Our Indian justice system seems to be a blessing for the women of our society because of the women protective laws made to protect them from abuse and uplift them.

Though I am not favouring anyone we must admit the fact that in our nation, women, who get worshipped as a goddess actually get subjected to harassment, kidnapping, and numerous incidents of rape, and what not!

Also, we can say that women protective laws in India are justified, concerning the status of women in olden times. Earlier the women were subject to house-taker and related activities. But currently, they are ahead along with men. 

Are the women protective laws in India gender-neutral? Do these women’s rights deprive men of their rights? or in some cases, result in false accusations?

To answer such pivotal questions, let us first address the women protective laws in India, available in recent times!

Women Protective Laws in India

It is unfortunate to say that most of the women are unaware of the rights available to them. 

  • For say, for a working woman, the right to equal and fair pay is available and no discrimination can be done in this regard. They have a right to live with dignity and decency.
  • They cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise unless and until special order has been passed by the First-Class Magistrate on this behalf. 

So, being a woman, how many of us know that if someone stalks us or tries to build a forceful relationship, or follows us, despite our clear indication to not do such things, we can initiate legal action against such a person?
I guess this is one of the most important and prominent women protective laws in India that every woman should be made aware of.
Were you aware of this? Do tell us in the comment section about the law related to this.

So, the legal provision governing the stalking problems related to women is Section 354-D of The Indian Penal Code, 1860. It facilitates a woman to take any action against stalking, or eve-teasing is not formulated as such but women can acquire help in the following different ways-

  • Women can file a complaint in National Commission for Women (NCW) regarding stalking or other related acts. The commission then collaborates with the police and in-depth, investigates the matter.
  • Even social media consists of a certain number of provisions that allow its users to reports their issues, problems, and complaints. These websites hold legal sanctity because these are governed by IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011.
    Social media platforms will help the aggrieved person by removing the obscene or undesirable content within a specific time period if the stalking or harassment has been committed through online mode.

Also, the readers might be knowing that they have a right to register FIR in the police station which has jurisdiction (control) over the area where the concerned act took place, right?

  • But women have an additional or we can say a special right to register a zero FIR. Zero FIR can be filed irrespective of the jurisdiction of the location of the police station. At a later stage, that zero FIR can be transferred to the appropriate Police station but for the sake of safety and speedy resolution of woman’s problem, this right has been given to them.
  • Likewise, if suppose, some rape incident took place with any woman and she went to the health practitioner (in accordance with Section 161-A of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973) and she denied happening of such incident, then also, the rape case could not be shut down because it is not the final legal conclusion.
  • Additionally, being a woman and a victim of some crime at the same time makes it impossible for us to report the incident at the Police station due to a number of reasons. So, women have a special right to file a virtual complaint in case she is not able to go physically to the Police station for the same.

In the garb of protection of women through the legislative and legal rights, are women are availing a legal supremacy? 

The Other Side of the Coin

Now, if we look upon the perspective of men, I understand that making laws for women is a good initiative but ignoring the victimized section of men is right? For instance, legislation such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (particularly Section 498-A) and Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has several provisions that terrify and threaten men but at the same time, women don’t misuse their justified powers in the name of domestic disputes?

Why there are no special legal provisions for males, such as the women protective laws? When a woman is a victim of domestic abuse, she has several options to seek protection from the court of law. But in case of a man, tortured by a woman, is not heard anywhere, neither in the court nor in society, in the same manner as it is done for a woman.
Being a woman, we always claim our right to equality guaranteed by the Indian Constitution but denying men of their rights does not amount to inequality?

Why always women get entitled to maintenance by her husband and why not the husbands get maintained by women

I understand that these provisions were made concerning the earlier status but with the changing time, women are not lacking behind and are capable of earning their livelihood. 

Coming to the “feminism” standpoint, the most misused section is 498-A that has successfully violated the objective of this section, that is, social welfare and gender justice. Don’t you think that this section is ultra vires to Article 14 of the Indian Constitution? If a wife has a right to protect herself from her husband then why her husband is not entitled such rights? Is it due to the popular belief that men are fearless, they are not vulnerable to discrimination? 

I must say that we all, both men or women should understand that the law is to ensure justice to all, but the laws protecting women should not destabilize the society, should not end peace, and should not create fear in the society.  

We must understand that we don’t have always ‘SITA’ in every frame of a woman. Being a woman, we should not turn noble laws into legal terrorism. There are instances where woman makes false accusations perform second marriage thereby concealing the first one, cheat many males at a time, and what not.
Ironically, when a woman cheats several men and when a suit is filed against her, she takes the help of those protective laws in the name of dowry demand or harassment.

You must be aware of the horrifying incident of Boys Locker Room where the teenage boys from South Delhi shared obscene images of minor girls and commented on their bodies.
This was the Instagram scandal that started in May 2020 and flared in the news channels when a girl from South Delhi shared the screenshots of the chat room thereby exposing the concerned group. The chats showed that the boys while commenting upon the bodies of underage girls were planning for the gang rapes. Ironically, a new twist came up when the policy investigated the Snapchat conversations and it was found that it was a girl who posed herself as a boy to lay out the plan of sexual assault. This was done by a girl only to demonize the character of the boy she was talking to.

However, after the interrogation, police found that these conversations have nothing to do with the Boys Locker Room Case. Therefore, this case was not a shut and we can figure out how uncomfortable a woman with bad intend, can make a man. Again the vital question was whether the women will realize that feminism is not a one-upmanship but is a fight for equality?

The Recent Taliban’s Controversy & Women Rights in India

Well, the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan for around 5 years, i.e., from the year 1996-2001, are coming back in the same form. Same form? What does this mean?
The same form depicts the dominant force and the strict guidelines through which the Taliban wants to have the nation as an Islamic Emirate.

 Now the question that strikes each and every person’s mind is that how Sharia Law (the legal system of Islam) is a threat to women? Why women are fearing the Taliban regime and what sough of restrictions the women faced earlier? 

Now every religion has its own beliefs. Likewise, Islam follows Sharia law that is characterized by the ban of music, videos, and television. Further, the people who fail to trim their beards or fails to pray five times a day are subject to beating. This kind of practice is mostly followed in Islamic countries such as Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

 But how do such strict practices and beliefs hampers the peace of Islamic women? Whether Sharia law is restrictive or confining in nature? What are the implications of such governing law for the women who reside in Afghanistan?

Let us go through the restrictions that existed earlier in a thorough manner to have a clear vision of what women in Afghanistan are fearing due to the return of the Taliban’s rule!

Discrimination against Women under Taliban’s Rule

Under the rule of the Taliban, women were subject to oppressive restrictions and undesirable limitations, devoid of any women protective laws.

The women were used to remain under house arrest because they were not allowed to work and to receive formal education. Furthermore, no women were allowed to leave their homes without being accompanied by a male member of the family. 

In addition to these, no woman was allowed to wear high heels because according to the Taliban’s belief, it created a sound while walking and intolerance among males by hearing such a sound.
Also, no stranger was expected to hear the voice of a woman while she is speaking or conversating in public places. There were restrictions on the display of pictures of women in books, newspapers, and shops. The women were not even allowed to appear on the balconies of their houses.

Under the Taliban rule, the appearance of women or her name/picture was not at all appreciated. In a circumstance where any woman was found in violation of any rules or restrictions, she was subjected to the brutal practice of public beating and faced humiliation. Not only this, women were sometimes subjected to stoning and public executions.

Taliban tried to picture themselves as a moderate force rather than the old dominant force. It promised and vowed on respecting the rights of women unlike in the previous rule. It stated that women this time would have the freedom to education and word up to the university level.

Women's Equality Day
                                                                 Women’s Equality Day

Author’s Opinion

I being a woman strongly feel that to overcome the still existing discrimination against women and men both, we must together address them by introducing suitable laws but it shouldn’t be favouring completely either men or women. Because although women have numerous rights available to them if women misuse their rights and threaten others and still are safe, then we don’t need these protective laws and rights. Unfortunately, not only men but women also are perpetrators of heinous crimes. 

Women must be entitled to protective rights but it should not be sacrificing the peace of anyone. A well-behaved woman is the one who makes genuine and fair use of her rights in society with the object to eliminate wrong practices against women but not to hurt the sentiments of men.

Feminism is something that always stood up concerning the rights of women. As we know, that the issue of women rights is not something new to us but have been subject to constant struggle.

 

Also, don’t forget to read about the leading women in 2021

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