We live in a shady and messed up world, where life of a person is taken away by a loved one, where goddesses are worshiped while women (of any age) are maimed and harassed. The only way out to keep an eye on such horrific happenings is to make laws and rules stricter to keep a check on the horrendous crimes. Having laws doesn't suffice when they are broken. Most people are unaware of their legal rights until they hire a legal firm for their problems. Merely a handful of them would say, 'Yes, we know' to this and most of them are not women. So, to help women know their rights and to help them fight back, here are some rights that they should know.
1. Right to equal pay
According to provisions under the Equal Remuneration Act, one cannot be discriminated on the basis of sex when it comes to salary or wages.
2. Right to anonymity
Victims of sexual assault have a right to anonymity. To ensure that her privacy is protected, a woman who has been sexually assaulted may record her statement alone before the district magistrate when the case is under trial, or in the presence of a female police officer.
3. Can Be Questioned At Home
Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that a woman cannot be called for questioning to a police station. She has the right to be questioned at her place of residence.
4. Right against domestic violence
The act primarily looks to protect a wife, a female live-in partner or a woman living in a household like a mother or a sister from domestic violence at the hands of a husband, male live-in partner or relatives. She or anybody on her behalf, can file a complaint.
5. Right to maternity-related benefits
Maternity benefits are not merely a privilege of the working woman, they are a right. The Maternity Benefit Act ensures that the new mother does not suffer any loss of earnings following a period of twelve weeks after her delivery, allowing her to rejoin the workforce.
6. Right to free legal aid
All female rape victims have the right to free legal aid, under the Legal Services Authorities Act. It is mandatory for the Station House Officer (SHO) to inform the Legal Services Authority, who arranges for the lawyer.
7. 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.
8. Right to dignity and decency
In the event that an accused is a woman, any medical examination procedure on her must be performed by or in the presence of another woman.
9. Right to property
The Hindu Succession Act allows women and men equal share in inheritance, thereby setting new rules and regulations.
10. Safety at the workplace
Any workplace with more than 10 employees is duty-bound to create a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee. According to Supreme Court's Vishakha Guidelines, the presence of such committee is mandatory and it must be headed by a woman.
11. No arrests at night
According to Supreme Court ruling, a woman cannot be arrested between sunset and sunrise. This was the result of a rising number of police harassment complaints by women.However, if the woman in question is wanted for a serious crime, police can make an arrest with a special permission from a magistrate.
12.Women witnesses can't be called to police stations
Indian women witnesses have the right to record a statement at home. Section 160 CrPC states that women cannot be called over to police stations for interrogation. "If a woman is a witness, she can choose to record her statement at her own residence in presence of a lady police officer," says criminal lawyer Kaushik Dey.
13. Right To Abort
Medical Termination Of Pregnancy Act or the MTP Act, 1971 says pregnancy not exceeding 12 weeks may be terminated based on the opinion of a single doctor. If the period of pregnancy exceeds 20 weeks, then the opinion of two doctors has to be taken before initiating an abortion.