India is the largest democracy in the world and we are proud to be a part of it. According to Indiaonlinepages.com, the total population of this huge nation (as of March 1, 2019) is 1.35 billion where the number of male population is 69.7 crore and the female population is 65.2 crore.
The females are still not equal to males in numbers but there are some special rights given by our Constitution to the ladies of our nation that make them feel independent and stronger than men.
Today on this International Women’s Day we will talk about those special rights which make every woman feel proud and safe.
Right to tie the knot with a partner of your choice
According to Indian law, if a girl is 18 years old or above she has the freedom to choose the life partner of her choice. No one can force her to marry against her wishes. Her consent is absolutely necessary for a valid marriage.
Right to monogamous marriage
According to Indian law, marriage has to be monogamous (except for Muslims), thus one cannot remarry during the lifetime of an existing spouse. Such an act is punishable under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
For second marriage it is important to take divorce from the existing spouse with her full consent.
Woman cannot be arrested at night
According to the guidelines of the Supreme Court of India no woman can be arrested at night. If a woman needs to be arrested on urgent grounds during the night, the police must procure permission from the Magistrate by stating the reason for the urgency of arrest.
In addition, the law also states that the police can interrogate a woman at her residence only in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends.
Women have the right to say ‘NO’
No one can compel a woman to establish sexual relations without her consent. Such an act would tantamount to rape.
A husband has presumed matrimonial consent to cohabit with his wife who is above 18 years of age, but if he sexually abuses his wife, the woman has a right to get protection orders under Section 18 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Rights at the workplace
According to Equal Remunerations Act, 1976 every woman has the right to earn as much as men. Discrimination at the time of recruitment on the basis of gender is also prohibited.
Right to maternity benefit
The amendment made in the Maternity Benefit Act in 2017 states that every working woman is entitled to full paid absence from her work for a period of 26 weeks to take care of her newborn child.
This is available for two surviving children. For more than two children the duration of leave would be twelve weeks. This leave is available to all women, whether working in the private sector or the public sector.
Woman can file a complaint if she is harassed at the workplace
According to Sexual harassment of women at workplace act, 2013, if a woman is facing sexual harassment at her workplace she has full right to file a complaint against the one who is harassing or trying to harass her.
Under this act, she can submit a written complaint to an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at a branch office within a period of 3 months.
Right to Zero FIR
An FIR that can be filed at any police station irrespective of the location where the incident occurred or a specific jurisdiction it comes under, the Zero FIR can later be moved to the Police Station in whose jurisdiction the case falls under.
Any police officer refusing to register an FIR can be punished under Section 166 A of the IPC.
Right against being stalked
According to Section 354 D of the Indian Penal code, a woman can raise her voice against the offence of stalking. Stalking in any form is punishable with imprisonment up to a term of three years and fine.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
Section 498 of the Indian penal code enables a woman to file a complaint against harassment by husband and his relatives.
This is a non-bailable offence and is punishable by a jail term of up to three years and fine.
(Inputs from media reports)