Crime against Women in India

Introduction

India has witnessed a huge number of crimes in the past few years and especially, the crime rates increased against women and is becoming common in this society. The Indian parliament has enacted some laws to protect rights for girls/ women to make their social life easier. There are various crimes against women and there are also provisions to protect women’s rights under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other various special laws.

A different phase of crime against women

Pre-birth – sex-selective abortion; battering during pregnancy.
Infancy –female infanticide; emotional and physical abuse; different access to food and medical care.
Girlhood –child marriage; genital mutilation; sexual abuse; medical care and education
Adolescences –violence during courtship; trafficking; rape; sexual harassment workplace
Reproductive age – physical; psychological; forced pregnancy by the husband; abuse of widows; property gambling; sexual abuse by an intimate male partner
Elderly –abuse of widows; property grabbing; the accusation of witch crafting; physical and psychological abuse.

Domestic violence

It can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner by abuse which may be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, emotional, brutality, or cruelty.

A woman leaves her house to start a new life with her partner with lots of dreams, hopes which gets destroyed after her marriage and results in suicide of newly married bride; depression.
There is an act to protect from domestic violence which includes injuring a woman in a domestic relationship be; physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, economic abuse. In this act only females can be victims, adult males who have been in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved women, and female relatives of the husband can be made respondent, a live-in relationship is also protected.

There are certain rights to aggrieved under the act, are ;
1) Right to reside in the shared household
2) Protection orders issued to the respondent, for the victim’s safety
3) Monetary relief
4) Full custody of children may be given to the victim
5) Penalty to the respondent for not following orders
6) Penalty to Protection Officer for not taking action

Female infanticide

It is nothing less than killing an unborn child just because of her gender. It also can be called sex-selective abortion. As per the study of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, 11 Crores female infanticide cases have taken place in India. India has been ranked in 4th position by the United Nations Population funds in the year 2016.

The Maternity Bill 2017 of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 was passed in Rajya Sabha on 11/08/2016 and, in Lok Sabha on 09/03/2017 and had received assent from President of India on 27/03/2017. The Maternity Benefit Act aims to regulate employment of women employees in certain establishments for a certain period before and after childbirth and provides for maternity and certain other benefits. However, the Act does not apply to any such factory/another establishment to which the provisions of the Employees State Insurance Act are applicable for the time being.

According to the act, maternity benefit means every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit, which is the amount payable to women at the ratio of the regular daily wage for the period of her actual absence. In the Act, any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit 12 weeks in all whether used before or after childbirth. However, she cannot take more than six weeks before her expected delivery.

Prior to the amendment of 1989, a woman employee was not benefited from the six weeks leave preceding the date of her delivery; she was entitled to only six weeks leave following the day of her delivery. However, by the above amendment, the position has now been changed. In this instance, if an employee does not benefit from six weeks leave before the date of her delivery, she would be benefited from that leave after her delivery, provided the total leave period, i.e. preceding and following the day of her delivery does not exceed 12 weeks.
According to the maternity benefit act every employee, whether employed through a contractor or directly, who has worked in the organization for at least 80 days during the 12 months immediately previous to the date of her expected delivery, the woman is entitled to receive maternity benefits provided in the act.

In favor of conniving the number of days on which a woman has worked during the previous 12 months, the days on which she has been laid off or was on holidays with wages shall also be counted. There is neither any restriction as regards to the type of work a woman is engaged in nor there is a wage maximum for coverage under the Maternity Benefit Act. Thus, The Maternity Benefit Act not only talks about the benefit of women but also the penalties for those who violate the rules in the act. For failure to pay maternity benefit as provided for under this Act is a penalty fine up to Rs. 5000 and imprisonment up to 1 year. For dismissal or discharge of a woman as provided for under the Act, the penalty is imprisonment up to one year and a fine up to Rs. 5000.

Dowry Death

Dowry death is the suicide of the woman under the pressure of her in-laws or murdered by continuous harassment and torture of her husband and in-laws. Most of the dowry death occurs when a married woman who by ample of expectations and aspirations, enters into the new family of her husband finds all her expectations being shattered and she is subject to continuous violence and harassment from in-laws and husband to their dissatisfaction in dowry receiving.
India has by far the highest number of dowry-related deaths in the world according to the Indian National Crime Record Bureau. In 2012, 18,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. This means a bride was burned every 90 minutes, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.

The Dowry Prohibition Act,1961 came into force which is a big relief to many women in India according to this act “dowry” is defined as ‘any property or valuable security is given or agreed to be given directly or indirectly’ –

a. By one party to a marriage to the other party to a marriage; or
b. By the parents of either party to the marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or any other person; at or before [or any time after marriage] [in connection with the marriage of the said parties but does not include ] dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom ‘Muslim Personal Law (Shariat)’ applies.

Sec.3 and Sec.4 of this act penalizes giving, taking, and demanding of dowry at any point before or after the marriage.

Sec.4A also bans advertisements extending the offer of dowry.

Sec.8 talks about the burden of proof which lies upon the person who took or demanded dowry: where any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of any dowry under Sec.3 or demanding the dowry under Sec.4 the burden of proving that he had not committed an offense under those sections shall be on him.
Dowry Demand is a criminal offense under Sec.304B and Sec.498A of the Indian Penal Code,1860.

Rape

Rape is recognized as a human right violation in the world. It is not only a physical violation of the body of the victim but also the violation of her mental, psychological and emotional sensitivities. Rape is the most heinous crime which not only affects the victim at the instance of the crime but leads to a prolonged traumatic effect on her life.
Rape is defined under Sec.375 of Indian Penal Code, A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-

  1. Against her will.
  2. Without her consent.
  3. With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.
  4. With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  5. With or without her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  6. With or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age. Explanation –Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offense of rape.

Exception –sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age is not rape.

Sexual Harassment

It is generally known as molestation. Whereas Emotional assault is a threat, continuous criticism, manipulation. The assault need not always be physical. Sexual assault may be of different types i.e. groping, touching inappropriately, and stalking, etc. whereas Emotional assault may be emotional blackmail, forced prostitution, and the like. These assaults may sometimes look trivial or mild but it is not so for someone who may go through the same. At times, it may be almost impossible for someone to understand what a woman goes through when such crimes take place.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is more to worry about, under-reporting than abusing the law. Examples of sexual harassment: sexual assault, unwanted deliberate touching, unwanted sexual teasing, whistling at someone, kissing sounds, touching an employee’s clothing, touching oneself sexually around another person.
In the landmark judgment of Vishaka and others v. the State of Rajasthan in 1997, the Supreme Court of India defined sexual harassment in the workplace, pronounced preventive, prohibitive, and remedial measures, and gave proposed guidelines. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a universal problem in the world be it a developed nation or a developing nation or an underdeveloped nation, atrocities and cruelties to women are common everywhere.

Conclusion

There are different types of crimes taking place against women in India. They are increasing at a very steady pace and it is known to all. It is certainly a pity that we know that these crimes happen every day and at every point but are unable to stop the same. It is doubted as to whether India is a safe place for women but if we are well aware of these laws and regulation we can easily make a movement in our self-defense as well as it takes a lot of courage to protect our self as women to fight against crime.
There are certain types of crime against a woman in India and laws which can be prohibiting them are mentioned in this article to make women knowledgeable and strong.

AUTHOR

Sampada sunil patil (BMS College of Law Bangalore)

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