We hear people saying that India is not a safe place anymore and that offences and crimes against women have been rising rapidly. Where goddesses are worshipped while women (of any age) are raped, groped and harassed. The only way out to keep an eye on such horrific happenings is to make laws and rules stricter to keep a check on such shaming crimes, but also on the other hand these laws are also misused to cater evil motives.
Most people are unaware of their legal rights until they appoint a legal firm/advocate for their problems. Merely a handful of them would nod and say, ‘Yes, I know my legal rights’ and this handful people are from the genre of literate people. We endeavor to enlighten people on their general legal rights so that they are apprised that they are not misguided by the authorities. In this article, we have enlisted 5 basic legal rights that every woman should know.
- Entitlement to equal remuneration: Section 4 of the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 gives right to the women not to be discriminated against remuneration paid to men. No employer shall while making recruitment for the same work or work of a similar nature, make any discrimination in the amount to be paid to women against men.
- Right against sexual harassment: As per the Sexual Harassment Act 2013, it is now mandatory for every organization consisting of more than 10 employees to form an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC, is constituted under section 4 of Sexual Harassment Act 2013), wherein the complaints of Sexual Harassment can be filed, inquired and processed, for granting relief to the woman aggrieved. The sexual harassment act provides protection to women against sexual harassment at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith. If any organization is found being non compliant with the provisions of the act shall be punishable with a fine of Rs. 50,000 which shall extend up to 1 lack rupees and can even uphold cancellation of license of the organization, if found guilty of the same offence previously.
- Right to be arrested by a female police officer only and not to be arrested at night: We often see and experience that women are being threatened and are also being arrested by male police officials for crime they might be accused of, what people are unaware about is that women cannot be arrested by a male police officer. As per proviso of Section 46(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) “…….unless the police officer is a female, the police officer shall not touch the woman for making her arrest” therefore women should know that they cannot be arrested by a male police officer. Secondly, we also often see that women who are driving or leaving from someplace at night are being halted by the police at the barricades for checking purposes and also being arrested, if they have violated any law. What one should know is that as per Section 46 (4) of Code of Criminal Procedure “no women shall be arrested after sunset and before sunrise, except in exceptional circumstances, where the woman police officer shall make a written report, obtain the prior permission of the Judicial Magistrate of the first class within whose local jurisdiction the offense is committed or the arrest is to be made” Therefore, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset or before sunrise by a police personnel.
- 4 Right to inherent property (Hindu succession act): According to section 6 of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the daughter also has a right in the property of her parents as the sons have, unless there is a will by the parents which does not entitle her to the same and the property inherited is acquired by the parents on their own. The share of the daughter and the son is same and she also has a right to shelter in her parents house if she is deserted or divorced by her husband or is widowed. However, this statement varies from case to case whether the property is inherited or self-owned, lien over property, whether its joint family or not, etc. The basic rule which we want to convey is that women have the same and equal right, as their brothers have, in their parents’ property.
- Right to Anonymity for sexually harassed female: According to the section 16 of Sexual Harassment act Victims of who are sexually harassed have a right of confidentiality, the act states that the following details must not be known to the public, press or media in any manner:
- Identity, name and address of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witnesses
- Information pertaining to conciliation and inquiry proceedings
- Recommendations of ICC (or LCC)
- Action taken by the employer (or the district officer
- – By Advocate Kanishk Agarwal, Founder CriTaxCorp and IBAP