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Know Your Rights: Laws That Help And Protect Women

In India, every minute and every second, a woman is made a victim of some heinous crime. The graph depicting crimes against women has seen a sharp rise recently. Therefore, it becomes a key factor for every woman to know some techniques for self-protection and some rules and laws as per the Indian Penal Code which has constituted various laws and amended them from time to time to protect women and get the assaulters punished.

Here are some very few but important and very apt laws that have been formed for the benefit of women.

Prohibition Of Child Marriage Act, 2006 

This act was established in 2006 but came into effect from 2007. Under this law, any girl below the age of 18 cannot be married off to by her parents or family. This law indirectly tells you that it is the fundamental right of every child to receive basic education, no matter what caste or creed or economic status she/he belongs to. It is only after some basic education and knowledge that a girl/boy become capable enough to understand some of their needs and priorities and hence, child marriage needs to be stopped at any cost. This is one the worst traditions that has been imposed on India (especially rural India) and till date has been continuing ruining the lives of innumerable girls.

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

In the 21st century too, the family of the groom demands cash or kind from the bride and her family. This paying of cash or kind is called Dowry. Once again, this is another evil culture that has been passed down to us for ages. But the Indian Penal Code has made receiving and giving of dowry both a crime. If you surf the internet or go through the newspapers, it is almost every day that a bride is burnt alive or is physically / mentally / verbally abused and tortured if she objects to meet their demands of dowry.

Indian Divorce Act, 1969

The Indian Divorce Act of 1969 gives a wife the right to file for divorce in case she is being physically / mentally / verbally abused by her husband and in-laws or she can also file for divorce on the grounds of infidelity and the like. The divorce can also be filed mutually and for the purpose of divorce and separation matters, Family Courts have been established which are supposed to look after such cases, abiding by the laws.

Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005

This law became effective since 26 October 2006 and gives a woman the right to file a complaint against her abusers. Section 3 of the Act defines Domestic Violence as violating a woman’s self-respect by physically / mentally / verbally abusing her, torturing a bride for dowry and other punishable crimes done for the sake of another crime (for example – bride being burnt alive by her in-laws when she or her family did not accept to meet the unreasonable dowry demands of the groom and his family).

Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

This law has been constituted to do away with the gender discrimination that is so eminent in Indian society. It gives a woman qualified and competent similarly as her male counterpart to receive the same or equal remuneration as a man would receive.

Laws For Eve Teasers

Under sections 294 and 509 of Indian Penal code (IPC), outraging the modesty of a woman, passing of lewd comments and the likes are like able to be filed under the case of eve-teasing and the offenders are sentenced to a certain period of imprisonment (sometimes, depending on their past criminal records) or a hefty penalty.

Police Procedure

There are some other rules and laws also that help to protect women from the anti-social elements in the society. One of the most basic rule states that any woman cannot be arrested in the absence of a lady police officer, and not between 6 pm – 6 am, without special permission from the magistrate. All police stations must have lady officers of rank not below that of Head Constable in their stations to help women in case of need.

As a human being, as a part of the society, it is the duty of each and every individual to protect women against anti-social elements and the age-old traditions that are nothing but in a way the most important reason for the creation of such elements.

Pandit Nehru had once said “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”. 
But, on seeing the steep rise in the crimes graphics, one would certainly wonder, “Is India really a developing country?”

Protecting the women in our society will only make our country develop in all aspects, economically, spiritually and mentally. Hence, please do your duty and protect the women.

Written by
Ruchika Mertia

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