Know your Legal Rights

Several laws give women the power to fight adversities such as discrimination, harassment, violence and abuse.

Women rights can be broadly classified into two categories — constitutional rights and legal rights. Those guaranteed by the Constitution include Right to Equality, no discrimination in employment on the ground of sex, to secure adequate means of livelihood, equal pay for equal work, securing just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief etc. On the other hand, legal rights are available to women in the form of prevailing law or enactments in the country.

Here some of the legal rights provided to the women:-

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act: A comprehensive legislation is essential to protect Indian women from different types of domestic violence. It ensures protection for women who are in a relationship and are subjected to constant physical, mental, sexual, verbal and emotional violence.

Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act: It helps in protecting women from trafficking for prostitution as an organised means of living.

Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act: It prevents improper representation of women via any advertisement or in publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner.

Dowry Prohibition Act: It prohibits the giving or taking of dowry at or before or any time after the marriage from women.

Maternity Benefit Act: This ensures that women working in establishments for decided time (both before and after childbirth) are entitled to maternity and other benefits.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act: This allows the termination of certain cases of pregnancies by registered doctors on humanitarian and medical grounds.

Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act: This will prevent sex selection before or after a woman conceives. This will reduce unwanted and illegal abortions in the country.

Equal Remuneration Act: This ensures payment of equal remuneration to both men and women workers for the same work or work of a similar nature. In the context of recruitment and service conditions, there will be no discrimination based on gender.

Family Courts Act: It provides for the establishment of Family Courts for speedy settlement of family disputes.

Legal Services Authorities Act: This provides for free legal services to Indian women.

Hindu Marriage Act: This has been instrumental in introducing monogamy and allowed divorce on certain specified grounds. This law has helped in bringing Indian man and woman on the same platform in terms of marriage and divorce.

Hindu Succession Act: This recognises the right of women to inherit parental property equally with men.

Minimum Wages Act:  This does not allow discrimination between male and female workers or different minimum wages for them.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act: This will make provisions that there is no sexual harassment against women at workplaces both in the public and private sector.

Women have right not to be arrested at night

Unless there is an exceptional case on the orders of a first-class magistrate, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise.

Women have the right to register virtual complaints

The law gives women the provision for filing virtual complaints via e-mail, or writing her complaint and sending it to a police station from a registered postal address.

Further, the SHO sends a police constable to her place to record her complaint.

This is in case a woman is not in a position to physically go to a police station and file a complaint.

Women have the right against being stalked

Section 354D of the IPC makes way for legal action to be taken against an offender if he/she follows a woman, tries to contact her to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest; or monitor the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.

Women have a right to Zero FIR

An FIR that can be filed at any police station irrespective of the location where the incident occurred or a specific jurisdiction it comes under, the Zero FIR can later be moved to the Police Station in whose jurisdiction the case falls under.

This ruling was passed by the Supreme Court to save the victim’s time and prevent an offender from getting away scot-free.

As quoted “Real change, enduring change happens one step at a time.”

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