“India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour.” states a Thomas Reuters foundation report. It is not a surprise, considering the fact that we read about multiple cases of violence against women every day. Often women are unaware of the legal rights under the Indian law that they have, which are made to protect them from exploitation. In this blog, we explain ten legal laws for women in India.
Right to free aid
Every complainant has the right to free legal aid. Oftentimes, women go to the police station without being accompanied by a lawyer or they cannot afford one. Whenever a victim reports a rape case, the senior house officer has to inform the Delhi Legal Services Authority. Then the legal body arranges for a lawyer for the victim. This ensures that victims get proper justice.
Right to privacy
A rape victim has the legal right to record their statement in private, in front of a judge. This helps the victim to narrate their ordeal without the fear of others eavesdropping. Additionally, victims can also report the case to a female constable or officer. Section 164 states that cops have to provide women with privacy and not stress them in front of people.
Right to Zero FIR
The Supreme Court Zero FIR ruling states that a rape victim can file a complaint in any police station. Thus, police officers cannot deny filing a complaint, even if the crime didn’t occur in their jurisdiction. Victims can demand to file a complaint in such cases. The senior police officer will ask the station house officer to file the case in the correct police station.
Right to no arrest
To avoid any harassment, police cannot arrest women before sunrise and after sunset. The legal rights for women prohibit the arrest at wee hours even if a lady constable accompanies them.
Right to not visit the police station
Under section 160 of the Indian law, women have the right to not be present at the police station during interrogation. Police can interrogate the woman at her residence, in the presence of a woman constable or her family. It is the legal right for women to refuse to visit a police station for interrogation.
Right to untimely registration
Victims can have a hard time filing a complaint immediately after the crime has taken place. Women have the legal right to file the complaint at a later date. Police officers cannot deny a complaint even if it is late for registration.
Right to virtual complaints
In cases where the victim is unable to go to the police station, they can file a virtual police complaint. A virtual complaint can be either in the form of an email or registered post. The senior police officer orders the station house officer to file an FIR. Victims can record a statement at their residence.
Right to confidentiality
The law for women in India keeps the rape victim’s identity intact. According to Section 228-A of the Indian law, the revealing of a victim’s identity is a punishable offence. It cannot reveal their identity. In the judgement every woman is referred as ‘victim’ and not by her name. The law ensures victims are not isolated or victimized because of the assault. This Indian law helps the victim to protect their privacy and avoid unnecessary intrusions in their lives.
Right towards crime and not a medical condition
The law for women in India states that rape cases cannot be rejected even if the doctor declares that rape has not taken place. A medical officer needs to medically examine the rape victim according to Section 164 A. The reports act as proof. Victims have the right to have a copy of the medical report. Medical officers treating the victim cannot make this diagnosis. Proving the rape is a legal conclusion and the doctor can’t decide on this.
Right to no sexual harassment
Every employer has to create a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee within the company for grievances. According to a guideline published by the Supreme Court, it is compulsory for all firms to set up these committees. These committees resolve matters of sexual harassment. Woman supervises the committee. 50% of members comprises of women. One member of the committee should be from a women’s welfare group.