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    BlogLegal BlogsWomen Rights in India: Constitutional & Statutory Rights

    Women Rights in India: Constitutional & Statutory Rights

    Constitutional Women Rights:

    The rights and safeguards enshrined in the Indian constitution under Chapter III & IV for women in India are:-

    Article 15(1):-

    It guarantees ‘Right to equality’, that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen of India based on sex, caste, race, religion or place of birth.

    Article 15(3):-

    The state is empowered to make any special provision in favour of women. In other words, the constitution empowers the state to make affirmative discriminatory decisions in favour of women.

    Article 16(2):-

    The provision prohibits any discrimination against any Indian Citizen on the ground of given U/A 15(1) to be eligible for state employment.

    Article 23(1):-

    It prohibits the trafficking of human beings and forced labour within or outside India.

    Article 39(a):-

    The state to secure for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood.

    Article 39(d):-

    The state has to ensure equal pay for equal work for both Indian men and women.

    Article 39(e):-

    The state has to ensure that the health and strength of women workers are not exploited and that shouldn’t get forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their strength.

    Article 42:-

    The state shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and it have provision to provide maternity relief.

    Article 51-A(e):-

    It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

    Other Women Rights under the constitution:-

    Article 243-D(3):

    One-third (1/3) of the total number of seats shall be reserved for women and to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat.

    Article 243-D(4):-

    One-third (1/3) of the total number of Chairpersons’ Offices shall be reserved for women in the Panchayats at each level.

    Article 243-T(3):-

    One-third (1/3) of the total number of seats shall be reserved for women and to be filled by direct election in every Municipality.

    Article 243-T(4):-

    The offices of chairpersons shall be reserved for women in the Municipalities in such manner as the provided by State Legislature.

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    Rights of Women provided in Statutes:

    Women rights under various legislation and statutes:

    Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, (2005) (came into force in Oct 2006):-

    It covers all those women who have been/are in a relationship with the abuser, either a wife, a female live-in partner or a woman living in the household like a mother or a sister of domestic violence by husband, male live-in partner or relatives.  It covers the violence of any kind like physical, sexual, mental, verbal or emotional.

    The offence under section 498 A I.P.C., 1860:-

    It also the same provision that’s of Domestic Violence Act and is a Non-Bailable Offence with punishment which may extend to 3 years and shall also be liable with fine. Also, IPC contains provisions to protect Indian women rights that are from dowry death, rape, kidnapping, cruelty and other offences.

    Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956:-

    It is the primary statute for the prevention of trafficking of humans for commercial sexual exploitation. In other words, it prevents trafficking in women and girls for prostitution as a means of living.

    National Commission for Women Act,1990:-

    It establishes the National Commission for Women, in 1990 to study a18nd monitor all matters violating the constitutional and legal rights of women and to safeguard them.

    Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013:-

    It protects women from sexual harassment at all workplaces both in private & public sector, whether organised or unorganized. Under the provision, women can file a written complaint to an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at the district level, and also any other person is either her legal heir or who has written permission for such can also file such a complaint on that woman’s behalf.

    Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986:-

    The Act prohibits the indecent representation of women by the means of advertisements or in any manner by publications, writings, paintings & figures.

    Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987:-

    It provides for the more effective prevention of social mal-practice & women rights like on the issue of Sati and also prevents its glorification on women.

    Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961:-

    It is the major statute that prohibits the giving or taking of dowry at or before or any time after the marriage from women and his family.

    Maternity Benefit Act, 1961:-

    The Act has provision for maternity benefit & regulates the employment of women in some areas for some period before and after child-b8rth and certain other benefits to ensure women rights.

    Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971:-

    The statute provides for the termination of certain unwanted and harmful pregnancies by registered medical practitioners on humanitarian and medical grounds.

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    Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994:-

    It is also called Prohibition of Sex Selection Act, as per the act, sex selection before or after conception is prohibited and prevents the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination leading to female foeticide.

    Equal Remuneration Act (1976):-

    Payment of equal remuneration to both men and women workers for the same work is provided. It also prevents discrimination on the basis of sex, against women in recruitment and service conditions.

    Code of Criminal Procedure (1973):-

    It contains certain safeguards for women rights like the obligation of a person to maintain his wife i.e. 125 Cr.P.C. that gives the liability of maintaining a criminal shape and the addition of arrest of a woman by female police.

    Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act (1939):-

    It grants a Muslim wife the right to seek the dissolution of her marriage, also banning of Triple Talaq in 2019.

    Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act (1986):-

    It was a controversial and landmark legislation that protects Muslim women rights, who have been divorced by or have obtained a divorce from their husbands.

    Minimum Wages Act (1948):- 

    As per Article 39(e), this act doesn’t allow discrimination between male and female workers or different minimum wages for them.

    Mines Act (1952) and Factories Act (1948):-

    It prohibits the employment of women for their safety and welfare between 7 P.M. to 6 A.M. in mines and factories.

    Indian Christian Marriage Act (1872):-

     It has provisions relating to marriage and divorce among the Christian community.

    Legal Services Authorities Act (1987):-

    As per Constitution too U/A 39A provides for free legal services to Indian women and is eligible to apply for free legal aid under Section 12(c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

    Hindu Marriage Act (1955):-

    The monogamy and allowed divorce on certain specified grounds provide relief to many women. It provided equal rights to an Indian man and woman marriage and divorce.

    Hindu Succession Act (1956):-

    It recognizes the women rights to inherit parental property equally with men. The changes in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, made on 9 September 2005 and Section 6 of the Act was amended.

    Several other legislation for women:

    • Employees’ State Insurance Act (1948)
    • Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956)
    • Plantation Labour Act (1951)
    • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act (1976)
    • Indian Succession Act (1925)
    • Indian Divorce Act (1869)
    • Special Marriage Act (1954)
    • Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act (1936)
    • Foreign Marriage Act (1969)
    • Legal Practitioners (Women) Act (1923)
    • Indian Evidence Act (1872)

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