Women tend to be an exploited section of our society since ages. Even in this 21st century, a very large section of women is victimized in the hands of men as well as women. And sad numbers of them prefer to remain mum as they don’t know their rights. But our government offers equivalence of status and opportunity to all of our women. These are the 10 legal provisions that every Indian woman should be aware of.
1. Provision of Zero FIR
Under this provision, an FIR can be filed at any police station irrespective of the jurisdiction where the incident took place. The FIR can be moved to the concerned police station once it is placed.
2. Protection from Sexual Harassment
Under this act, a woman who has been sexually harassed can place a written complaint to an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within the period of 3 months according to the Sexual Harassment Act. The complaint is then taken up to the Local Complaints Committee at a District Level. The investigation is carried out if the proper actions are not taken up by the employer. Any legal heir can also file the complaint on behalf of the victim.
3. Protection from Disclosure of Identity
To prevent the social torture of the victim who chose to file a complaint against the victimizer, there is a provision that says, “Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under Section 376, is found to have been committed, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.”
4. Right to Inheritance in Family Property
This is the much talked about the verdict of the year 2015. This stated the amendment of the Hindu Succession Act 2005. Under this amendment, now women are entitled to equal share in her parent’s belongings similar to the son. She can also take the role of ‘Karta’ in the property.
5. Maternity Benefits for Women & Working Environment
This provision was made as a part of article 42 of Indian Constitution where the state has to provide safe and humane working condition and maternity relief for the pregnant women.
6. Protection from Cruelty & Domestic Violence
The IPC under section 498 states that who so ever, regardless of him/her being the husband or any other close relative, subjects the women to cruelty, shall be punished with imprisonment for 3 years and also be liable to fine. The complaint made against the offender will also be non-bailable to ensure the women’s safety. The assault can be physical, emotional or sexual.
7. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act of 1986
According to this law, “the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman; her form or body or any part in such way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals” is a punishable offence.
8. Right to Virtual Complaints
If a woman is not able to go to the police station physically then she can file a complaint virtually via e-mail or post. The police are sent to the complaint’s place to record her statement.
9. Protection from being interrogated at Police Station
Under this law, “The police can interrogate a woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends”. It also states that a woman can’t be called to the police station for interrogation and she can’t be detained at night without legal permission.
10. Protection from Stalking
Stalking is considered under culpable offence under the Criminal Law Ordinance, 2013, section 354D of the IPC. Legal actions can be taken against the offender. Stalking is defined as follows by the laws, “To follow a woman and contact, or attempt to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or monitor the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.”