hroughout the world, since ages, women have strived hard against the tyranny of a male dominant society. Hillary Clinton once rightly pointed out “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” Fortunately, things are changing and women are slowly yet steadily marching towards equality. In every domain of life, women have proved that if given an opportunity, they can perform and contribute as good as their male counterparts, if not better. With still a long way to go, let's take a look at some of the exclusive remedies stated in Indian law to remove gender biases and to help women in attaining their rightful place in the society.
Right to Lodge an E-Complaint
If any woman is not in a position to visit a Police Station physically, then she has a right to file the complaint either through an e-mail or via a registered post, mentioning her address. In such cases, the police station will inform SHO (Station house officer) whose rank is generally equal to an inspector or sometimes Sub Inspector. The SHO will reach out to the women to check for the authenticity of the complaint. Once he inspects the validity of the complaint, he will then lodge the FIR (First Information Report) and will provide her with other needed assistance.
Right to File “Zero FIR”
Let us first understand the concept of zero FIR. It is a complaint that is filed at a police station, irrespective of the fact that the place of the incident lies in the dominion of that station or not. U/S 154, it is her right to lodge ‘Zero FIR’ and the officer who refuses to do so can face strict legal action, which can even result in suspension or imprisonment. Once Zero FIR has been filled in a particular police station, the case can be later on transferred to the appropriate police station.
Right to Equal Remuneration
According to this act of 1976, no employer can discriminate his employees on the basis of their gender. A work that is performed by a female employee shall receive equal pay as the payment received by the opposite gender for carrying out similar work. Usually, women in rural India are deprived of this right. Article 39 grants equal payment irrespective of gender and the proprietor has to maintain a diary along with a documentation in accordance with this act, mentioning the details of his employees.
1961 Act of Maternity Benefit
This act is mostly in relation to the organized sector as it is applicable to a firm that employs not less than 10 people. The Maternity Benefit Act, assists the women employees making them eligible to be paid fully for their absence during pregnancy and shortly after the birth of the child. This act makes a provision to provide maternity leave of 26 months for the first 2 children and leave of 12 weeks after the birth of the second child. The act also applies to a commissioning mother who surrogates to conceive a child.
Right to Complaint Against Stalking
IPC section 354D clearly mentions that stalking, be it cyber or in real life is a punishable offense. A crime committed under this act is a bailable offense, where the first time offenders can attract imprisonment of up to 3 years along with fine. While the second time offenders will face 5 years of imprisonment in addition to a fine. However, an interesting fact about this act is that stalking is defined as only a man stalking woman but a woman stalking man will not be considered a crime.
Right to Refuse from Being Arrested at Night
According to this law, irrespective of the nature of the crime, a woman cannot be arrested in between dusk and dawn. Only in special cases can a woman be arrested at night, that too after taking authorization from a first class magistrate. Even during interrogation, a woman can be interrogated only at her dwelling and the process of interrogation shall be conducted in the presence of a woman constable and lawyer or family members of the accused.
Right to Self Defense
If a person is trying to sexually or physically assault a woman, then she has been granted the right to fight back by the court of law. Any injury caused by the women on the attacker will be considered as an act of self-defense, even if that injury leads to the death of the attacker. No legal actions would be taken against that woman in such cases. Any wound or abrasion found on the man’s body by a woman during a rape, will not be taken into consideration by the court of law. Even if a woman is suspicious about the intention of a person, fearing a grave crime like an acid attack or an attempt of murder, she has the right to self-defense in such cases too.
Right to Free Legal Aid
Every woman has a right to access free legal help irrespective of her income. Apart from women, this right also applies on a child, member of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe of our society, person with a very low income as prescribed by the state government and also by a mentally ill person. This right has been enabled to ensure that no citizen on the basis of caste, creed, sex or income is deprived of justice.