Date : 14-07-2018 10:01
CRIME AGAINST WOMEN AND PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS
From ages, Women are being portrayed as a weaker section of the society. Cultural and religious rules are cited as the benchmark for judging a women’s character, chastity and are used as a shield to restrain her freedom and liberty. However, we fail to understand that goddess ‘Durga’ and ‘Kaali’ are personified as women. Thus the safety of women has become an International Concern especially with the current rise in the crimes committed against women.
Article 15(3) of the constitution of India empowers the state to enact special laws for the protection of women and children. The Criminal Procedure Code 1973 lays down certain procedures for the treatment of accused women. There are a number of judgments from the apex court of India which progressively lays the procedural safeguards to women. Also, article 42 of the constitution directs the state to make provisions for just and humane conditions of work which includes maternity leave for women.
Sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition, and redressal) act: This act applies to all women irrespective of any discrimination on the basis of age, caste, status etc. and contains provisions for the protection of women from sexual harassment in both public and the private sector. The landmark judgment of the apex court in vishakha case has helped to curb the practice of harassment of women in the workplace and has proved to be effective.
Domestic violence act, 2005: This act covers all women who live and share a household with a man who has committed the offense. It has a wide coverage and includes marriage, living relationship, adoption, or where all members of a family are living together, within its ambit. Dowry prohibition act, 1961 1961: This act prohibits taking, abetting and giving of dowry as a punishable offense which is followed by imprisonment or fine or both.
The criminal law (amendment) act, 2013: The Ministry took special initiatives for amendment in the provisions of Cr. P.C. & I.P.C. for the inclusion of offenses like voyeurism, stalking, disrobing, voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid as crimes, which were rising in the recent past. There has been a significant change in the definition of ‘Rape’ under IPC and stringent punishment has been prescribed for crimes against women.
However, despite constitutional mandates, special law provisions and international conventions which a state is obliged to follow for the betterment, safety, and protection of the women, there are problems existing at the grassroots level. It is something that we all should be aware of and work towards its eradication as a whole.
Though there have been many judgments delivered by the Supreme Court and despite of various constitutional protections given to them, lacunas still exist. The system of law alone cannot be blamed, but proper awareness amongst all sections of society is required to overcome this menace. Also, the gender itself needs to take stand for them for what they believe is just and right.