12 legal rights you should know
Legal literacy is very important. It acts as an important tool in situations of emergencies and empowers women when dealing with the problem at hand.
Here is a list of a few rights and laws that women should be aware of:
1. Women can register their complaints via email to the Deputy Commissioner or the Commissioner of Police. The complaint is then forwarded to the respective SHO (Station House Officer), who then verifies it and lodges an FIR.
2. Women CANNOT be arrested after sunset or before sunrise.
3. A woman can only be arrested or taken into custody in the presence of a female police officer.
4. From the period of 6 pm and 6 am, women can only be stopped, detained, and questioned by female police officers. If female officers are not present, a woman cannot be questioned or taken away.
5. A woman cannot be called to the police station for questioning. She has a right to be questioned on the premises of her own residence.
6. Stalking is considered a culpable offence under Criminal Law. Legal actions can be taken against the offender. The law defines stalking as follows,“To follow a woman and contact, or attempt to contact, that woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or monitor the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.”
7. Anyone subjecting a woman to cruelty, regardless of their gender or their relationship to the woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for 3 years and also be liable to fine. The complaint made against the offender will also be non-bailable to ensure the woman’s safety. This includes cases of physical, emotional or sexual assault.
8. Article 42 of the Indian Constitution says that the state has to provide safe and humane working conditions, and maternity relief for pregnant women.
9. A woman who has been sexually harassed can file a written complaint to an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) within a period of 3 months, according to the Sexual Harassment Act. The complaint is then taken up to the Local Complaints Committee at a District Level. An investigation is carried out if the proper actions are not taken up by the employer. Any legal heir can also file the complaint on behalf of the victim.
10. The Indian Divorce Act allows the dissolution of marriage, mutual consent, nullity of marriage, judicial separation and restitution of conjugal rights. Family Courts are established to file, hear and dispose of such cases.
11. 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.
12. 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.
You are the best advocate for yourself. It’s very important to be aware of your rights as a woman to be in a better position to self-advocate. Self-advocacy through knowing your legal position is a valuable tool for people who are committed to making a positive change in their lives and equips them to deal with situations in an assertive, and correct manner.