Women and their legal rights in India_WomenPowerConnect
WOMEN AND THEIR LEGALRIGHTS IN INDIA
Flow of Presentation Gender Equality Constitutional Provisions Constitutional Privileges Legal Provisions Violence and Discrimination at Home Violence and Discrimination in Public Places Special Initiatives for Women Basic Legal Rights
GenderEqualityThe principle o f g e nde r e q uality is e nshrine d in theIndian Co nstitutio n in its Preamble, FundamentalRights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles.The Co nstitutio n no t o nly g rants e q uality to wo m e n,but also e m po we rs the State to ado pt m e asure s o fpositive discrimination in favo ur o f wo m e n. Within thefram e wo rk o f a de m o cratic po lity, o ur laws,de ve lo pm e nt po licie s, Plans and pro g ram m e s haveaim e d at wo m e n’s advance m e nt in diffe re nt sphe re s.India has also ratifie d vario us inte rnatio nalco nve ntio ns and hum an rig hts instrum e nts co m m ittingto se cure e q ual rig hts o f wo m e n. Ke y am o ng the m isthe ratificatio n o f the Co nve ntio n o n Elim inatio n o f AllFo rm s o f Discrim inatio n Ag ainst Wo m e n (CEDAW) in1 9 9 3.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONSThe Co nstitutio n o f India no t o nly g rants e q ualityto wo m e n but also e m po we rs the State to ado ptm e asure s o f po sitive discrim inatio n in favo ur o fwo m e n fo r neutralizing the cumulative socioeconomic, education and political disadvantagesface d by the m . Fundam e ntal Rig hts, am o ngo the rs, e nsure e q uality be fo re the law and e q ualpro te ctio n o f law; pro hibits discrim inatio n ag ainstany citize n o n g ro unds o f re lig io n, race , caste , se xo r place o f birth, and g uarante e e q uality o fo ppo rtunity to all citiz e ns in m atte rs re lating toe m plo ym e nt. Article s 1 4, 1 5, 1 5(3), 1 6 , 39 (a),39 (b), 39 (c) and 42 o f the Co nstitutio n are o fspe cific im po rtance in this re g ard.
Constitutional Privileges Eq uality be fo re law fo r women(Article14) The State no t to discrim inate ag ainst any citiz e n o n g ro unds o nly o fre lig io n, race , caste , sex, place o f birth o r any o f the m (Article15(i)) (iii) The State to m ake any spe cialpro visio n in favo r o f womenandchildre n (Article15(3)) Eq uality o f o ppo rtunity fo r allcitiz e ns in m atte rs re lating to e m plo ym e nto r appo intm e nt to any o ffice unde r the State (Article16) The State to dire ct its po licy to wards se curing fo r m e n and womene q ually the rig ht to an ade q uate m e ans o f live liho o d (Article39(a)); ande q ualpay fo r e q ualwo rk fo r bo th m e n and women(Article39(d))
Continue……… To pro m o te justice , o n a basis o f e q ualo ppo rtunity and topro vide fre e le g alaid by suitable le g islatio n o r sche m e o r inany o the r way to e nsure that o ppo rtunitie s fo r se curing justiceare no t de nie d to any citiz e n by re aso n o f e co no m ic o r o the rdisabilitie s (Article39A) (vii) The State to m ake pro visio n fo r se curing just andhum ane co nditio ns o f wo rk and fo r m ate rnity re lie f (Article42) The State to pro m o te with spe cialcare the e ducatio nalande co no m ic inte re sts o f the we ake r se ctio ns o f the pe o ple andto pro te ct the m fro m so cialinjustice and allfo rm s o fe xplo itatio n (Article46) (ix) The State to raise the le ve lo f nutritio n and the standardo f living o f its pe o ple (Article47)
Continue…….. To pro m o te harm o ny and the spirit o f co m m o n bro the rho o d am o ng st allthe pe o ple o f India andto re no unce practice s de ro g ato ry to the dig nity o f women(Article51(A) (e)) (xi) No t le ss than o ne -third (including the num be r o f se ats re se rve d fo r women be lo ng ing tothe Sche dule d Caste s and the Sche dule d Tribe s) o f the to talnum be r o f se ats to be fille d bydire ct e le ctio n in e ve ry Panchayat to be re se rve d fo r wo m e n and such se ats to be allo tte d byro tatio n to diffe re nt co nstitue ncie s in a Panchayat (Article243D(3)) (xii) No t le ss than o ne - third o f the to talnum be r o f o ffice s o f Chairpe rso ns in the Panchayatsat e ach le ve lto be re se rve d fo r women(Article243D(4)) No t le ss than o ne -third (including the num be r o f se ats re se rve d fo r womenbe lo ng ing to theSche dule d Caste s and the Sche dule d Tribe s) o f the to talnum be r o f se ats to be fille d by dire cte le ctio n in e ve ry Municipalityto be re se rve d fo r womenand such se ats to be allo tte d by ro tatio nto diffe re nt co nstitue ncie s in a Municipality(Article243T(3)) Re se rvatio n o f o ffice s o f Chairpe rso ns in Municipalities fo r the Sche dule d Caste s, theSche dule d Tribe s and women in such m anne r as the le g islature o f a State m ay by law pro vide(Article243T(4))
LEGAL PROVISIONSTo upho ld the Co nstitutio nal m andate , the State hase nacte d vario us legislative measures inte nde d to e nsuree q ual rig hts, to co unte r so cial discrim inatio n and vario usfo rm s o f vio le nce and atro citie s and to pro vide suppo rtse rvice sCe rtain Le g al Pro visio ns m ade unde r the law can bespe cifie d unde r different heads:- Vio le nce and Discrim inatio n at Ho m e- Vio le nce and Discrim inatio n in Public Place s- Spe cialInitiative s fo r Wo m e n
Violence and discrimination athomeThere are a number of key women-centric legislations available to addressissues of gender-based discrimination: Pre Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 2003: In order to address the declining child sex ratio, the PCPNDT Actprovides for the prohibition of sex selection before or after conceptionand for the regulation of prenatal diagnostic techniques Prohibition of Child Marriage (PCM) Act 2006: Replaced the earlier legislation of Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 PCM Act prohibits marriage of girls before the age of 18 and boysbefore the age of 21 PCM Act is armed with enabling provisions to prohibit child marriages,protect and provide relief to victims and enhance punishment forthose who abet, promote or soleminize such marriages PCM calls for appointment of Child Marriage Prohibition Officers forimplementing the Act
Continue……. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (PWDV) Act 2005: "Domestic violence" includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse thatis physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic. Harassment byway of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives wouldalso be covered under this definition One of the most important features of the Act is the woman’s right tosecure housing. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside inthe matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any titleor rights in the household. The other relief envisaged under the Act is that of the power of thecourt to pass protection orders that prevent the abuser from aiding orcommitting an act of domestic violence or any other specified act,entering a workplace or any other place frequented by the abused,attempting to communicate with the abused, isolating any assetsused by both the parties and causing violence to the abused, herrelatives and others who provide her assistance from the domesticviolence.
Continue……. Dowry Prohibition Act 1961: It is a Criminal Law Act prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, "asconsideration for the marriage," where "dowry" is defined as a gift demandedor given as a precondition for a marriage. Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by an imprisonment of up to sixmonths, or a fine of up to Rs. 15000 or the amount of dowry whichever ishigher and imprisonment up to 5 years. IPC Section 498A: It is a Criminal Law Section 498A was inserted into the Indian Penal Code in 1983 via anamendment to strengthen anti-dowry legislation It is applicable when a husband or relative of a husband subjects his wife to“cruelty” (including dowry harassment) This section is non-bailable, non-compoundable (i.e. it cannot be privatelyresolved between the parties concerned) and cognizable. After registration of an FIR for a cognizable, non-bailable offense, the policemay arrest any and all of the accused named in the complaint.
Violence and Discrimination inPublic SpacesProtection of the Interests of Women Workers:- A separate Cell for Women Labour was set up by theMinistry of Labour, which focuses on the condition ofworking womenThe Equal Remuneration Act 1976:- Aims to provide the payment of equal remuneration tomen and women workers for same or similar nature ofwork- States/UTs have appointed competent authoritiesunder this Act and have set up Advisory Committees
Continue…….Rajiv Gandhi National Crèche Scheme for the Children of Working Mothers: Launched by Ministry of Women and Child Development Provides crèche services for children 0-6 years of age, includingsupplementary nutrition, emergency medicines and contingencyMaternity Benefits Act 1961: Women are entitled to 6 weeks of leave before your due date, and 6weeks after your childs birth. So women can claim at least 12 weeks orthree months maternity leave. Women who have a miscarriage or an abortion, are entitled to 6 weeksleave by law Pregnant women are entitled to maternity benefits at the rate of theiraverage daily wage for the period of their absence, for a maximum periodof 12 weeks (6 weeks before delivery and 6 weeks after). Women canonly claim this compensation though if they have worked at least 80 daysfor the employer in the last 12 months. The law also states that from 10 weeks before your due date, you will nothave to do arduous work, stand for long hours or be asked to do anyother work that may cause problems.
Continue…..- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibitionand Redressal) Bill 2012• The Lok Sabha (the Lower House of the Parliament) has, on 3September 2012, passed the Sexual Harassment of Women atWorkplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 (Bill). TheBill now remains to be passed by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of theParliament) and notified by the government, to become binding law.• The Supreme Court of India, in 1997, delivered its landmark judgment inthe case of Vishaka and Ors. v State o f Rajasthan1and laid downguidelines dealing exhaustively with the definition of sexual harassment,the preventive measures required to be taken by an employer and theinternal redressal mechanisms required to be put in place (SCGuidelines)• The Bill retains several aspects of the SC Guidelines, including thedefinition of the term sexual harassment2, the requirement of constitutingan internal complaints committee to deal with sexual harassmentcomplaints and the need to have an external member on such acommittee. The Bill also reiterates that the workplace is not merelylimited to the premises of the employer, but includes any place that isvisited by an employee during and in the course of her employment.
Continue…… Rape Law: Section 375 and 376 of IPC deal with the crime of rape Where rape is proved, the minimum punishment is tenyears for custodial rape, gang rape, rape of pregnantwomen and minor girls under the age of 12 and sevenyears in other cases. Immoral Traffick Prevention Act 1986: This Act has provisions that outline the illegality ofprostitution and the punishment for owning a brothel or asimilar establishment, or for living of earnings ofprostitution as is in the case of a pimp.
Continue….. Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005: The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensivesystem of inheritance It is hailed for its consolidation of Hindu laws onsuccession into one Act. The Hindu womans limitedestate is abolished by the Act. Any propertypossessed by a Hindu female is to be held by herabsolute property and she is given full power to dealwith it and dispose it of by will as she likes. However, it was not until the 2004/2005 Amendmentthat daughters were allowed equal receipt of propertyas with sons. This invariably grants females propertyrights.
SPECIAL INITIATIVES FORWOMENNationalCommissionforWomen In January 1 9 9 2, the Go ve rnm e nt se t-up this statuto ry bo dy with a spe cific m andateto study and m o nito r all m atte rs re lating to the co nstitutio nal and le g al safe g uardspro vide d fo r wo m e n, re vie w the e xisting le g islatio n to sug g e st am e ndm e nts whe re ve rne ce ssary, e tc. The Complaints and Counseling Cell of the commission processes all the complaintswhether received orally, written or suo moto under Section 10 of the NCW Act. The complaints received relate to domestic violence, harassment, dowry, torture,desertion, bigamy, rape, refusal to register FIR, cruelty by husband, deprivation,gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work place.ReservationforWomeninLocalSelf -Government The 7 3rdCo nstitutio nal Am e ndm e nt Acts passe d in 1 9 9 2 by Parliam e nt e nsure o ne -third o f the to talse ats fo r wo m e n in alle le cte d o ffice s in lo calbo die s whe the r in ruralare as o r urban are as.TheNationalPlanof ActionfortheGirl Child(1991-2000) The plan o f Actio n is to e nsure survival, pro te ctio n and de ve lo pm e nt o f the g irl childwith the ultim ate o bje ctive o f building up a be tte r future fo r the g irlchild.
Continue……NationalPolicyfortheEmpowerment of Women, 2001 The De partm e nt o f Wo m e n & Child De ve lo pm e nt in the Ministry o f Hum an Re so urceDe ve lo pm e nt has pre pare d a “National PolicyfortheEmpowerment of Women”in theye ar 20 0 1 . The g o al o f this po licy is to bring abo ut the advance m e nt, de ve lo pm e ntand e m po we rm e nt o f wo m e n.NMEW The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) was launched by theGovernment of India with the aim to strengthen overall processes that promote all-round development of women It has the mandate to strengthen the inter-sector convergence; facilitate the processof coordinating all the women’s welfare and socio-economic developmentprogrammes across ministries and departments. The Mission aims to provide asingle window service for all programmes run by the Government for Women underaegis of various Central Ministries. The National Resource Centre for Women has been set up which functions as anational convergence centre for all schemes and programmes for women. It acts asa central repository of knowledge, information, research and data on all genderrelated issues and is the main body servicing the National and State MissionAuthority.
Continue……Delhi Legal Service Authority Delhi State Legal Services Authority has been constituted under the State LegalServices Authorities Act, 1987. The goal is to secure justice to the weaker sections of the society, particularly to thepoor, downtrodden, socially backward, women, children and handicapped etc. The Authority has constituted High Court Legal Services Committee at Delhi HighCourt, Legal Services Authority at Tis Hazari and its Sub-Offices at Patiala HouseCourts, Karkardooma Courts Complex and Rohini Courts Complex.GenderResource Centers Gender Resource Centres serve as first point of contact for the community. These structures have been set up by the government in partnership with the civilsociety organizations (CSOs) to reach out to people and take governmentprogrammes to communities. Besides assisting in availing entitlements, these centers work towards Social,Economic and Legal empowerment of women by interventions in the area of LegalRights, Economic initiatives-skill building, microenterprises and entrepreneurshipdevelopment and health. Under a well structured programme, the GRCs provide Non-Formal Education,Vocational Training , legal awareness and Skill Development, Health and Nutritionthrough camps and clinics and are also instilling virtues of thrift and micro credit
Basic Legal Rights1. Free Legal AidAlways be accompanied with lawyer when you go to file a complaint or FIR againstany mis-happening. Also, as per the Delhi High Court ruling whenever a rape isreported, the SHO should inform this to the Delhi Legal services Authority. The Legalbody then arranges a Lawyer for the rescue.2. Right to Privacy while recording StatementsIt is the duty of Police to keep the privacy of a woman intact and closed.3. Time doesn’t MatterFiling a FiR by rape victim or someone who is molested has no time boundary. Asnoted rape is a very severe thing that can happen with a woman and if she reportsabout it later, her appeal cannot be rejected on the duration of time as after theincident many are in shock or in danger of their family’s reputation or else otherreasons.4. Email to the RescueAs per the recent report by the Delhi police, if any victim cannot comes to the PoliceStation she can any how email or file a written complaint and post it to the HeadPolice officer5. Cops Can’t Say NOA victim can report a FIR in any police station under the Zero FIR ruling. As per theSupreme Court, if a police station refuses to lodge the FIR, a woman in that case canregister the same in any police station and then the Senior Officer will direct the SHOof the concerned area to take actions.
Continue……6. No Arrest afterSunsetA woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. All the dealings shouldbe done in the day time in presence of a woman constable.7. Cannot be called to the Police StationAny woman who has faced harassment cannot be called to the Police Station. Herstatement should be recorded at her residence in presence of a woman constableand her family. Under Section 160 of CPC, a woman cannot be called forinterrogation in Police Station. A woman should not be physically present in thepolice station.8. The Doctorcan’t decideA case of rape cannot be declined on the base of denial by a doctor. A full report hasto be given in case of a crime of rape happens. A rape victim should be examinedmedically as per the Section 164 A of Criminal Procedure Code(CrPC), and only thereport acts as a proof.9. Protect yourIdentityUnder no circumstances the name of the victim can be revealed. Neither the Policenor the media can publish or leak out the name. The identity remains intact and if theidentity is disclosed it is punishable as per the Section 228-A of the Indian PenalCode.10. Employers must protectIt is a necessity for every Employer to create a Sexual Harassment Complaint Cellwithin the organisation for the redressal of such complaints. It is as per the guidelinesof Supreme Court issued. It should be headed by a woman and should be 50% as
How to file FIR FIR or First Information Report is the information about commissionof an offence given to a police officer by the first informant. Itinitiates the criminal proceedings. To file an FIR, one has to go to the police station within thejurisdiction of which the cause of action arose or the offence tookplace. Every piece of information relating to the commission of offence isto be given to the officer in-charge of the police station. If it is givenorally to the officer, he shall reduce it to writing and read it over tothe informant to confirm and verify the details. Every such information has to be signed by the informant afterwhich it is required to be recorded by the officer in a bookmaintained for this purpose as prescribed by the State Government. The informant is entitled to receive a copy of the FIR free of cost. If the officer in-charge of the police station refuses to record theinformation, you can send the substance of such information, inwriting and by post to the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned.The SP is required to start the investigation himself or direct anyother officer subordinate to him to start the investigation. NOTE: When you file a FIR, be very specific. Don’t forget to take a copy of the FIR. One is not required by law to give an affidavit.
“We pledge to protect the dignity of women. We will nottake or give dowry, we will oppose any kind of violenceagainst women and we will not be silent spectators. Webelieve in the power of women and will work for ensuringgender equality. Women Power, Power to Women isWPC’s moto.”Thank you