Women Protection Laws: Implementation, Necessity and Rights Available

Authored by Harshita Saluja First year BBA LLB student

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

                                                                – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Implementation of Women protection laws[1]

Indian Constitution ensures Right to Equality (Art. 14), Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Art. 21) to every citizen irrespective of their gender.

Gender equality is one the most important Human Rights. It means women and men have the same opportunities. They have social and economic freedom, equal opportunities in decision making, choice of practicing an occupation of their own free will. Equality and Just treatment irrespective of gender are the fundamental principles which are adopted by Various World Leaders in 1945.[2]

Women empowerment is very important in growth of a nation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights assures Right to life, freedom from torture, equality before law, freedom to move freely, rights in matters of citizenship, rights in matter of political participation, right to work, right to education and many others.

Even after implementation of various laws there are a large number of women who face discrimination such as:

  • Unequal distribution of land, property and housing
  • Faces gender based violence
  • Denial from sexual and reproductive health rights
  • Not given equal opportunity at workplaces
  • Unequal remuneration packages

Only the government cannot be held responsible, society too should be blamed for various problems faced by women. There is an urgent need for finding out that only the way of enforcement of laws are a problem or the way of thinking of the society. If the way of thinking of the society is wrong then that has to be changed for making a better and safer place for the women to live in.

For ensuring Human Rights to women, a comprehensive study of social structure and power relations is required. Above all, negative gender stereotypes should be abolished. Society must see them as an individual who have their own needs and desires and have same rights as men to follow their dreams.     

Necessity of women Protection Laws[3]

The main reason for making these laws is the violence and sexual assault against women. For the purpose of protecting women, the government has made an effort and passed few legislations and charge the accused by giving high punishments. Violence against women affects the women of every caste, creed and nationality and also the society as people learn from the social environment they reside in. In western countries the laws were made as early in 1970s but in India this initiative was taken only when the court realized that there is an absence of laws in this regards.

Most of the women do not have access to fair justice. Illiteracy rates are still high and also there are many types of cultural barriers which the women have to face. For example, there are people who still think that women are made for doing domestic chores and are not allowed to go out for any other work.     

Rights & Remedies Available[4] [5]

The very basic right laid down in Constitution is gender equality. The Constitution not only provides women equality but also authorize the States to adopt measures for stopping discrimination. Indian Constitution in line with Human Rights Commission guarantees equal rights to women under Art. 14. Most important ratification given by India is “Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1993”.

  1. Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution empowers States for adopting measures of positive discrimination for neutralizing educational, socio-economic, and political disadvantages for women. Relevant provisions are as follows:

  • Art. 14 provides equality before law
  • Art 15 (i) No discrimination on the basis of religion, caste and place of birth
  • Art 15 (3) states that the State can make special provisions for women and children
  • Art 16 Equal opportunity to be provided to all employment or appointment matters in Government offices
  • Art. 39(a) states adequate means of livelihood should be provided to men & women equally.
  • Art. 39(d) states that both men & women to be paid equally
  • Art. 243 D(4) states that at least one third of the total number of offices of the chairpersons of the Panchayat  to be reserved for women
  • Art. 39A equal justice and free legal aid to be provided irrespective of gender and economic conditions
  • Legal Provisions

The state has passed different types of legislative measures for complying with the Constitution. Crimes against women can be classified in two major categories:

  •  The crimes distinguished under Indian Penal Code (IPC) are as under:
    • Rape ( Sec. 376 IPC )
    • Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes ( Sec 363-373)
    • Homicide for Dowry , Dowry Deaths ( Sec. 302/304 -B IPC)
    • Torture both mental and physical ( Sec. 498-A IPC )
    • Molestation ( Sec. 354IPC)
    • Sexual Harassment(Sec. 509 IPC)
    • Importation of girls ( up to 21 years of age)
  • The Crimes identified under special laws ( SLL )

Not all laws are gender specific, the provisions of law affecting women are reviewed on regular basis and amendments are made in regard to emerging requirements. Few acts which have special provisions for safeguarding women and their interests are as follows:

  1. The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  2. The Family Courts Act, 1954
  3. The Special Marriage Act, 1954
  4. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  5. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956( amended in 2005)
  6. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  7. The Medical termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  8. The Equal remuneration Act, 1976
  9. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  10. Commission of Sati ( Prevention ) Act, 1987
  11. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

Special Initiatives for Women

  1. Setting up of National Commission for Women ( January 1992)
  2. Reservation for Women in Local Self-Government ( 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act  passed in 1992)
  3. The National Plan of Action for the Girl Child( 1991-2000)
  4. National Policy for the Empowerment of Women ( 2001 )

Conclusion

No matter to what class or nation women belong to, they are still discriminated and referred to as weak beings. The society never lets females to work according to their own free will and hence this ultimately leads to their exploitation in work, in getting justice and a lot more things. But now this thinking of society needs to be changed. The government alone is not responsible for making this world a better place for women to live in but the society too should become a part of this change. The society should stand with women whenever she faces any kind of violence because the day society will voice out such concerns that day all the discrimination and violence would end.     


[1] Women’s Rights: Why are women’s rights important, https://politicalyouthnetwork.org/womens-rights-why-are-womens-rights-important/#_ftn2

[2] Michelle Bachelet, Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality, (Mar. 08,2021), https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WRGS/Pages/WRGSIndex.aspx

[3] Bheeni Goyal, Are protection laws for women effective in our country, https://blog.ipleaders.in/protection-laws-women-effective-country-analysis/amp/

[4] Women right’s – The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution, http://www.legalserviceindia.com/helpline/woman_rights.htm

[5] Important constitutional And Legal Provisions for Women in India, http://mospi.nic.in/sites/default/files/reports_and_publication/cso_social_statices_division/Constitutional&Legal_Rights.pdf

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