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Violence Against Women And Changes Brought in respect to women


Swami Vivekananda said , “ Just as a bird can’t fly with one wing only, a Nation can’t march forward if the women are left behind” .


Changes Brought In Respect To Women:

The Indian Armed Forces began recruiting women to non-medical positions in 1992. Women started attending school and this brought a change in India’s education and economic development. In urban India, girls are nearly on a par with boys in terms of education. However, in rural India, girls continue to be less educated than boys.


Based on the educational background, men with a bachelor's degree earned on average 16 percent higher median wages than women in years 2015, 2016 and 2017, while master's degree holders experience even higher pay gap. Men with a four- or five-year degree or the equivalent of a master's degree have on average earned 33.7 percent higher median wages than women.


While India passed the Equal Remuneration Act way back in 1976, which prohibits discrimination in remuneration on grounds of sex. But in practice, the pay disparity still exist. Women started owning businesses and one of the popular story is of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad. In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property. Due to weak enforcement of laws protecting them, women continue to have little access to land and property.


In India, women's property rights vary depending on religion, and tribe, and are subject to a complex mix of law and custom, but in principle the move has been towards granting women equal legal rights, especially since the passing of The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.


Case Laws

  • Nirbhaya Case - Amendment: Juvenile Justice Act of 2000.

  • Shah Bano Begum vs Muhammad Ahmed Khan - Amendment: Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code 1973.

  • KM Nanavati vs State of Maharashtra - Impact: If Jury could be influenced, thereby abolish the jury system i.e. suspension of jury trial.

  • Mathura - Amendment: The Criminal Law Act, 1983.


What causes violence against women?

Violence against women happens because women and men are not equal.

There are many different factors which determine whether an individual will experience violence. However, a recent study found that gender inequality at the national level – in education, access to employment, economic and property rights, freedom to marry and divorce – predicted higher levels of partner violence, as did settings where male authority over women’s behavior is considered normal and where violence against women was widely seen to be acceptable.


Protection of Women under: Constitution, IPC, CrPC & Special Laws IAS

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS:-

The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them.


Fundamental Rights, among others, ensure equality before the law and equal protection of law; prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment.


Following are constitutional privileges which are guaranteed to women in India for their empowerment.


  • Equality before law for women (Article 14)

  • The State not to discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (i))

  • The State to make any special provision in favor of women and children (Article 15 (3))

  • Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State (Article 16)

  • The State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a)); and equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d))

  • To promote justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities (Article 39 A)

  • The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42)

  • The State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46)

  • The State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people (Article 47)

  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e))

  • Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat and Municipality (Article 243 D(3))

  • Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4))

  • Reservation of offices of Chairpersons in Municipalities for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the legislature of a State may by law provide (Article 243 T (4))

LEGAL PROVISIONS

State has enacted various legislative measures intended to ensure equal rights, to counter social discrimination and various forms of violence and atrocities and to provide support services especially to working women.


Following is the list of crimes mentioned in Indian Penal code as well in special acts against women :-


THE CRIMES IDENTIFIED UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE (IPC)

  • Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)

  • Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes ( Sec. 363-373)

  • Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC)

  • Torture, both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC)

  • Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC)

  • Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC)

  • Importation of girls (up to 21 years of age)


PROVISIONS UNDER CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE (CRPC)


  1. Right to Privacy while recording statement: - Under section 164 of CrPC, a woman who has been raped can record her statement before District Magistrate when the case is under trial and no one else needs to be present. Alternatively, she can record the statement with only one police officer and woman constable in a convenient place that is no crowded and does not provide any possibility of the statement being overheard by the third person.

  2. Police can’t say no: - A rape victim can register her complaint from any police station under Zero FIR ruling by the Supreme Court. Sometimes, the police station under which the incident occurs refuses to register the victim’s complaint in order to keep clear of responsibility and tries sending the victim to another police station. In such cases, she has the right to lodge an FIR at any police station under the provision of Zero FIR.

  3. Search by another Women only- Under section 51(2) of CrPC, when an accused is a woman another woman should make search with strict regard to decency.

  4. Opportunity to come out of the house- Section 47(2) CrPC says, if the accused hides in the house of a female who according to custom does not appear in public, the police cannot enter the house or break the house open unless notice is given to such female to withdraw and give her reasonable facility to withdraw herself.

  5. Medical Examination by a female practitioner- Under section 53(2) CrPC, when a person to be examined medically is female, then the examination shall be made only by or under the supervision of female registered medical practitioner.

  6. Attendance cannot be required at any other place- Section 160 CrPC protects women saying that no woman shall be required to attend any place other than a place in which she resides. Hence, a police officer cannot require the attendance of a woman, but on the contrary, he has to go to the place where she resides for making an investigation and can interrogate in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends.

  7. No arrests after sunset- Because to concerns of violation of the rights of women, section 46(4) provides that forbids the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise, except in exceptional circumstances, in which case the arrest can be done by a woman police officer after making a written report and obtaining a prior permission from the concerned Judicial Magistrate of First class.

Time does not matter in cases of rape or molestation. Police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the incident.

  1. Protection of identity- Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed. Section 228 of IPC makes the disclosure of the identity of a victim a punishable offence.

  2. Doctor’s Report is not a conclusive proof- A case of rape cannot be dismissed even if doctor says no rape had been committed. Report of the doctor can only act as a proof. The only state that can be made by the medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity. Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion and doctor cannot decide on this.