THE RECTITUDE IN INDIA REGARDING THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
In a country like India, with a history of patriarchy, women need to know their rights given by the constitution and other laws of India. His research paper consists of the rights given to women under the minimum wages Act, rights of women under Mines Act and finally speaks about the indecent representation of women and how it can tackle the existing issues.
WOMEN'S RIGHT UNDER MINIMUM WAGES ACT
Women of our country have been discriminated against in various natures. One of the issues is not being paid with minimum wages for the kind of work they do, there was an emergent need to provide women with more protection regarding the matters of employment and their daily wages. India was one of the first developing countries to introduce a law which governed the minimum wages for all the sectors.
This law of Minimum Wages Act, 1948 has been primarily designed so the women can be protected so when they work in unorganized sectors, the law makes sure they are given with appropriate amounts of wages and aren't taken advantage of.
The wages that are paid below the minimum wages is a form of discrimination of gender in workplace and the employers were not making the payments in definite forms, and these unfair practices have been pertaining for a long time now. In order to declare a minimum wage which has to be payable in formal and informal sectors, the government of India introduced a statute, The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, which was to safeguard the interests of workers, so they can get a fixed amount of minimum wage. This was mainly focused on the unorganized sector. This law made sure that payments will be made without any discrimination of gender.
MINIMUM WAGES ACT 1948 FOR WOMEN:
Women ought to get her wages because according to the Act, every person who works must be paid for their works, also they will be given with one paid leave each month;
The law makes sure that women will be paid the same as the man will be paid in form of wages, so the discrimination will be curbed;
Even if women agree to work on less wages than prescribed to them under the law, the contractor is bound to pay the minimum wages as required.
Number of hours and overtime: this Act enforces the overtime payment for working for longer hours or it can be on a holiday, their wages will be increased accordingly, and an employer is not allowed to cut the wages down if the employer has worked lesser hours or if the employer failed to assign adequate work.
In 2011, Oct, the minimum wage nationwide was increased from Rs.125 to Rs.144/-, some of the states have fixed higher wages than that's fixed by the government so it can encourage women and men to work harder.
REMEDIES FOR WOMEN UNDER THE MINIMUM WAGES ACT 1948:
If the employer isn't paying the minimum amount of wage, women can complain to the inspector of labor department in their district;
The contractor of the labor work cannot make a woman work more than 9 hours in a day, if they do so, the contractor can be reported.
And if they are discriminated against in any way, they can approach the nearest labor department and file a complaint for the same, the officers will take the issue in their own hands.
We can conclude that due to huge illiteracy issues, exploitation of women is higher in the organized sectors, and they lack the power to bargain, wherein the minimum rate of wage for the labor they do will not be given. So, the government has fixed under the Minimum Wages Act, where the scheduled employees are under the provision of the law. Indisputable, India is striving in the act of empowerment for women, but the journey has been long and still going, the minimum wages act is one of the steps which will decrease the discrimination of women among the employment and wages.
RIGHTS OF WOMEN UNDER MINES ACT
Mining has been an integral industry of our country for a long time. Statistically 80% of mining produced is being used by many public and private sector companies, so it was necessary to have a law in order to curb illegal and haphazard that happened in the depth of mines. In 1952, the central government of India promulgated a statue known as The Mines Act. It was basically enacted to enforce the welfare for the labors, enforce measures of safety of every person who worked in a mine. This Act has special rules mainly made for women only in order to keep their safety in check. Women have been given the right to work in the mining grounds only after the contractor of the mining grounds shall have a written consent from the working woman that she is willing to work in the mining ground or quarry, and she shall be provided with facilities and the safety measures will take while she is on duty in the mines.
Currently the kind of employment that women have in the world of mining is:
4% of the entire labor force comprises women only in the mining sector of India. Most of these women entered the world of mining due to child labor caused by poverty, indebtedness, family pressure, or any kind of conventional compulsions. Also, in some of the quarrying/mining communities, groups of women have been working with their families for a very long time now. Out of 4% of women in the mining business, only 1% of these women have permanent/formal employment agreements from the mining companies, rest 3% of women have been working in the unorganized sectors or mining on illegal grounds. This happens because the privatization and mechanization of the companies have led women to take up mining jobs for menial pay so they can get through their daily life needs with these wages. And the numbers of women working in the mining areas have been increasing by the day. And most of these women lack the skills of technical mining and have no education, and they get involved in hazardous mining work without having the proper care for their health. With the survey conducted, most women are found working in small quarries, small scale mines, and contractual work in mines of a large-scale industries, and mostly many of these don't even know who their contractor is, and they don't know if they are working legitimately or illegitimately. Some of the mine let women work in night shift but as per the Mines Act of 1952, women are not permitted to work underground in the mines after 7 PM.
The mines act of 1952, says that women cannot be employed in any part of a mine which is below or above the ground, they can only be employed during the hours of 6 AM and 7 PM, and they can work only above the ground. Every woman employee who works any kind of mines or quarry, they must be granted an interval of eleven hours or more after the job, in order to have smooth working on the mining grounds.
The recent amendments have changed the lives of women in the mining areas immensely. The central government of India has also made it clear that the mines must maintain its standards of room and extend the amenities provided in the mines so women can have a smooth employment and work without deducing her integrity.
Also, the government has issued an order that the sanitation of latrines and urinal has to be made separately for both men and women and standard sanitation has to be maintained.
Previously, section 46 of the Mines Act, 1952, the owners of mining grounds were allowed to send working women inside the ongoing mining ground, only between 6 AM and 7PM, but recently, the government exempted women from this rule and exercised that power under section 83 of Mines Act.
Situation of working women wages:
Women who work in the mining industries, are often mustered with less pay roll, and don't receive their money’s worth while they work on the mining grounds according to the minimum wages Act, 1948. And when women are held back due to small delay in reporting of work, their wages are cut immensely, and are often paid less than men. Many women don’t have the liberty to get maternity leaves.
Working conditions of women, mine workers:
The working condition was hazardous in nature as they had to work with their bare hands and feet, and they have no protective gears to wear when they work. The sexual abuse and verbal abuse by the male workers to women who work there has been an issue since dawn and the contractors don’t speak against it too. And normally the mines which are in India, do not consist of toilets, washing areas, water facilities for drinking, nor any shelter for women. And the lookout for small infants in the mines are non-existent, women have to work while they work in the mines. And the trade unions explicitly for women’s rights are very few for the mine sites. Section 46(3) in The Mines Act, 1952 says that the central government of India may anytime bring out an official gazette which would consist of the hours of employment which is in respect to women working above or below the ground. However, the law clearly depicts that no woman is allowed to work on or in the mining grounds between the hours of 10PM and 5AM.
Health problems and hazards of women mine workers:
The mines act of 1952 clearly says that both men and women must be given safety measures and gears in order to save them from most of the hazardous medical issues that could be caused in the mines. Most of the health hazards for women who work in the mining grounds are constantly exposed to the mining dust and noise pollution, and many women succumb to the mining accidents and also expose their offspring which is also very hazardous. Due to such health issues, women also suffer from extreme stress and their mental health is affected very seriously which affects their overall health.
Thus, the recent amendment to allow women to work in the mining sector bodes will curb gender disparity and boost equal opportunities for women in the long run.
INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN
The term indecent representation basically means publishing or distributing a woman as a material depiction or anything that is published seems derogatory or defamation to the dignity of a woman. In order to prevent such things from happening, the Government of India decided to launch a statute to uphold the decency of all women citizens in the country. In 1986, Rajya Sabha passed a bill against the indecency of a woman which was in demand as there were instances of derogatory deception of women across the country, the bill came into effect from October 1986.
In the recent times, there has been need to update and regulate the same law as the world had turned from newspapers to a social media, advertisements, portrayal of women has increased, objectification of women folks has increased immensely, so there was a new law to be made in order to safeguard women against the indecency they are being received by.
The indecent representation of women (prohibition) Act 1986 was amended in the year 2012, and this new changes in the law. The new Amended bill seeks to prohibit the indecent advertisement or publication representation of women but it primarily has focused on the print media industry, and it has been stated that they will be punishable under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986. The amendment has increased the scope of the act by covering a wide range of new forms of communication which includes the satellite-based communications, televisions, advertisements on radios, internet etc.
Also, the bill prohibits the publication of any kind of indecent representation of women. But there’s an exception to the same, where this provision will not be applicable if it’s in the interest of science, literature or any kind art which has the bona fide of religious purpose, or any existing cultural sculptures, or any kind of monuments and temples will not be under the amendment.
The bill has added a new definition which speaks about the indecent representation of women, which also consists of electronic form or in the business of publishing, it is forbidden by the law to give derogatory remarks about women as it is found in decent representation of a woman. Also, it basically means that they are depriving women of their dignity and doing so will also mean that their public morality decreases. Here, electronic form means any kind of information sent by anyone, data stored, media saved by someone, and any of these data seems to be insulting or derogating any women, then it basically means they are going to be punished under the new amendment of this Act.
Also, if any kind of derogatory remarks are found or evidenced by the police office, no matter what their officer rank is, they have the rights to investigate the same and have the authority under this law. Also, this bill has enhanced the penalties for the guilty found people, according to the law, the penalty for the first time being caught in the act of indecency of women representation, they will be imprisoned for two to three years and they ought to pay the fine between fifty thousand rupees to one lakh rupees. And any more offences made after their first, they will be imprisoned for at least five years which can lead up to seven years of jail time, and they will also be penalized with fine between one lakh rupees to five lakh rupees.
We can conclude with the fact that with the amendment in the bill, it will decrease the number of offenders and the number of repeat offenders will be reduced too. Also, with the new law, women are seen as individuals and have their own rights and dignity, and if anyone tries to mess with it, the law makes sure that the person is punished accordingly.
Akanksha J Jain
KLE Society’s Law College
4th Year BBA LLB