The world conference on human rights was held in Vienna in 1993 to deliberate on the issue of elimination of discrimination on the ground of sex. The women's world conference was held in China in 1995. in that conference also certain resolutions were passed regarding the equal status of women. At an International level, it is accepted that women's rights are human rights.
At an International level, the doctrine of gender justice is widely accepted. In the constitution of India also, equality of male and female gender is accepted. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, has accepted the right to equality.Therefore, all human rights and were conferred by the Constitution of India on every person and are available to women also. In order to achieve the object of Article 14, the Indian Parliament has passed certain Laws like Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 etc. In India under the Indian Penal Code, there are certain provisions which protect human rights of women.
Violation of Human rights of women in India-
In spite of constitutional provisions of equality, women's human rights are being violated everywhere in India. In the field of marriage, divorce and adoption women's human rights are being violated. in other words women's rights in these fields Are limited in comparison to those their male counterparts. It is because of these enactments are largely based on religion and its traditions. for example, among Hindus in the sphere of coparcenary, women are excluded. similarly a female member of Hindu undivided family partition. these are not only instances of Human Rights violation but also of injustice. Sexual harassment is a violation of human rights. But in India, most of the cases of sexual harassment are not reported to the police.
Women have right to protect their person or body from being violated by men. In the world and in India also women belongs to weaker-section of the community, In most circumstances unable to secure their person and honor and need keen and immediate relief from the Court in such matters.
In the Indian Penal Code,1860 there are certain offenses against women which have been well dealt with by the provision of this code.
Protection of women's Human Rights under the criminal laws of India (IPC) -
- Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (Section 354) -
Section 354 of the Indan Penal Code says that, whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Causing Miscarriage (Section 312) -
According to Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code, whoever voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry, shall if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both; and, if the woman be quick with child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation- A woman who causes herself to miscarry, is within the meaning of this section.
- Causing miscarriage without woman's consent (Section 313) -
Section 313 of the IPC says that, whoever commits the offence defined in the last preceding section without the consent of the woman, whether the woman is quick with child or not, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth (Section 315) -
According to this Section, whoever before the birth of any child does any act with the intention of thereby preventing that child from being born alive or causing it to die after its birth, and does by such act prevent that child from being born alive, or causes it to die after its birth, shall, if such act be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.
- Punishment for rape.(Section 376)
Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code Provides Punishment for rape it says that -
(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2) commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
(a) being a police officer commits rape-
(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is appointed; or
(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or
(iii) on a woman in his custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or
(b) being a public servant, commits rape on a woman in such public servant's custody or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to such public servant; or
(c) being a member of the armed forces deployed in an area by the Central or by State Government commits rape in such area; or
(d) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a women's or children's institution, commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or
(e) being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or
(f) being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman; or
(g) commits rape during communal or sectarian violence; or
(h) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
(i) commits rape on a woman when she is under sixteen years of age; or
(j) commits gang rape; or
(k) commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent; or
(l) being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman; or
(m) commits rape on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability; or
(n) while commiting rape causes grievious bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a woman; or
(o) commits rape repeatedly on the same woman, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine.
- Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim(Section 376A) -
Section 376 says that whoever, commits an offence punishable under sub-section (1) or subsection (2) of section 376 and in the course of such commission inflicts an injury which causes the death of the woman or causes the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life, or with death.
- Sexual intercourse by the husband upon his wife during separation (Section 376B) -
Whoever has sexual intercourse with his own wife, who is living separately, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise, without her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In this section, "sexual intercourse" shall mean any of the acts mentioned in clauses (a) to (d) of section 375.
- Sexual intercourse by a person in authority (Section 376C) -
According to Section 376C of the Indian Penal Code, whoever, being -
(a) in a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship; or
(b) a public servant; or
(c) superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force, or a women's or children's institution; or
(d) on the management of a hospital or being on the staff of a hospital, abuses such position or fiduciary relationship to induce or seduce any woman either in his custody or under his charge or present in the premises to have sexual intercourse with him, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years, but which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Gang Rape (Section 376D)
Where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life, and with fine: Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim: Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.
- Disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offenses, etc. (Section 228A) -
Offences against marriage (Section 493 to 498 IPC) -
- Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage (Section 493)
According to Section 493 of Indian Penal Code - Every man who by deceit causes any woman who is not lawfully married to him to believe that she is lawfully married to him and to cohabit or have sexual intercourse with him in that belief, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife (Section 494) -
Section 494 of Indian Penal Code provides that whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
This section does not extend to any person whose marriage with such husband or wife has been declared void by a Court of competent jurisdiction, nor to any person who contracts a marriage during the life of a former husband or wife, if such husband or wife, at the time of the subsequent marriage, shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years, and shall not have been heard of by such person as being alive within that time provided the person contracting such subsequent marriage shall, before such marriage takes place, inform the person with whom such marriage is contracted of the real state of facts so far as the same are within his or her knowledge.
- Same offence with concealment of former marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted (Section 495)
According to Section 495 of I.P.C whoever commits the offence defined in the last preceding section having concealed from the person with whom the subsequent marriage is contracted, the fact of the former marriage, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage (Section 496) -
According to Section 496 of Indian penal code whoever, dishonestly or with a fraudulent intention, goes through the ceremony of being married, knowing that he is not thereby lawfully married, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Adultery (Section 497) :
Section 497 of Indian Penal Code provides that whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
- Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman (Section 498) :
Section 498 of Indian Penal Code Provides that whoever takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of any other man, from that man, or from any person having the care of her on behalf of that man, with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, or conceals or detains with that intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
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