Indian Constitution protects women’s rights and privileges in all aspects to achieve their dream. Women’s Rights include the right to equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination. Their human rights include the right to life and liberty, equal treatment, and free from violence. Human Rights Law, recognizes women’s protection and obliges that all States must respect the dignity and modesty of women.
Right to live With Dignity and Respect
A wife has the legal authority to live with proper dignity and self-respect with her relatives. She also has to lead her life in her own way. This legal right provides married women absolute independence after marriage. Law helps and protects every woman to achieve their goals.
Right to Equality
The Indian Constitution says that all are equal before law irrespective of their age, gender, place of birth, race or religion, etc., (Article 14).
As per this Article, nobody can prevent the Government from making any special privileges for women and children. For example, a special seating arrangement for women in public transportation is constitutional. (I.e. valid before law)
‘Right to equality is a fundamental right to every woman’. It guarantees the right to equality before the law. There will be no discrimination based on their class. No prohibition on the reservation of seats in education and public employment.
Right to Property
Article 300A guarantees the right to property as a constitutional right. No person shall be deprived of his property right saved by the authority of law.
Indian Succession Act,1925 guarantees women to inherit ancestral property like sons born in that family but the Hindu Law of Succession Act,1956 excluded married women from succession to ancestral property who got married before 1987.
Right of Women in the Workplace
Article 14(2), 19(1) (g), 21(4) of Constitution of India says that every profession, trade or occupation should provide a safe working environment to the employees. It ensures the right to life and the right to live a dignified life. Proper working conditions include ensuring the health, safety, welfare, proper working hours, leave and other benefits include maternity benefits.
Equal pay for Equal Work
Article 39 says that employers must pay male and female employees equally for the same position.
It means an uninvited/unwelcomed sexual favor or gesture from one gender towards another gender. It makes the person feel humiliated, offended, and insulted to whom it is been done. Sexual Harassment is also termed as eve-teasing in India. It violates the fundamental right of women. It also violated the fundamental right to life and to live a dignified life under Article 21.
Sexual Harassment shall be avoided and equality between the genders shall be established at the workplace. It also hinders the mental and physical health of women. Penalties shall be charged for conducting sexual harassment. In private companies, strict rules shall be included. In case of, any harassment conducted by the outsiders, the institution must take strict actions against the accused persons.
Section 509 of Indian Penal Code,1860, protects any women from whoever intending to insult the modesty of women, utter any word, makes any sound or gesture, intrude upon the privacy of such women shall be punished with 1-year imprisonment or with fine or with both.
Right against Arrest
As per Section 56 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 exempted women from arrest or detention in the execution of a decree for money.
Section 46(4) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, provides ‘no woman shall be arrested after sunset and before sunrise’. The women can be arrested only in the presence of a female police officer if it is mandatory.
No women can be arrested in civil matters.
Abortion As a Human Right
A woman’s individual right to safeguard her life, liberty, and happiness that sanction her right to have an abortion. A woman has a right to abortion, if the continuance of the pregnancy could involve risk to the life of the pregnant women or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant women, in such circumstances termination can be necessary.
In India under Section 3 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971, the termination of pregnancy is allowed up to 12weeks to 20weeks with the consent of registered medical practitioners in case of any risk to the women or unborn child.
Protection From Sexual Offences
Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012 is a comprehensive law to provides protection of children from the offenses of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process through special courts. This Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offense with life imprisonment and fine.
It is a legal duty of the person who has knowledge that the child has been sexually abused, has to report the offense to the particular officer, if he fails to do so he may be punished with 6 years of imprisonment or fine. The child victims and their parents should be treated by experts like judges, prosecutors, or police officials who must be the trained person to handle the child victim.
Domestic Violence Act, 2005
Domestic Violence means any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent makes any injury or harm or endangers the health, safety, life or well-being whether physical or mental of the aggrieved person tends to do so or includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and economical abuse as well.
Any person harasses or endangers or coerces the aggrieved person to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security shall be punished under the Act.
Women are considered to be the weaker section of the society. But we (women) definitely are not! Such laws and rights help us to protect and uplift our lives in society.
The above article discussed the brief part of the special laws for women. In the following episodes, we will see the detailed version of the laws.
Advocate, Law Faculty and Legal Counseller.