3 Laws Related To Women Which Need To Be Amended NOW!
One of the most important catalysts of social change is the law. Agreed? According to Emile Durkheim, a sociologist, the prevailing type of law is an indication of the type of society, and changes in law signal the nature and type of social change. Thus, to bring about a change in status of women in society it is essential that a change should be brought about in the law and the legal system. This is one of the many reasons that after our constitution came to power, and Article 14 provided equality to all and there was an improvement in the status of women in society. It is with this rationale that various legislations have been enacted to protect and promote various interests of women, for example- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, The Dowry Prohibition Act etc. All of these legislations have indeed had an impact on society, however, they do suffer from a few loopholes, and to make them effective it is important that these are amended to remedy these shortcomings.
Below are three recent laws which need to be changed immediately-
1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 As the name suggests, this act was aimed at reducing incidents of domestic violence towards women. Further, this act has many provisions, some noteworthy provision is- the wide definition of domestic violence, information of the act/acts of domestic violence need not be from the aggrieved only anyone can file a complaint on her behalf, and the wide definition of respondent i.e. the perpetrator of violence. However, there are indeed some flaws in its implementation and execution. One of the most gaping flaw is that regarding the appointment of Protection Officer. As per the provision of the act the PO is the fulcrum around which the implementation of the whole act revolves, he has many duties important among them are- to assists the Magistrate to discharge his function, to ensure shelter home and other welfare facilities like Legal Aid are provided to the victim and to monitor other service providers. Most of the protection officers are hold the additional post and thus do not provide their hundred percent to the job. Apart from that majority of them are men thus victimized women do not feel safe approaching them. To correct this, the government should recruit separate PO and should endeavor to increase the number of female protection officers.
2. Sexual Harassment of Women in Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: This act was passed in 2013 with an objective to protect women against sexual harassment at the workplace and to put in place a redressal mechanism to handle complaints. The act has many shortcomings, some of them are-It leave it to the Internal Committee to decide monetary fine to be paid by the perpetrator, this is decided on the basis of income and financial status, thus provides scope for inequality and discrimination. Further agriculture workers and army personnel are also excluded from the ambit of this act. To make this act effective these flaws should be rectified. However this does not mean that the act does not have redeeming features, though it has been based on Vishaka guidelines issued by the Supreme Court but it went further and included various other issues like definition of workplace and thus made it more comprehensive and gave it legislative approval.
3. Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013: The Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed to repeal the ordinance of the same name; it was based on the recommendation of Verma Committee which was constituted after the 2012 Delhi Rape case. It has created many new offenses for the protection of woman against acid attacks (Sec. 326A and 326B), sexual harassment (Sec. 345A), voyeurism (Sec. 345C), and stalking (Sec. 345D), enlarged the definition of rape (Sec. 375) in IPC. However, it is not free from anomalies. One of the most gaping loophole of this act is that offences such as sexual harassment; voyeurism and stalking have been made gender-specific. Also, there is no provision for marital rape in the law. These laws have been effective to a certain extent; however no law is perfect, it is via amendment that it remains dynamic and relevant.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article is written by Alifya Vora, our intern.