Pursuing, 2009 - 2014, BBA LLB (H), MATS Law School,
MATS University, Raipur - Chhattisgarh
Pursuing, 2010 - 2011, Diploma in Cyber Laws (Distance),
Government Law College, Mumbai.
The Eve Teasing Malaise
What: Eve teasing is defined as an attitude, a mindset or even behaviour that can be interpreted as an act of humiliation of the female sex.
Need to Know:
Under Section 298 A and Section 298 B of the Indian Penal Code, a man who is found guilty of making a female the target of obscene gestures, remarks, songs or recitation, can be imprisoned for a period of three months.
Under Section 292, if a man shows pornographic or obscene pictures, books or slips to a female, he will be fined a sum of Rs.2000 with two years of rigorous imprisonment, if the offence has been committed for the first time. In the event of a repeated offence, the guilty will be fined with Rs.5000 and spend five years in prison.
Section 354 imposes a two-year imprisonment with a fine when a person is found guilty of assault or using criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
Section 509 punishes the “intent to insult the modesty of any woman by use of words, sounds, gestures, or the exhibition of any object in such a way as to intrude upon the privacy of a woman” with a fine and one year in prison.
What: Gifts in cash and kind given the parents of the bride are considered as stree-dhan, property of the bride. This has been twisted down the years often by the greedy in laws to virtually extort money out of the woman's family.
Need to know:
The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, "as consideration for the marriage". where "dowry" is a 'gift' asked for or stated as a vital pre-requisite for solemnising a marriage. Gifts that are given without any strings attached as 'pre conditions' are legally not viewed as dowry. An offender, who asks for, gives or accepts dowry can be fined and imprisoned for six months.
Section 498 A added to the Indian Penal Code in 1983 maintains that the offender -- be it the husband or his relative -- the shall be imprisoned for three years and shall also be liable to fine. An arrest without investigation or warrant can be made, based on the complaint of the woman.
The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act 2006 defines domestic abuse as marital rape, emotional abuse and harassment for money. It assures the wife of financial assets
What you need to know:
Definition of Domestic Violence (as per this Act):
1) For the purposes of this Act, any conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence if he, — (a) habitually assaults or makes the life of the aggrieved person miserable by cruelty of conduct even if such conduct does not amount to physical ill-treatment; or (b) forces the aggrieved person to lead an immoral life; or (c) otherwise injures or harms the aggrieved person. (2) Nothing contained in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall amount to domestic violence if the pursuit of course of conduct by the respondent was reasonable for his own protection or for the protection of his or another’s property.
2) Basically this legislation is expected to empower women as wives, mothers, mothers-in-law, sisters, daughters and even adopted daughters with protection against physical, verbal and sexual abuse and with the right to shelter and economic freedom. This civil law attempts to give a woman the right of residence, maintenance and protection. It prevents the abuser from entering a work area or any other place frequented by the abused, attempting to communicate with the abused, isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence to the abused, her relatives and others who provide her assistance from the domestic violence. What it covers:
• Domestic violence including acts of abuse, threats of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic. Harassment intended to realise unlawful dowry demands from the woman or her relatives.
• What is yet to happen:
• Budgetary allocation by the Government towards appointing protection officers and NGOs to help in the actual monitoring and realisation of this law. To aid women with respect to guidance for proper legal help, shelter and medical examination. Whether a sound implementation of the law happens or not, needs to be seen.
Stemming from the acute need to curtail female infanticide, the Indian Parliament finally enacted the PNDT Act (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act. In light of the new fertility technologies that help in sex selection even before conception, the law was amended in 2003. This Act prohibits sex selection, before and after conception, states that techniques like amniocentesis and ultrasonography can only be conducted at a place registered for the purpose and by the qualified person, registered for this purpose. It covers prevention of misuse of such techniques for sex selection before of after conception, prohibition of advertisement of any technique for sex selection as well as sex determination, prohibition on sale of ultrasound machines to persons not registered under this Act and punishment for violations of the Act.
Indian women have the right to abort if continuing the pregnancy poses risk to the life of the woman or grievous injury to her mental and physical health, substantial risk to the health of the child if born, if the pregnancy is caused by rape, if the pregnancy is a result of failure of any contraceptive device in the case of married women only. Sex-selection in nowhere endorsed as a valid reason to terminate a pregnancy.
Prevention Of Sexual Harassment at the Work Place
# Women have the following fundamental rights under constitution:
- Right to Gender equality Right against discrimination on grounds of sex
- Right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business
- Right to Life and Liberty
# They must be taken care of in work places.
# Do remember that the Constitution of India requires the State to make provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. Provide for the same in the work places for the working women.
# Fundamental rights of women are enforceable under Article 32 of the Constitution and attract legal action.
# Special provisions made for women are made within the ambit of the Constitution of India.
# As per Section 66 of the Factories Act, no woman shall be required or allowed to work in any factory except between the hours of 6.00 A.M. and 7 P.M.
*Article 51A(e) of the Constitution. The Hon'ble Supreme Court passed judgement in the case of Vishaka and Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 3012, wherein 'sexual harassment' has been defined as under:
"Sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour whether directly or by implication, as:
a) Physical contact and advances;
b) demand or request for sexual favours;
c) sexually coloured remarks;
d) showing pornography;
e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature."
Factories Act, 1948
The Act has the following provisions of interest to women (see ss.19 22(2), 27, 42(1)(b), 48, 66, 79(1) and 114.):
a. The Act prohibits women from being employed in cleaning, lubricating or adjusting certain machinery when it is in motion, if that would expose them to risk of injury. Women are also not allowed to work in the part of a factory where a cotton-opener is at work unless certain conditions are met.
b. Suitable sanitation facilities must be provided.
c. If more than 30 women are employed, the employer must provide a free crèche on the premises for children less than six years of age. State governments may make rules governing these crèches, which may include requirements to provide clothes washing, and changing facilities, child-feeding facilities and free milk and refreshments for the children.
d. Women cannot be exempted from the requirement that the maximum working day for adults is 9 hours, and cannot work in factories between the hours of 6am and 7 pm (unless the factory falls within a specific exemption, but in any case, not between the hours or 10 pm and 5 am.). In relation to women, there must not be a change of shifts except after a weekly or other holiday. However, note that State governments can change these requirements in the fish curing and canning industries.
e. Periods of absence on maternity leave are included in calculating periods of service for the purposes of annual leave.
According to the maternity benefits act, 1961, the maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be 12 weeks in all whether taken before or after childbirth. However she cannot take more than six weeks before her expected delivery.
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