• Ankur Mathur

    Women are often subjected to unequal and unfair treatment in their family and social life. Their rights are ignored and they are made to compromise at every stage in life, be it biased treatment from family since a very young age, early marriage or unequal pay at work. Not just this, in many cases, they are subjected to violence, harassment and other crimes at various places. Law has always tried to secure the rights of women by giving them substantive rights as well as procedural benefits but due to lack of knowledge of these laws, women do not avail these rights and remain remediless at the face of adversity.

    So here is a list of ten rights that every woman should know and should use in order to be safe, secure and independent.

    1. Women cannot be arrested at late hours and in the absence of a lady constable
      Crime against women by the police is not an unknown reality. To protect women from the corrupt protectors of justice during late hours, the law says that a woman cannot be arrested before sunrise and after sunset. There is an exception to this general rule according to which women may be arrested in these prohibited hours when the offence committed by her is of a very serious nature. But even in such cases, written permission of the magistrate must be obtained for immediate arrest. Moreover, the presence of a lady constable is a prerequisite for a woman’s arrest in every case.

      Also Read: Bombay High Court Judgment

       

    2. Property rights? Like daughters, like son 

      After the 2005 amendment of the Hindu Succession Act, daughters have the same right to inherit ancestral property as their brothers. After the amendment, the daughters may also become the “karta” of their father’s Hindu undivided family and manage their family property.

    3. Identity of rape survivors cannot be revealed
      The Indian society looks down upon rape survivors and makes their life living hell. Because of this stigma attached, women often choose not to complain about the offences committed against them. What they are not aware of in such cases is their right to remain anonymous. Under Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, revealing the identity of a rape victim is a punishable offence. Along with a right to remain anonymous, rape survivors also have the right to get their statement recorded in private before the magistrate or a police officer, without any third person being privy to it under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
    4. Fly high and achieve all your goals 

      The Equal Remuneration Act provides that a person cannot be discriminated on the basis of sex for payment of wages and other remuneration. This Act entitles women to all services to which men are entitled at the workplace.

    5. Free Legal help to women by the State 

      Under the Legal Services Authority Act, women are entitled to free legal aid i.e. they should be provided a lawyer by the State when needed. Moreover, when a victim of sexual assault makes a complaint unassisted by a lawyer, then it becomes the duty of the Station House Officer to report such a matter to the District Legal Service Authority so that appropriate services may be provided to such women.

    6. Do not let anybody mistreat you at work 

      Not just unequal treatment, women are sexually harassed at the workplace by their male counterparts. The law secures their rights at the workplace. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 necessitates the establishment of an Internal Complaints Committee at every workplace that employs more than 10 volunteers. It should be presided by a woman and one-half of its members must be women. On receiving a complaint, a proper inquiry must be made and completed by the committee within 90 days. An action is taken against the offender if a case is proven against him.

    7. Zero tolerance towards unsafe homes
      The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 shouts out the message of zero tolerance towards domestic violence. It protects women against domestic violence perpetuated at their home by their husbands or other relatives. Even women living under live-in relationships are covered under this Act. The Act also recognises the right of women to reside at their matrimonial home.

      Also Read: All You Need To Know About Live In Relationships In India

    8. You can file an FIR at any police station
      The concept of Zero FIR was introduced in India in the aftermath of the Delhi rape case. This beneficial concept serves the purpose of getting an FIR registered at any police station irrespective of its jurisdictional limits. It was observed that in many cases, police refused to register FIRs in heinous crimes citing lack of jurisdiction. If now, a police officer evades his responsibility on this basis, he will be subject to departmental as well as penal action.

       

    9. Do not hesitate to make a complaint against any sexual offence
      In cases of sexual offences, women are often unwilling to come forward and register complaints. The right to delayed registration grants women the right to file such complaints even after the considerable time elapse from the incident. No police officer can reject her complaint for reasons of being late.

       

    10. Nobody can force you to go the police station
      To prevent harassment of women, the CrPC provides that they cannot be called to the police station for interrogation. Interrogation must be done at their home, in presence of a lady constable and friends or family.

    Shoutout to all the women who are strong in the face of adversities! Know your rights and fight against all wrong that may be perpetuated against you! Let’s stand in unison and make a vow to make our society free from all evils against women.

    Author: Monisha Purwar

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