Women Protection and Changing Laws
In Indian society, woman occupies a vital position and venerable place. The Vedas glorified women as the mother, the creator, and one who gives life and worshipped her as Devi or Goddess. Women in India, today, are becoming the most vulnerable section as far as their safety and security is concerned. Violence against women can fit into several broad categories. Some of them are rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, female infanticide etc.
Our country must have the largest number of laws, ostensibly for the benefit of women. The Constitution and the different Acts passed by the Union Governments and the states give special protection to women, aware of their weak position. In spite of all these pieces of legislation loaded in favour of women, their condition is improving only at a snail’s pace.
The Constitution of India guarantees the right to equality to women. It embodies the general principles of equality before law and prohibits unreasonable discrimination between persons. Article 14 embodies the idea of equality expressed in preamble .Thus, in Air India v. Nargesh Meerza the Supreme Court struck down the offending regulations of Air India and Indian Airlines that provided than an airhostess would retire on attaining the age of 35 years, or on the first pregnancy, whichever was earlier.
While article 15(1) prohibits the state from discriminating on the basis of religion, race, case, sex, or place of birth, art 15(3) allows the state to make special provisions for women and children. . Art 15 merely elaborates that same concept and acknowledges that women need special treatment for their up liftmen.
Article 16 provides equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. In C. B. Muthamma v. Union of India the Supreme Court held that a provision of the service rules requiring a female employee to obtain permission to obtain permission of the government in writing before getting married and denying her the right to be promoted on the ground of her being married was discriminatory.
Art 39 (a) Urges the state to provide equal right to adequate means of livelihood to men and women.
Art .39 (d) Equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
In the case of Randhir Singh v. Union of India AIR 1982, SC held that equal pay for equal work is a constitutional goal and is capable of being enforced.
In pursuance of Art.42 of the Constitution, the Maternity Benefit Act has been passed in 1961.Art.44 enjoins the state to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.
51 A (e) says that it is the duty of the citizens to renounce practices that are derogatory to the dignity of women.
Besides these constitutional provisions, there are several laws meant for the protection and benefit of women.
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
The purpose of this Act is to prevent the giving or taking of dowry. It not only penalizes this act but also makes the act of demanding dowry an offence.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
This Act provides for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 with amendment in 2005
This Act provided for equal inheritance rights to women for the first time. It abolished the concept of limited estate of women.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
Domestic Violence Act meant to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act 1987
Its object is to prevent the practice of Sati and the glorification of such an act. An attempt to commit Sati is also punishable under certain circumstances.
Indian women have had an extremely difficult time developing under the oppression of a male-dominated society, class and religion .But now it’s the time to break silence. Women are entitled to respect. If every parent taught his or her son to respect women and treat them with dignity, a day would have come when they would not fear for the safety of their daughter. That would be a real education. Of course, there is a need to change our mindset and the patriarchal views that have engulfed Indian mindsets since ages.