legal rights in India for women

In the last post, we discussed the safeguards present in the constitution of India for women in the country. Apart from a strong constitutional framework to achieve women's empowerment, the government of the country from time to time frames the laws necessary to fight against the ills present in society that are hampering the development of women.

The lawmakers of the country have always considered the aspirations of the people living in the time. When the constitution was framed, then too, it was all aspirations and goals of the society at that time which provided the foundation for the constitution, and later on, with the passage of time as the society evolved and the people's aspirations changed, those changes were dealt perfectly by bringing in various laws. The government has framed different laws to protect the rights and pride of women like the Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, and other important Act are present in the country. Be it the issue of triple talaq or women's entry into the temples, society has always been open to discussion regarding these matters.

Some of the important laws present in the country to safeguard women's rights are as follows:

  1. Minimum Wages Act(1948): This Act prohibits discrimination between men and women workers or different minimum wages for them.
  2. Mines Act(1952) and Factories Act(1948): This act prohibits the employment of women between 7 pm to 6 am in mines and factories and provides for their safety.
  3. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act(1956): It prevents the trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of prostitution as an organized means of living.
  4. Dowry Prohibition Act(1961): It prohibits the taking and giving of dowry at or before or at any time after marriage from women.
  5. Maternity Benefit Act(1961): This act aims to regulate the employment of employees all over the country. The act provides 12 weeks as the maximum period for which any working woman shall be entitled to maternity benefits. This Act applies to every woman working in mines, factories, plantations, and government employees.
  6. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act(1971): It allows the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners on humanitarian or medical grounds. It gives a 20 weeks window for the abortion to be performed, after which no abortion is allowed.
  7. Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act(1986): This law prohibits indecent representation of women through advertisement or in publication, writings, paintings, figures, or in any other manner.
  8. Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act(1987): This act provides for the more effective prevention of the commission of sati and its glorification.
  9. National Commission for Women Act(1990): It provides for the establishment of a National Commission for women to study and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and legal rights and safeguards of women.
  10. Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act(1994): This act provides sex selection before or after conception and prevents the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex determination leading to female foeticide.
  11. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act(2005): It is comprehensive legislation to protect women in India from all forms of domestic violence. It also covers women who have been/are in a relationship with the abuser and are subject to violence of any kind- Physical, sexual, mental, verbal, or emotional.
  12. Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act(2013): This act provides protection to women from sexual harassment at all workplaces both in the Public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized. 
  13. Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act(2017): It is an amendment to the already existing maternity benefit Act. This act increase the paid maternity leaves from 12 weeks to 26 weeks and other amendments like work-from-home options and maternity leave for adoptive and commissioning mothers.
To read about schemes run by Government for women's empowerment click here


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