Upcoming laws that will further Empower Indian women

In this article, Ana Khan discusses Upcoming Laws That Will Further Empower Indian Women.

Introduction

  • Cases under ‘crime against women’ category reported an increase of 2.9 percent in 2016 over 2015.
  • Majority of these cases are regarding “cruelty by husband or his relatives” (32.6 percent) followed by “assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” (25.0 percent), “kidnapping and abduction of women” (19.0 percent) and “rape” (11.5 percent).
  • Rape cases have reported an increase of 12.4 percent from 34,651 cases in 2015 to 38,947 in 2016. Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh reported the highest incidents of rape with 4,882 (12.5 percent) and 4,816 (12.4 percent) respectively, followed by Maharashtra 4,189 (10.7 percent) during 2016.
  • Uttar Pradesh reported 14.5 percent (49,262) of the total cases of crimes against women followed by West Bengal (9.6 percent) (32,513 cases), during 2016. Delhi reported the highest crime rate (160.4) compared to the national average of 55.2.

Constitutional provisions

Our Constitution provides the articles for gender equality and empowerment of women. Some of the articles mentioned below are:

  1. Equality before the law which is defined under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
  2. Article 15(1) and Article 15(3) of the Indian Constitution.
  3. Protection of personal life and liberty which is defined under article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  4. Article 39(a) of the Indian Constitution.
  5. Provision of just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief which is defined in article 42 of the Indian Constitution.

Crime against women

1. Kidnapping Under section 359, 360 and 366 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
2. Eve teasing Under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code,1860.
3. Chain Snatching Under section 378 of Indian Penal Code,1860.
4. Rape Under section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
5. Sexual Harassment Under section 354A of Indian Penal Code,1860.
6. Honour Killing Under section 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 307, 308, 120A, 120B, 34, 35.
7. Domestic Violence under section 498A of Indian Penal Code,1860.
9. Cyber Crime Under section 354A of Indian Penal Code, Section 66E, 67A Information Technology Act,2008.
10. Dowry Death Under section 304B of Indian Penal Code,1860, section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act,1961
11. Acid Attacks under sections 326A and 326B of Indian Penal Code,1860.
12. Stalking under section 354D of Indian Penal Code,1860.
13. Assault to outrage the modesty of a woman under section 354 and 354B of Indian Penal Code,1860.

Upcoming Laws that will further empower Indian Women

Women’s Reservation Bill, 2008

The main objective of this bill is to represent females in Lok Sabha and state legislative due to lack of their representation in these areas.

The main features are of this bill are mentioned below:

  • 108th Amendment bill of the Constitution reserves one- third of the seats reserved in the Lok Sabha and state legislative for women.
  • One-third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe reserved shall be reserved for the women of those groups.
  • Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Bill, 2012

The main objective of the bill is to protect the indecent representation of women which is growing faster with the new technology.

The main focus of the bill is as follows:

  • Indecent Representation of a Woman means derogating a woman in such a way which is opposed to public policy.
  • The bill widens the scope of Indecent Representation of Women Act, 1986 to cover under this bill new forms of technologies like internet, cable television etc.
  • The bill forbids the publication of any material which makes the indecent representation of women provided it has been used in the field of science, literature or for bonafide religious purposes.
  • For representing women indecently the punishment provided is imprisonment for 3 years and fine ranging from Rs.50,000 to Rs. 1 Lakh.

Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016

The main objective to introduce this bill is to protect women from being exploited. It has become a practice for women of lower sections of the societal structure to rent their wombs for money. A venture where the rich exploit the women stricken from poverty.

The main objectives of the Bill are:

  • The intending couples should be the Citizen of India, they should complete at least 5 years of marriage and the female must be infertile.
  • Only medical expenses shall be provided to surrogate mother and she will be called as the biological mother of the child.
  • Central & State Government shall appoint authorities to grant eligibility certificates and also regulate surrogacy clinics.
  • Exploiting the surrogate mother shall be punishable for an imprisonment of 10 years & fine up to 10 Lakh.
  • Surrogate mother must be a ‘close relative’ of the child in order to save women from exploitation.

The Muslim Women ( Protection of Rights ) Bill, 2017

This bill makes triple talaq, a punishable offense which was decided by Supreme Court in Shayara Bano v. Union of India, 22nd August 2017.

It makes triple talaq as “void and illegal”.

  • Clause 3 of the Bill says: “Any pronouncement of talaq by a person upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal.”
  • Clause 4 of the Bill states, “Whoever pronounces talaq referred to in section 3 upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine.”
  • Clause 7 says, “an offense punishable under this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable within the meaning of the Code.” (The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Menstruation Benefit Bill, 2017

The main objective of the bill is to understand the problems faced by the women in day to day life and also to provide menstrual leave of 2 days to every working woman in order to give them a healthy work environment.

The main features of the act are:

  • Women working in a private and public sector should be given 2 days of menstrual leave in a month.
  • Better facilities at the workplace during the menstrual cycle of a woman.

Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018

The main objective of the bill is to protect women from being exploited in the name of human trafficking.

The bill focuses on the following lines:

  • It mainly focuses on the aggravated forms of trafficking such as forced labor, begging, trafficking woman or child for the purpose of marriage and child abuse, injecting chemical substance for the purpose of sexual maturity. The punishment prescribed for these offenses are of minimum 10 years or life imprisonment.
  • The Punishment is prescribed for a person who has encouraged trafficking by means of promoting or facilitating it.
  • The Identity of victims & witnesses shall remain confidential.
  • Victims shall be entitled to relief within 30 days and time-bound trial within a period of 30 days from taking into consideration.
  • The bill has created “Rehabilitation Fund” for the first time which will be used for the physical, mental and social well being of the victim which includes education, skills, health, support and legal assistance.
  • The punishment prescribed ranges from 10 years to life imprisonment & fine up to 10 lakh.

Conclusion

So many bills are still pending in the parliament and the upcoming laws are definitely going to help women a lot but the problem is that in the 70 years of Independence only the minuscule population of the women are ready to discuss their issues. To overcome this problem we need to spread the legal education in different sectors of the society through various means like street plays, door to door campaigns. So that people should be aware of their rights and we really need to work towards the gender sensitization.

References

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