Posted in Women and children

How Safe Are Women in India?

The day, a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved Independence.

The issue of women safety has left the nation concerned since long, posing a blot on the nation. Crimes against women have been carried out in the society since its inception. Women, since time immemorial, have been subjected to violence, cruelty, and disgrace suggesting that they are and meant to be submissive to men, as second-class citizens.

It would certainly not be amiss to assert that women are the most susceptible, endangered, and jeopardized entity on Earth. Safety is certainly one of the most significant issues which comes into picture when we look at India as a developing nation. With the present perspective, when India strives to become a developed nation it would be hard to conclude even that India is a developing nation. A nation is developing only when all the individuals of the nation are safe, secure, healthy, and prosperous.

Crimes against Women

Women in our nation are never safe: be it home, workplace, roads, shopping malls, public transports and the like. Despite the existence of a number of special legislations in India for providing protection to women, the number of crimes against women has constantly increased, acting as an impediment in the growth of women and displaying the inefficiency of laws in our nation. There are various laws like Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Domestic Violence Act 2005, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act [1956] alongside the provisions of IPC like Section 354, 372, 375, 509 etc, but they have proved to be ineffective till date.

India has reported 3,38,954 Crimes against Women in 2016 which include Rape, Sexual Harassment, Dowry Deaths, Molestation, Cruelty by Husband and Relatives, Kidnapping, Abduction and Immoral Trafficking which is a 106 percent rise in the number from 2006. Moreover, in 2016 the conviction rate of the crime is merely 19 percent and whereas the pendency percentage stands at 90 percent which is pitiful and disgraceful. It is therefore deduced that a crime against women is reported every 1.5 minute in India. These statistics pose a big question on us as to the safety of women in our nation. Undoubtedly, steps are being taken every other day to ensure such safety and provide a safe future for every women of the nation; but these crimes and violence leads us to the conclusion that all this goes in vain.

Reforms and Measures

“Charity begins at home.”

equality-2110563_960_720It all starts from home in the first place. Every individual must be educated about gender sensitisation and gender education so that they learn to respect the rights of women. It is when a person does not respect women’s rights, a crime is bound to take place. It is thus undeniable that education is the key to respect one’s rights.

Instead of legislating more laws the focus rather shall be upon more implementation of such laws. Implementation is the key as without implementation every law falls short of its achievable target and thus the motive behind the enactment of the law fails. With implementation, the approach of the authorities towards the female victims shall also be sensitive, the utter contrary of which was the case in the recent Bhopal rape case.

All the roads and streets in India should have a proper installation of CCTV cameras, not only installation but accurate scrutiny. These CCTVs will ensure to regulate the cases of violence against women as well as all other crimes, instilling a fear of being caught in the mind of the prospective criminal. Many countries around the world have these cameras all across the roads and they serve as a deterrent factor against crimes.

To ensure one’s safety, one needs to stand up. Women themselves need to take a stand when it comes to their safety. None will stand up for other’s even if they do that would be short-lived without serving any concrete purpose. That is why it is indispensable that women stand up for their own right whenever it comes to their safety and protection, not taking it for granted as if violence on them is customary and is bound to take place.

Conclusion

If India needs to really develop in all aspects and in every sense, it needs to protect its women. If half the population does not feel safe in a nation, it is nothing but a big failure on the part of the society.

Being a patriarchal society India faces a huge biasness against women and consider them to be an object of interest, which results in drastic and horrifying crimes against them. Despite the various laws present to tackle the issue, a prejudiced mindset and poor implementation turn out to be obstacles in receiving Justice. This mentality needs to be changed, either by will or by conscience. It needs to be understood that like men, women are also a living entity and are entitled to equal rights and opportunities akin to men. Faithful implementation of the laws is of the essence under the rule of law for Good Governance. After all, we are one of the largest democracies which work with the objective of ‘OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE’, and women too are a subset of People.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rhishika Srivastava

IMG_20170121_090622

She is pursuing BA LLB from Gujarat Law Society, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad. Being a motivational speaker, she takes counselling sessions for students and turns up to public elocution, debates and moots. Academically avid and with an innate interest in writing, she is a member of the reputed SIAC and has presented and published various Research Papers in Reputed Journals, both National and International.

Posted in Women and children

Women and the Law

The status of women has been subject to many radical changes in the past few decades. With decline in their status from ancient to medieval period to demand of equal rights by reformers, the history of women in India has indeed been eventful.

In a sovereign civilized state, laws hold the primary position. Therefore it would be quite true to say that legislations have played a very pivotal role in the transformation of this status.

It all started right before independence with the enactment of Prevention of Sati Act 1829 which was then followed by various other laws. Post independence, the hopes began to rise. India’s constitution and the founding fathers were determined to ensure equality in general and gender equality in particular to the citizens.

The preamble, fundamental rights, directive principles of state policies have provided several safeguards to secure the human rights of the women. This is so, because one of the classes of society which was much oppressed since several years was the class of women. Therefore, it became essential to make them stand on an equal footing by aiding them with such special laws.

Some legal rights which a woman should be aware of are:-

Right to Zero FIR

Under Zero FIR, any woman who has been molested or raped can file a police complaint in any police station in the city. Usually police stations do not register complaints if the crime does not occur in their jurisdiction. However, the Zero FIR rule allows for an FIR to be filed in any police station in the city. Once an FIR is filed, the senior officers will direct the Station House Officer(SHO) to lodge an FIR in the relevant police station.

Right to privacy

Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman can record her statement in private if she has been raped. She would record the statement only in front of the magistrate. She can also record her statement in person with a lady constable or police officer.

Right to free legal aid

A woman who walks into the police station has a right to ask for free legal aid. Often there are cases where a woman is misquoted or humiliated and this law has been brought in to ensure she gets proper justice.

Right to virtual complaints

A victim, who is unable to go to the police station, can also register a police complaint by e-mail or registered post. This should be addressed to the senior police officer or Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner of Police. Once they receive the letter, they will ask the SHO of the police station where the incident occurred to investigate and file an FIR. A victim can then give her statement even at her home to the police.

Right to untimely registration

A victim might go to the police station immediately to file a complaint. Police have no right to say that the complaint is not timely and reject it. The woman is allowed to file a complaint even at a later date as her self-respect is important above all.

Right to no arrest

The Supreme Court has ruled that no woman can be arrested before sunrise or after sunset. A woman can exercise this right even if a woman police constable is present at night. If the police deems it important to arrest a woman at night, they need to have a letter from the magistrate explaining why the arrest is necessary.

Right to confidentiality

The law states that the identity of a rape victim cannot be revealed. According to Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code, the disclosure of a victim’s identity is a punishable offense. The victim’s name cannot be printed or published nor can anything else that will reveal her identity. The law is in place to ensure that she is not ostracised or victimised because of the sexual crime committed. In the judgement also she is only referred to as the ‘victim’ and not by name.

Right to not being interrogated in the police station

Under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman cannot be called for interrogation to the police station. She can be questioned at her home in the presence of a woman constable and her family or friends.

No sexual harassment

By law, every employer in India has to have a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee in the organisation (private or public). The Supreme Court has issued guidelines on how to set up these committees. The committee is to comprise of 50 percent women and one member should be part of a women’s welfare group.

Rape is a crime

Section 164 A of the Criminal Procedure Code states that a victim of rape has to undergo a medical examination and the report thereby becomes proof. A victim can ask for the copy of her report. Rape is considered a crime and not a medical condition and thus the medical officer examining her cannot make a diagnosis. The medical officer can state if there has been any sexual activity. He or she cannot decide if rape had taken place or not.

Thus laws have indeed played a very important role in the lives of woman. Their conditions have no doubt been improved. However, the present scene is not desirable too. Women safety is still a very big concern and with time and awareness, the solution shall be sought for.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Krupa Thakkar

KRUPA THAKKAR

Krupa Thakkar is currently pursuing BLS LLB from Government Law College, Mumbai. She is presently in her second year. Always eager to learn new things, she keeps herself updated with happenings around the world. Though not an extrovert, she makes sure that she performs the best whenever she is allotted any task.