Here’s what you need to know about women’s rights in India.
The Right To Dignity And Decency
Criminal law provides for the punishment of offences committed against women such as sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking. If the accused is a woman, she is to be dealt with with decency – the arrest and search are to be made by a woman police officer, and the medical examination is to be carried out by a woman medical officer or under the supervision of a woman medical officer. Above all, women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise, except with special permission from a magistrate.
The Right To Equal Pay
The Equal Remuneration Act states that men and women are entitled to equal remuneration for the same work or that of a similar nature. Further, there should be no discrimination on the basis of gender in the context of recruitment and service conditions.
Rights At The Workplace
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 ensures the safety of women at workplaces. Employers are required to constitute an internal complaints committee at each office with 10 or more employees to address complaints in this regard. Apart from this, women have the right to have a ladies toilet at the workplace. At workplaces with over 30 female employees, it is also mandatory for employers to provide facilities for the care and feeding of children.
The Right Against Dowry
Giving and taking of dowry by a bride or bridegroom or by their parents at, before or after the marriage is penalised under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, with the exception of those to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies. Taking dowry is punishable with a minimum imprisonment of five years and a minimum fine of `15,000.
The Right To Maintenance
A married woman is entitled to get maintenance from her husband for basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothes, education, health care facilities, etc. As per Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, women are entitled to maintenance even after divorce, with a few exceptions like when both have separated by mutual consent, or if the wife lives in adultery or refuses to live with her husband without reasonable cause.
The Right Against Domestic Violence
By virtue of the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005, women are entitled to the right against domestic violence, which includes physical, mental, sexual and economic abuse. This Act also extends to daughters and live-in partners. Further, the Indian Penal code, under Sec 498A, provides protection to women subjected to domestic violence by punishing the husband or his relatives with up to three years’ imprisonment and fine.
The Right To Free Legal Aid
Women are entitled to free legal services from the legal services authorities constituted at the district, state and national level, and recognised under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Services include advising on legal matters
or assisting in legal proceedings.
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