Women Rights in India Empowering Women Through Legal Awareness

Women Rights in India: Empower Women with Legal Awareness

This article on ‘Women Rights in India: Empower Women with Legal Awareness’ was written by Toya Sen, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


Women in today’s India are independent, have successful careers, and excel in all fields of life, but crimes against women occur daily. Though her social standing has immensely improved, discrimination against females in the country is still at an all-time high. In many parts of India, even before a girl child is born, she is subjected to crimes such as female foeticide and infanticide. This occurs because of the preference of a male child in our society. Most women are subjected to crimes like sexual harassment and rape in the early stages of life.

Therefore, every woman needs to know the laws that have been set in place by our Indian legal system for the protection and empowerment of women.

8 Laws that Empower Women Rights in India

  1. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006:

In India, child marriage has a deep-rooted history; it has been prevalent in our country for centuries, even before colonization. In 1929, the British Government introduced the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 to eradicate child marriages in India. After independence, this act was replaced by the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) of 2006, which was introduced by the Indian Government with the main aim of prohibiting child marriages of underage girls and boys.

This Act includes various measures to make child marriage illegal and to protect the rights of the victims while punishing those who encourage, conduct, and facilitate such marriages. According to this act, men should be at least 21 years old, and women must have attained the age of 18 before getting married. Any marriage that involves individuals below the mentioned ages is considered child marriage and is punishable by law.

Section 3 of the PCMA states that a marriage can be annulled if one of the parties at the time is a minor. Also, Section 5 of this act specifies that children born from such marriages before the termination of their marriage shall be considered legitimate children.

Section 10 of the PCMA deals with the punishment for this crime. A fine of up to 1 lakh rupees and rigorous imprisonment of 2 years would be imposed on those who abet, conduct, perform, or direct a child marriage. Similar punishments would be given to those individuals who promote child marriages, attend such marriages, allow them to be solemnised, or choose to ignore them.

  1. Right to dignity and decency:

The law recognises a woman’s dignity and decency and protects them as well. If any person tries to violate a woman’s modesty or commits offences like sexual harassment, assault to disrobe, outraging modesty, or stalking, they can be criminally charged for it. A woman who herself has committed an offence or has been accused of an offence while being arrested should be treated with dignity and decency. Her arrest and search should be conducted by a female police officer, and her medical examination should be carried out by a female medical practitioner under the supervision of a female officer.

In cases that involve rape, if possible, the First Information Report (FIR) should be registered by a female officer for the comfort of the victim. Moreover, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset or before sunrise unless there is special permission from the magistrate to do so. These provisions make sure that women are protected and are treated fairly and with dignity during legal procedures.

  1. Women Right against Domestic Violence:

Every woman has the right to be protected against domestic violence, thanks to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act enacted in 2005. Domestic violence can be defined as physical, mental, sexual, economic, and any form of abuse perpetrated by your partner, husband, his relatives, or any person who is related to you by blood. It also includes those individuals who live with you or have lived with you in the same household. Any daughter, wife, mother, or woman can seek remedies provided by this act.

By registering or contacting the women’s helpline at “1091,” your case would be reported to the police. Victims of this crime can also approach the women’s cell in their locality to complain against the perpetrator. Furthermore, the Indian Penal Code protects women facing domestic violence under Section 498A, which allows for the punishment of the husband or his relatives with imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine.

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  1. Women Rights at the Workplace:

A woman has several rights with regards to her workplace. One of them having the right to a women’s toilet. Moreover, if an organisation has more than 30 women workers, that organisation must provide facilities for the care and feeding of children. In the case of Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court of India laid down guidelines for the protection of women in workplaces. Following this, in 2013, the Parliament passed and enacted the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013.

If anyone at your workplace asks you for sexual favours, makes sexually coloured remarks, whistles or sings obscene songs while looking at you, touches you inappropriately, or shows pornography, it constitutes sexual harassment. In such cases, you can file a complaint with the Internal Complaints Committee, which should be established by the employer at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.

The District Officer is also required to establish a Local Complaints Committee in each district and, if necessary, at the block level. Furthermore, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) penalises sexual harassment under Section 354A, which carries an imprisonment term of 1 to 3 years.

  1. Right to Equal Pay:

The laws in India are gender-neutral. Therefore, as per the Equal Remuneration Act, a male and a female are entitled to the same pay for the same work. It ensures that there is no discrimination based on gender and that the workers are getting equal remuneration for work of similar nature. This also includes the recruitment and service conditions a worker is put through.

  1. Women Right against Dowry:

The practice of the dowry system, which involves giving or accepting dowry by the bride, groom, or their parents before, during, or after the marriage, is strictly prohibited and penalized by the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. According to the Act, “dowry” is defined as any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given directly or indirectly from one party to the other.

However, it does not include dower or mahr, which are specific to individuals governed by Muslim personal law (Shariat). Engaging in the act of giving, taking, or assisting in the exchange of dowry is considered a punishable offense. The Dowry Prohibition Act stipulates a minimum imprisonment of 5 years and a minimum fine of Rs. 15,000 for individuals found guilty of such actions.

  1. Right to Maintenance:

Maintenance covers essential needs like food, shelter, healthcare, etc. A woman is entitled to receive maintenance even after divorce from her husband until she gets married. The amount that the husband has to pay is based on several factors, such as the wife’s standard of living, his income, and their circumstances.

Under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, an obligation is imposed on the husband to provide maintenance to his divorced wife until and unless the wife has engaged in adultery, refuses to live with him, or they have agreed mutually to separate. This section allows women, regardless of their caste and religion, to receive maintenance.

  1. Right to Free Legal Aid:

In India, under the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987, a woman is entitled to receive free legal aid. If a woman is in trouble and needs legal help, she has the right approach to this authority. The Legal Service Authority is at the district, state, and national levels, and these institutions help in assisting in cases or other legal procedures.


The indian legal system has a multitude of laws under it for the protection of women from various crimes as well as protecting women rights in India. These eight laws are some of the most important ones that every woman should be aware of. Only if you are aware of your rights can you fight any injustice that has been committed against you, whether it takes place online, in public, at the workplace, or even at home.

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