relating to women in the second part, with emphasis on position in India. The various schools of legal thought ranging from the Natural Law, Positivism, Historical Approach, Sociological Theories to the Realism and Critical Legal Studies are explained in a very lucid and succinct manner, with emphasis on their core beliefs. The opinions and postulates of prominent jurists like Bentham, Austin, Hart, Fuller, Dworkin, Kelsen, Savigny, Maine, Durkhein, Duguit, Pound, Holmes, Hagerstrom are highlighted for a complete understanding about the different views on law, its origin and purpose. The course touches upon the important legal maxims, legal and judicial systems in India. Apart from this, the law relating to women in the light of the Indian Constitution, Criminal Laws, Employment Laws, Personal Laws and International Law are explained in detail in this course. Further, the law regulating, prohibiting social evils faced by women in India, issues regarding reproductive rights, dowry and domestic violence are also dealt with extensively. The course would be useful for students of law, political science, advocates, social activists, civil societies and teachers of the subject.

Course Coordinator

Prof. (Dr.) G. B. Reddy
Professor of Law, University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad.
Course Experts
Prof. (Dr.) Y. Pratap Reddy
ICFAI Law School Hyderabad, Former Head, Dept. of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad.

Prof. (Dr.) Y. Pratap Reddy  is a Professor of Law at ICFAI Law School, IFHE, Hyderabad since February, 2017. Formerly he was Professor and Head, Department of Law, at Osmania University. He has a teaching career spanning over 35 years and the teaching areas include Jurisprudence, Administrative law, Law of Evidence, Law of torts, Law of Consumer Protection. He Has keen interest in the areas of Public interest Litigation, Human Rights, Consumer Protection and Juvenile Justice. He has been a resource person in the subject of Law at the Judicial Academy, Marri Chenna Reddy Institute of Human Resources Development.
Mrs. Pulipati Sridevi
Assistant Professor, Padala Rama Reddi Law College, Hyderabad.

Mrs.Pulipati Sridevi is an Assistant Professor at Padala Rama Reddi Law College, Ameerpet, Hyderabad, Telangana. She studied M.Com, LL.M. at Osmania University. She secured State 3rd rank in AP PG-LAWCET-2007. She secured First Rank and gold medal in LL.M. from Sultan-Ul-Uloom College of Law, Hyderabad in 2009. She is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Law on the topic ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace’ from Osmania University under the supervision of Prof. G. B. Reddy. As part of her research program, she engages with several corporates and Government departments on POSH compliance and is an external member of the Internal Committees of several corporates, and has conducted several trainings for Internal Committee/Local Committee members. She was a guest faculty at ICSI Chapter, Hyderabad during 2014 and 2015.  She has qualified in both UGC-NET and AP-SET in Law. She has also participated and presented papers in several national and international seminars.
Teaching Assistant
Dr. S. B. Md. Irfan Ali Abbas
Visiting Faculty, University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad.

Dr. Irfan is an Advocate at Hyderabad with more than 10 yrs of experience, and a Visiting Faculty at University College of Law at Osmania University, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad and NMIMS School of Law. His teaching areas include Alternative Dispute Resolution, Private International Law, Company Law, Professional Ethics, Jurisprudence and Intellectual Property Rights. He is an accredited Mediator of the Indian Institute of Arbitration and Mediation (IIAM) and has also done PG Diploma in ADR from ICADR, Hyderabad. He has done his Ph.D. in Law from Osmania University in the area of Online Dispute Resolution and was selected for ICSSR Doctoral Fellowship. He was Project Fellow (Law) in Centre for Advance Research and Training at Osmania University and also qualified UGC NET in Law. He has written 13 Articles and 6 Book Chapters, and also participated in several National and International Conferences in India and abroad.

Need for the Course

The study of legal theory is essential for the wholesome understanding of the law, its origin and purpose. The study of legal theory points out the different, varied perspectives famous thinkers, jurists have had towards law and its objective, and also thereby guides in framing of the laws in an effective manner and also assists in better adjudication. The study of legal theory strives to increase students’ critical awareness of the challenges and complexities affecting the legal environment. The students would be in a position to create and apply abstract philosophical debates, present philosophical arguments and critically evaluate theories and the assumptions that form their bases.

The initiatives that empower women legally can redress unequal power relationships. Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights. Effectively ensuring women’s rights requires, firstly, a comprehensive understanding of the social structures and power relations that frame not only laws and politics but also the economy, social dynamics and family and community life. This course aims to bring awareness among the students regarding the legal position of women, particularly in India, in various facets of their life like family, work, society; and also tries to emphasize on achieving women empowerment through a systematized legal system.

Objectives of the Course

  • To understand the significance of Legal Theory and the classification of legal thought.
  • To study the meaning, concept, philosophy and theories of Natural Law.
  • To understand the meaning and concept of Positivism with emphasis on Bentham and Austin.
  • To study the Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law.
  • To understand the Hart’s Concept of Law and its Criticism.
  • To study the theories of Sociological Jurisprudence, with the help of contributions of Ihering, Ehrlich, Durkheim, Duguit and Roscoe Pound.
  • To understand the Historical Approach to Jurisprudence by Savigny and Henry Maine.
  • To identify and understand the fundamental precepts of American and Scandinavian Realism.
  • To appreciate the value of Critical Legal Studies, Economic Analysis of Law and Hindu Philosophy.
  • To understand the status of women in India, in light of the recent legal developments and the position under the Constitution of India.
  • To analyse the position of women under the personal laws, with respect to matrimonial causes and remedies.
  • To understand the concept of domestic violence and dowry, from the perspective of protection of women.
  • To study the position of women under the Criminal Laws.
  • To understand the law regulating sexual harassment at workplace with respect to protection of women.
  • To identify and understand the social evils prevalent against women in India, and the laws prohibiting the same.
  • To understand the reproductive rights of women.
  • To study the international relating to protection of women.
  • To understand the meaning and need for women empowerment.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Law
Credit Points : 4
Level : Undergraduate
Start Date : 31 Jan 2022
End Date : 30 Apr 2022
Enrollment Ends : 28 Feb 2022
Exam Date :

Page Visits

Course layout


  1. Introduction to Legal Theory
  2. Classification of Legal Thought
  3. The Definition of Law
  4. Natural law: Greek and Roman Legal Philosophy
  5. Assignments


  1. Natural Law: Theological Approach
  2. Natural Law: Renaissance Period
  3. Natural Law: Modern Theories
  4. Analytical Positivism: Bentham
  5. Assignments


  1. Austin’s Positivism-1
  2. Austin’s Positivism-2
  3. The Pure Theory of Law: Kelsen
  4. Hart’s Concept of Law
  5. Assignments


  1. Criticism of Hart’s Positivism
  2. The Historical Approach: Savigny
  3. The Anthropological Approach: Henry Maine
  4. Economic Theory of Law: The Marxist Approach
  5. Assignments


  1. Marxist Concept of State and Law 
  2. The Sociological Approach: Jhering, Duguit, Ehrlich
  3. The Sociological Approach: Roscoe Pound
  4. American Realism
  5. Assignments


  1. Scandinavian Realism
  2. Theory of Justice: John Rawls
  3. Hindu Legal Theory
  4. Critical Legal Studies 
  5. Assignments


  1. Feminist Jurisprudence
  2. Legal Maxims
  3. Classification of Law & Hierarchy of courts
  4. Legal and Judicial systems in India and search of law material
  5. Assignments


  1. Present status of women – Role of law and the Constitution
  2. Personal Laws and Women -1 Marriage
  3. Personal Laws and Women -2 Matrimonial causes
  4. Personal Laws and Women -3 Property Rights
  5. Assignments


  1. Personal Laws and Women -4 Adoption and Maintenance Rights of Women
  2. Criminal Law and Women
  3. Women and Employment
  4. Sexual Harassment of Women at work place
  5. Assignments


  1. Law on Social evils faced by women in India
  2. Women and Reproductive Rights
  3. Dowry and Domestic Violence
  4. International Law and Women Empowerment
  5. Recent Developments in Law relating to Women in India
  6. Assignments

Books and references

Flavia Agnes, Law and Gender Inequality – The Politics of Women’s Rights in India (Oxford University Press 2001)

G B Reddy, Women and The Law – Including Law Relating to Children (Gogia Law House, 10th Edition, 2021)

G W Paton, A Textbook on Jurisprudence (Oxford University Press, 4th Edition, 2017)

Hans Kelsen, Pure Theory of Law, 1934

HLA Hart, The Concept of Law, 1961

Ishita Chatterjee, Gender Justice and Feminist Jurisprudence, (Central Law Publications, 2019)

Jaya Sagade, Vedna Jivan and Christine Forster, Feminism in the Subcontinent and Beyond (Challenging Laws, Changing Laws), (Eastern Book Company, 2015)

Jeremy Bentham, Bentham's Theory of Legislation, 1802

John Austin, The Province of Jurisprudence Determined, 1832

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice, 1971

Joseph Raz, The Authority of Law, 1979

Lon L. Fuller, The Morality of Law, 1964

Mamta Rao, Law Relating to Women and Children, (Eastern Book Company, 4th Edition, 2018)

Mayne, Mayne’s Treatise on Hindu Law & Usage, (Bharat Law House Pvt. Ltd., 18th Edition 2020)

Mulla, Mulla’s Principles of Mohammedan Law, (Lexis Nexis, 22nd Edition, 2017)

N E Simmonds, Central Issues in Jurisprudence, Justice, Law and Rights,1986

N V Paranjape, Studies in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory (Central law Agency, 9th Edition, 2019)

Patrick John Fitzgerald, Salmond on Jurisprudence (Sweet & Maxwell, 12th Edition, 2015)

R M W Dias, Jurisprudence (Lexis Nexis, 5th Edition Reprint, 2013)

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, 1974

Ronald Dworkin, Law’s Empire (Harvard University Press, 1986)

Roscoe Pound, An Introduction of the Philosophy of Law, 1898

S N Dhyani, Fundamentals of Jurisprudence – The Indian Approach, (Central Law Agency, 4th Edition, 2019)

Sebastian Champappilly, Christian Law of Divorce, (Southern Law Publishers, 2007)

Sebastian Champappilly, Christian Law on Marriage, Adoption and Guardianship, and Canon Law on Marriage, (Southern Law Publishers, 2003)

Sir Thomas Erskine Holland, K.C., Holland on Jurisprudence
V D Mahajan, Jurisprudence and Legal Theory (Eastern Book Company, 5th Edition 1987, Reprinted 2021)

Instructor bio

Prof. (Dr.) G. B. Reddy

English and Foreign Languages University (Host University)

Dr.G.B.Reddy is a lawyer turned academician. Studied B.A. (HPP), LL.B., and LL.M. (Constitutional Law) at Osmania University, and P.G.Diploma in Human Rights from University of Hyderabad. Obtained Ph.D.in Law from Osmania University in 1999 on the topic “Supreme Court and Judicial Activism – Its Contribution in Specific Areas of Constitutional Law after 1980”. His area of specialisation is Constitutional Law in LL.M. and Judicial Activism in Ph.D. He specialised in the area of Intellectual Property as an independent researcher, publisher and teacher.

He has secured three Gold Medals in LL.B. and one Gold Medal in LL.M. apart from being the first candidate to have qualified for UGC-JRF in Law from Osmania University in 1993.He practiced in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for about seven years before joining the Faculty of Law, Osmania University. He authored 20 well received books on law including Women and Law, Intellectual Property Rights and Law, Copyright Law in India, Practical Advocacy of Law, Right to Information and Law and Judicial Activism in India. Two of his books namely Women and Law and Judicial Activism in India, have been reviewed favourably in the Book Review section of the Hindu by Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer. He also published more than 65 articles on law in standard national and international journals. He participated in National and International Seminars, Workshops and Conferences on Law and allied subjects and visited Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

He has already offered 4 Swayam Courses on Human Rights, International Law and International Humanitarian Law; Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Law; Indian Judicial System: Legal Aid and Environmental Protection; Private International Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution and more than 10000 students have taken the courses.

He holds the position of Director University Foreign Relations Office, Osmania University. He was the founder Director of Legal Cell of the University, a member of General Council of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (2011-2014), A.P. State Consumer Protection Council (2010-2013) and Hyderabad District Legal Services Authority by Government of A.P.  He is a Life Member of Indian Law Institute & Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, New Delhi and American Studies Research Centre, (presently OUCIP). He is a member of Telangana State Legal Services Authority, Chairman, Ethics Committee of CDFD, Hyderabad, Member of Academic Council of NALSAR University. He has also been the Dean, Faculty of Law of Telangana University and Satavahana University, Karimnagar (Since 2016).

Prof. (Dr.) Y. Pratap Reddy (the other Senior Expert of the course) is a Professor of Law at ICFAI Law School, IFHE, Hyderabad since February, 2017. Formerly he was Professor and Head, Department of Law, at Osmania University. He has a teaching career spanning over 35 years and the teaching areas include Jurisprudence, Administrative law, Law of Evidence, Law of torts, Law of Consumer Protection. He Has keen interest in the areas of Public interest Litigation, Human Rights, Consumer Protection and Juvenile Justice. He has been a resource person in the subject of Law at the Judicial Academy, Marri Chenna Reddy Institute of Human Resources Development.

Course certificate

30% for in course assessment and 70% for end term proctored exam.

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