10 Legal Rights Every Indian Women Should Know

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By Harpreet Kaur, Student, University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University

  1. Right to Privacy while recording statement-

    Under section 164 of CrPC, a woman who has been raped can record her statement before District Magistrate when the case is under trial and no one else needs to be present. Alternatively, she can record the statement with only one police officer and woman constable in a convenient place that is no crowded and does not provide any possibility of the statement being overheard by the third person.
  2. Police can’t say no-

    A rape victim can register her complaint from any police station under Zero FIR ruling by the Supreme Court[1]. Sometimes, the police station under which the incident occurs refuses to register the victim’s complaint in order to keep clear of responsibility and tries sending the victim to another police station. In such cases, she has the right to lodge an FIR at any police station under the provision of Zero FIR[2].
  3. Search by another Women only-

    Under section 51(2) of CrPC, when an accused is a woman another woman should make search with strict regard to decency.
  4. Opportunity to come out of the house-
    Section 47(2) CrPC says, if the accused hides in the house of a female who according to custom does not appear in public, the police cannot enter the house or break the house open unless notice is given to such female to withdraw and give her reasonable facility to withdraw herself.
  5. Medical Examination by a female practitioner-

    Under section 53(2) CrPC, when a person to be examined medically is female, then the examination shall be made only by or under the supervision of female registered medical practitioner.
  6. Attendance cannot be required at any other place-

    Section 160 CrPCprotects women saying that no woman shall be required to attend any place other than a place in which she resides. Hence, a police officer cannot require the attendance of a woman, but on the contrary, he has to go to the place where she resides for making an investigation and can interrogate in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends.
  7. No arrests after sunset-

    Because to concerns of violation of the rights of women, section 46(4) provides that forbids the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise, except in exceptional circumstances, in which case the arrest can be done by a woman police officer after making a written report and obtaining a prior permission from the concerned Judicial Magistrate of First class.
  8. Time  does not matter in cases of rape or molestation. Police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the incident.
  9. Protection of identity-

    Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed. Section 228 of IPC makes the disclosure of the identity of a victim a punishable offence.
  1. Doctor’s Report is not a conclusive proof-
    rape
    A case of rape cannot be dismissed even if doctor says no rape had been committed. Report of the doctor can only act as a proof. The only state that can be made by the medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity. Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion and doctor cannot decide on this.

[1] In the case of Stavanger Kaur vs. State (Government of NCT Delhi),1999 Supp(3) SCR 348; The complainant had appealed in the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court, where the High Court had quashed the FIR filed at Delhi Police Station by the complainant.  The Supreme Court held that, Police can investigate the case, which does not fall under their jurisdiction.

[2] In Ramesh Kumari vs. Govt. of NCT Delhi on 21/2/2006, the Supreme Court held that a police officer is duty bound to register the case on the basis of such information disclosing a cognizable offence u/s 154(1) of the Cr.P.C.