Authors: Diksha Saini, BBA.LLB (H), NMIMS, Indore and Muskan Garg, B.A.LLB (H), NMIMS, Indore
“The story of Women’s Struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights- Gloria Steinem”
Feminism is a radical idea that safety for women is more important than sentiments for men.
- In the reign of Sati, Seeta, Savitri, Draupadi and many other outstanding personality ladies, women’s roles are not that much great as was
- They cannot disregard the influence of women. The evidence of this was in itself history.
Earlier it was claimed there is nothing more harmful than spurned women.
- No one even knows The Ramayana ‘s narrative, if the goddess Sita not been stolen. Mahabharata’s great war may not have begun, if Draupadi’s modesty wasn’t outraged at all.
- So, history itself is a proof of what a woman was capable of doing.
Many misguided people falsely assign various social evils to Hindu practices toward women in Indian society. Women were respected and venerated right from the Vedic times. The strongest example of this is the Hindu mythology, in which Lakshmi is the goddess of riches and prosperity, Saraswathi, the goddess of learning and Durga, the goddess of strength. As the popular Sanskrit sloka states, where women are honoured and revered, divinity dwells there and where women are not honoured all acts are fruitless. India is in reality personified as Bharat Mata and the names of rivers Saraswati, Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri.
WOMEN, ‘it’s not just a term, it’s just a world.
Indian women have made outstanding contributions in numerous fields including, among others, governance, arts, literature, sport and culture. Women are increasingly being taken into the armed forces’ battle system and the country has officially recognized the recruitment of the first three women fighter pilots. Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Sakshi Malik, Deepa Karmakar and Mary Kom are some household names from the field of sport, though back in 1984 Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to summit Mount Everest. There have been many examples of women breaking the glass ceiling and reaching new frontiers. Gender equality should be a priority of every person and not just women. It should also be one and all’s efforts to advocate for equal work, equal pay, equal citizenship and equal representation for women and eradicate any forms of bias toward them. It is time to bring an end to discrimination against women in the name of tradition, practice or personal law, as in the case of triple talaq. Since the very historic era, women have become an unbreakable part of society and women’s role in every area of life is getting better and better. But there has been a myth created in society from a very long time that men are always important and better than women. It can be because of the conservative community that has been trapped in India for quite a long time. Yet, in fact, it can be said as the human being’s accreditation that the sons are the keys to taking the future forward. Now, back to the issue, India’s government has taken and continues to take a number of measures to improve and maintain women ‘s protection in India. However, the initiatives will only be effective until the country’s citizens learn about it on their own. Isn’t it shocking? A country of approximately 1.25 billion people, in which only 48.04 per cent (approx.) are females, has to face such a scary situation. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, from the last year, the crime rate against women has been raised by around 5 per cent. Also, India’s legal system is said to be the best legal system in the world, but where women’s safety is involved it also lacks everywhere. Is that not an issue of concern? Women’s safety agenda is not just about a particular age i.e. it’s not like, the safety of only those women who are working-class or who generally decide to step into the outside world rather than sitting at home is threatened. Now, it’s been a question of any single generation, whether it’s a 5-year- old girl or a 6-month-old infant, or a 30-year-old lady or an elderly disabled woman; none is free. The nation has also seen incidents of 20-year-old girl raped and a 6-month-old infant abused. Yeah, that’s no longer an age problem. In other instances, it becomes the so-called Men Community’s reputation problem. And how does a woman manage that? How does a woman do that? No, she shouldn’t be doing this. She isn’t meant for those stuff. Girls are used as perpetrators not only in instances of rape but also in instances of molestation, dowry and much others. A case recently came to the limelight where a lady I.A.S. officer quit owing to the abuse issue that some senior officers faced at the workplace.
Dr B.R. Ambedkar declared the Constitution ‘A living document.’ That implies that it must grow with the course of time and its specifications. Thus, the law was very involved in addressing the evolving needs of society, particularly for the country’s women. Several cases have been seen, the latest are-‘ Triple Talaq Act (particularly Talaq-ul-biddat) or Sec. 497[i]1 Indian Penal Code declaration as unconstitutional. Yet the dilemma a woman confronts here is that, because of the legal procedure that requires too much time, she needs to wait a very long time to seek justice. Because of that the offender’s arrest rate is so low relative to the charge sheet submitted.
As an example, the defendants only received the black warrant in the year 2012 in the ‘Nirbhaya Gang-rape case but were executed in 2020. This illustrates exactly how poor the country’s justice system is.
Women are not safe, whether they are in their homes, in public places or in the workplace. Given the number of crimes committed against women, it is appropriate for women to be aware of the laws that are in place to protect them.
We can take example of Nirbhaya case where the girl received justice after 8 long years. This is not the only case that shows how bad is our Indian Judiciary system, there are lot many other cases. We don’t only need laws to protect women & their dignity but also a fast justice providing system. As Nirbhaya’s mother puts it, “We are hopeful. We have been waiting for it. It is not easy till the time we get their death warrant and the date.”[ii]2 Her father also said that “There is no time-bound procedure for filing mercy or review petitions. There should be a fixed duration of cases, he says it is understandable that trial courts take time because they have to hear both parties and examine evidence, but high courts and Supreme Court should not take time since they only have to examine the judgement of the lower court. It should not go on for long and should be made online. Cases in HC and SC should not go on for more than a fortnight.”[iii]
The only law India has for women protection is “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 introduced changes to the Indian Penal Code, making sexual harassment an expressed offence under Section 354 A[iv], which is punishable up to three years of imprisonment and or with fine. The Amendment also introduced new sections making acts like disrobing a woman without consent, stalking and sexual acts by person in authority an offense. It also made acid attacks a specific offence with a punishment of imprisonment not less than 10 years and which could extend to life imprisonment and with fine.”
As regards the protection of life and liberty under the Constitution, in the case of Vishakha v State of Rajasthan[v] the Supreme Court of India held that the
“primary responsibility for ensuring such safety and dignity through suitable legislation, and the creation of a mechanism for its enforcement, is of the legislature and the executive”
It is evident from the above that, under the Constitution, the executive and the legislature of the Union of India are obliged to pass or amend laws that effectively resolve any danger to the protection of women, and hence their constitutionally assured rights to security and integrity. It is argued that stalking in any form constitutes an infringement of this fundamental right to live with dignity, since a stalker invades their personal physical and mental space, harassing them and forcing them to live in fear and make adverse changes to their daily lives. This is despite the more direct breaches of the right to life and personal freedom that stalking can entail. But neither the legislative nor the executive nor the judiciary are using the laws properly that are made for the benefit of women. Women are also fighting to achieve fair protection in developed countries such as India. It is very distressing to see that in 2020, as the world moves toward an economic and technological revolution, we continue to fight for equal rights. It’s disturbing to see that the Indian women tend to be mistreated, marginalized and abused.
Stalking is an offence which is punishable so report it, don’t avoid it. Stalking was added as an offence as Section 354D[vi] of The Indian Penal Code under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. We know this law has already come into force but still women do not get reports filed. What do you think could be the reason? The only reason for this is that some women do not file reports due to fear in it and some are intimidated. So, the police leave them as cases of trivial matters. Our most important role is to keep the woman of our society safe. The laws made for them should be used properly. The laws that have been made for women are only about talking no one has been enacted.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS:
Now, the excerpt from the whole story is to make you (the reader) understand and think what women’s position in society actually is. Like the title itself suggests the citizens are just thinking about the case, rather than working on it. In today’s world, where every person is busy dealing with his or her own world and personal problems. Social Media is the maximum a person can give his time to anyone. The social media community has spread enormously across the country, which can be used to address the issue of women’s security. The best example of this was the # Me-too movement that came to the fore in India when Actor Nana patekar was accused of sexual harassment by the famous Indian actress Tanushree Dutta. It became very famous afterwards, and was largely used by the females to express their mental distress. It’s not about what everyone should be doing today, but now it’s about what everyone has to do. Because, now it’s such a widespread problem that it may not happen today but with any of our family members as well. Some measures that can be taken are: Moral Education (This should be the education taught by family members not by any school or any other institution) and Environment (This means environment in which a person lives freely and developed his personality).
Some changes and insertions required by the law are:
- Indian Penal Code, 1860- Some section should be inserted for the adolescent girls, as they too face bullying and molestation by the boys of young age in school and
- Immoral Traffic (prevention) Act,1956- The punishment for keeping a brothel is too small compared to the seriousness of the offense committed by that particular
“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has the right to participate in the minutest details in the activities of man, and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. She is entitled to a supreme place in her own sphere of activity as man is in his. This ought to be the natural condition of things and not as a result only of learning to read and write. By sheer force of a vicious custom, even the most ignorant and worthless men have been enjoying a superiority over woman which they do not deserve and ought not to have. Many of our movements stop half way because of the condition of our women.”
[i] The Indian Penal Code, S.497
[ii] Nirbhaya’s parents seek time-bound justice, (21-05-20, 17:56), https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/nirbhayas-parents-seek-time-bound- justice/articleshow/72671562.cms?from=mdr
[iii] id. at 2
[iv] The Indian Penal Code, S.354 A
[v] AIR 1997 SC 3011.
[vi] The Indian Penal Code, S.354D
[vii] M. K. Gandhi, Speeches and Writings. G. A. Natesan & Company, Madras, 1933.
7 M. K. Gandhi, Speeches and Writings. G. A. Natesan & Company, Madras, 1933.