A number of crimes go unnoticed and unreported because women are not aware of their rights. To fight against the increasing number of crimes, it is imperative to be thorough with your legal rights. The Indian constitution provides several rights to women. Here’s a list of rights every girl and woman should be aware of.
Maternity Benefits Act (2017)
The recently amended Maternity Benefits Amendment Act 2017, protects the interests of working women during their pregnancy. According to this act, every employer has to grant some special facilities to every female employee during the tenure of her pregnancy. These special benefits include Paid Maternity Leave (from 12 to 26 weeks), Work from Home Opportunity (with normal pay benefits) and also Crèche facilities at the workplace. This act gives more advantages to women for balancing their work and family life.
However, the act did receive backlash from people. According to industry experts, employers will now be less keen to hire female staff, thus resulting in lower job opportunities for them.
Sexual Harassment has been a growing problem in the recent times. Sexual Harassment includes, physical contact and advances, or a demand or request for sexual favours, or making sexually coloured remarks, or showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal, non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. Whether it is done by a male boss or by a colleague, you can approach the police and lodge a complaint.
All organizations are required to have an Internal Complaint Committee, which should look into any such complaints.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (2005)
This law primarily provides protection to any female partner (whether wife or a women live-in partner) in a relationship from violence caused by the male partner. As such the female can lodge a complaint against her partner or the members of the family for causing physical, mental, emotional or psychological harm that may cause a threat to life and peaceful existence. This law, after the amendments also extended such rights to widowed women, sisters and divorced women.
Hindu Succession Act (2005)
This act gives the right to all Hindu Women to have complete control and power over the ancestral property. The amendments in 2005 further made property distribution rights between the male and the female child of the family. As such daughters have equal rights to her father’s property even after she is married.
The Prohibition Of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Child Marriage has been a long going custom in our country. This law protects children of both the genders from the troubles caused due to early marriage. However, in most of the cases that come out in the open, small girls are married off to a man elder to them. As such, it is important to know that the legal age for a girl to be married is 18 years, whereas for the boy it is 21 years of age. The parents who forcefully get their children married before they reach the determined ages are subject to punishments under this law.
Though the Indian Penal Code does not use or define Street Harassment/Eve Teasing in its books, it surely does protect you from the harms. In simple terms it can be defined as the act of harassing or annoying a woman in public, for instance, making derogatory remarks at her. Sections 294 and 509 of the IPC protects women from such situations and prohibits an individual or group of people to pass any offensive/insulting comment or gesture towards a female of any age.
Just like child marriage, dowry is also an age-old tradition in Indian Culture. Brides and their families are tortured to pay the maximum amount of money if they want the marriage to last. The Indian law penalizes any act of such give and takes the relationship between the families.
Know what authority the Cops have on You
- As per Court Orders, every police station must have a lady police officer (not below the position of a Head Constable) round the clock.
- A female cannot be arrested by a male police officer, in the absence of a lady constable.
- A female cannot be arrested before sunrise and after sunset.
- The police can investigate a woman only at her residence.
- A rape survivor can record her statements at the place of her choice, and the medical procedure of a rape survivor is only to be conducted by a government hospital. All women are entitled to avail free legal aid.
SheThePeople.TV spoke to Mayank Sharma about the changes that should be made in the existing laws to empower women. He said, “The laws are perfectly designed to protect, safeguard and empower the women of the country. They do not require any change, but their enforcement does. What our society lacks is a proper civic sense and proper enforcement of the laws. Once this is done, there certainly will be a change.”
Remember, not raising voice against injustice is also an injustice. Committing a Crime is wrong, but keeping mum about it is far more wrong.
Megha Thadani is an intern with SheThePeople.TV
Picture Credit: qnet-india.in
We request you to support our award-winning journalism by making a financial contribution towards our efforts. Your funds will ensure we can continue to bring you amazing stories of women, and the impact they are making and spotlight half the country's population because they deserve it.