Crime against women has always been a curse on the way of India’s developmental efforts. Women of our country are not safe, whether at home or at workplace or at public places. Be it marital rape, dowry harassment at home, sexual harassment at work place, rape, eve teasing, groping at public places, it is seen that crime against women occur almost every day in India. It is very essential that women should be aware of the women laws and rights that are implemented exclusively for them for their protection.
Here the laws that women should know
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Child marriage has been an issue in India for a long time. In order to get rid of this problem which was mainly associated with traditional, cultural and religious practices, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 was introduced on November 1, 2007 in India. According to this Act, the rightful legal age of marriage for both men and women in India was fixed at 21 years for men and 18 years for women. As per this Act, no parents can force their underage girls to get married and if they do so, they are subject to strict action by law.
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
The Dowry Prohibition Act was introduced in India by the Parliament in 1961 to prohibit or ban the age-old tradition of giving and taking of dowry in a marriage. Dowry system has been a major challenge in our society. It exists even today to a certain extent where we read about many women being tortured, beaten and even burnt when demands for dowry are not met. It’s time for women to take a stand and speak up against those who ask for dowry, when there is a law to protect them.
Special Marriage Act, 1954
Under this Act, all Indian nationals living in India and foreign countries are eligible to get married to anyone of the opposite sex, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or faith followed by either party. This is an Act of the Parliament of India to provide a special form of marriage to adult men and women to marry as per their choice. However, it is not applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act, 2001
The Indian Divorce Act was first introduced in 1869 and later amended and reintroduced as Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act in 2001. This Act allows any married individual, whether the husband or the wife to seek legal help to get separation from his or her partner and nullify the marriage based on the following causes:
- Insanity for more than two years
- Desertion for more than seven years
- Incurable leprosy for more than two years
- Venereal communicable disease for more than two years
- Conversion to other religion
- Willful refusal to consummate the marriage
- Not being heard for seven years
- Failure to obey the order for restitution for conjugal rights
- Rape, sodomy and bestiality exclusive to women etc.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
The Act was first introduced in 1971, got implemented in 1972 and then was amended twice, in 1975 and 2002. The objective of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act is to reduce the number of illegal abortions in India, which ultimately lead to maternal mortality and morbidity. Under this Act, termination of pregnancy is allowed only when certain conditions up to 20 weeks of gestation are fulfilled:
- There is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman
- Substantial risk of the baby, if born
- When pregnancy is caused due to rape
- When pregnancy is caused due to failure of contraceptives used by a married woman or her husband etc.
Maternity Benefit Act, 1861
According to this Act, a pregnant woman is liable to maternity benefits and leaves if she is working. The objective of this Act is to protect the dignity of motherhood in which the employers should provide for the full and healthy maintenance of women and her child when she is not working. She is entitled to receive maternity benefits like as maternity leaves, nursing breaks, medical allowance, etc.
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
This Act was implemented so that there is safety at workplace for women. This Act seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their office. Read on
Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986
As per this Act, no person/persons or communities or groups have any right to represent women through advertisement or in publications, paintings, figures, writings, or in any other manner, which is considered indecent or derogatory.
Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
We have the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 to get rid of the problem of inequality between men and women at workplace in terms of remuneration. It provides for equal payment or remuneration to men and women and help prevent gender discrimination.
National Commission for Women Act, 1990
Last but not the least, there is the National Commission for Women (NCW), a statutory body formed in 1992 by the Government of India to represent the women of our country, to represent their rights, to protect them against crime and to voice their problems and issues. National Commission for Women aims to fulfill the surveillance functions and to facilitate redressal of grievances and to improve the status of women and accelerate the socio-economic development of women.