Know your rights: staying safe in India’s rape capital
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
Despite increased media scrutiny of violence against women after the Dec. 16 gang rape case, such incidents continue to be reported in and around New Delhi — now holder of the infamous title, “India’s rape capital.”
It’s unfair to expect women to no longer step outside their homes, but it’s best to be prepared. Carry pepper spray. Take a self-defence course. Learn kickboxing or Krav Maga. Most importantly, be aware of your legal rights.
Here’s a look at some of these laws in the Constitution, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
For word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (Section 509 IPC)
Punished by simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or fine, or both.
Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty (Section 354 IPC)
Punished by imprisonment which may extend to two years, or fine, or both.
Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty (Section 498A IPC)
Punished by imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, also liable to fine.
Dowry death (Section 304B IPC)
Punished by imprisonment for a term not less than seven years but may extend to life imprisonment.
In case of an investigation, no male under 15 or a woman can be investigated at any place other than their residence (Section 160 CrPC)
Save in exceptional circumstances, no woman shall be arrested after sunset and before sunrise (Section 46(1: 4) CrPC)
Where a woman is suspected of concealing any article for which search should be made, the search shall be made by another woman with strict regard to decency. (Section 100(3) CrPC)
Prohibition of publication or sending by post of books, pamphlets, etc. containing indecent representation of women (The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986)
Punishable on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years.
Sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal)
Bill includes any unwelcome act or behaviour directly or by implication of physical contact and advances, or a demand or request for sexual favours, or making sexually coloured remarks or showing pornography or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature. (Expending the 1997 Vishaka verdict)
Equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d) in the Constitution)
State to make a provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42 in the Constitution)
(With legal inputs from Pinky Anand, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India)
(You can follow Anuja on Twitter at @anujajaiman)