Women Rights, Laws and Schemes in India


Textbook, 2015
207 Pages

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

LIST OF INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

LIST OF STATUTES

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 CRIME AGAINST WOMEN
1.3 SOCIAL ISSUES REGARDING WOMEN

CHAPTER II INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS
2.1 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (1948)
2.2 CONVENTION ON THE POLITICAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN (1952)
2.3 INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (1966)
2.4 INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (1966)
2.5 DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN EMERGENCY AND ARMED CONFLICT (1974)
2.6 CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (1979)
2.7 DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (1993)
2.8 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON DEMOCRACY (1997)
2.9 OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (1999)
2.10 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (ICERD)

CHAPTER III CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
3.1 FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
3.2 FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
3.3 STATE OBLIGATIONS

CHAPTER IV SOCIAL WELFARE LAWS
4.1 THE CONTRACT LABOR (REGULATION AND ABOLITION) ACT, 1976
4.2 EQUAL REMUNERATION ACT, 1976
4.3 THE EMPLOYEES’ STATE INSURANCE ACT, 1948
4.4 PLANTATIONS LABOUR ACT, 1951
4.5 MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961
4.6 FACTORIES ACT
4.7 NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY ACT, 2013
4.8 FAMILY LAWS

CHAPTER V LAWS PROTECTING THE WOMEN
5.1 INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 (AS AMENDED THROUGH CRIMINAL LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2013)
5.2 THE DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT 1961
5.3 THE IMMORAL TRAFFIC (PREVENTION) ACT, 1956
5.4 THE MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY ACT, 1971 (ACT NO. 34 OF 1971)
5.5 THE CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT, 1929
5.6 THE INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN (PROHIBITION) ACT, 1986
5.7 THE COMMISSION OF SATI (PREVENTION) ACT, 1987
5.8 THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN ACT, 1990
5.9 PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005
5.10 SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) ACT, 2013
5.11 THE PRE-NATAL DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES (PROHIBITION OF SEX-SECTION) ACT, 1994
5.12 THE JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) AMENDEMENT ACT, 2006
5.13 THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT, 2012
5.14 THE PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT, 2006

CHAPTER VI AN EVALUATION OF SCHEMES EMPOWERING WOMEN
6.1 REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN FOR THE XI PLAN, 2006
6.2 NATIONAL POLICY FOR THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN (2001)
6.3 ONE STOP CENTRE SCHEME
6.4 BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO SCHEME
6.5 INDIRA GANDHI MATRITVA SAHYOG YOJANA (IGMSY) - A CONDITIONAL MATERNITY BENEFIT SCHEME
6.6 RAJIV GANDHI SCHEME FOR EMPOWERMENT OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS (RGSEAG): SABLA
6.7 SWADHAR GREH (A SCHEME FOR WOMEN IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES)
6.8 WORKING WOMEN HOSTEL SCHEME
6.9 SUPPORT TO TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME FOR WOMEN (STEP)
6.10 UJJAWALA: A COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME FOR PREVENTION OF TRAFFICKING AND RESCUE, REHABILITATION AND RE-INTEGRATION OF VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING AND COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
6.11 NARI SHAKTI PURASKAR
6.12 THE INTEGRATED CHILD PROTECTION SCHEME (ICPS)
6.13 GENDER BUDGETING SCHEME
6.14 SCHEME FOR WELFARE OF WORKING CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE AND PROTECTION
6.15 RAJIV GANDHI NATIONAL CRECHE SCHEME FOR THE CHILDREN OF WORKING MOTHERS
6.16 CHILDLINE SERVICES
6.17 THE NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE GIRL CHILD (1991-2000)
6.18 NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION (NPA), 2005
6.19 NATIONAL NUTRITION MISSION

CHAPTER VII FAILURES AND THE WAY AHEAD

BIBLIOGRAPHY

About the author

LIST OF INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

- Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (1948)
- Convention On The Political Rights Of Women (1952)
- International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights (1966)
- International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights (1966)
- Declaration On The Protection Of Women And Children In Emergency And Armed Conflict (1974)
- Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women (1979)
- Declaration On The Elimination Of Violence Against Women (1993)
- Universal Declaration On Democracy (1997)
- Optional Protocol To The Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women (1999)
- International Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination

LIST OF STATUTES

- Constitution of India
- The Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1976
- The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
- The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
- The Plantation Labor Act, 1951
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1986
- Family Laws
- National Food Security Act, 2013
- Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
- The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1979
- Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
- Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
- National Commission for Women Act, 1990
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
- The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
- The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition Of Sex Selection) Act, 1994
- Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Amendment Act, 2006
- Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012

PREFACE

The women have been since ages discriminated and dominated by the men who possess a mere excess of physical strength 0ver their counterparts. To some extent the decrease in morals, ethics and cultural values have lead to the increased crime against women. Educating the masses would be a first step for the Government.

To address this situation the global community has come forward and accorded diverse rights to women. These rights are bestowed through various international instruments as well as legislations at the national level.

This book chalks out those international conventions and covenants which not only grant women special rights but also protects them from discrimination, violence and sexual harassment.

Apart from these, the laws in India which protect and empower the women has been made subject of this book. Further the schemes which are mainly the Governmental actions apart from the legislature has been identified and brought out.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First and foremost, I thank God, on whose grace and inspiration I would stand tall in the journey of life.

I thank my Mother, though my thanks Is too little to her and I can’t express my gratitude in words for what I received from her, She who Sacrificed all her happiness for my success, She who is inspiration behind all my works, she who supported me when all the world was helpless, on whose labor today it is possible for me to complete my LL.M. Course, I once again thank to her, and to god for giving such kind hearted mother.

Lastly, I thank all those people, who by their hard work and labor set right everything for me in completion of this book.

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION

1.1 INTRODUCTION

The women in the modern era have been provided with innumerable rights through various international instruments as well as legislations at the national level. However it is very sad to say that even in the 21st century women are discriminated and sidelined in major decisions in the modern world. God has created all as equal. Most religion and culture promotes peace and equality. Some of the religions mandate the worshipping of Goddesses. Yet, there is incalculable number of cases of violence against women.

1.2 CRIME AGAINST WOMEN

According to the XII Five Year Plan Report of the Working Group on Women’s Agency and Empowerment, it is widely acknowledged that deep-rooted ideologies of gender bias and discrimination - the confinement of women to the private domestic realm, restrictions on their mobility and exclusion from the public political sphere continue to daunt the majority; and the entitlements and public services, which constitute the poor women's life line, do not reach them. Such social and structural barriers to women’s empowerment manifest themselves in various ways. Major amongst these is violence against women- in the home and outside. Violence against a woman affects her sense of self esteem, demolishes her self confidence and is often used as a potent tool of subjugation and disempowerment. The 2005-06 National Family Health Survey (NFHS- III) reported that one-third of women aged 15 to 49 had experienced physical violence, and approximately one in 10 had been a victim of sexual violence. The survey also found that that only one in four abused women had ever sought help, and that 54% of women believed it was justified for a husband to beat his wife. A study of the data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows the increasing incidence of crimes against women. The total number of crimes against women increased by 29.6 per cent between 2006 and 2010. Further, these numbers have to be viewed keeping in mind that not all crimes against women are reported. The actual numbers may give even greater cause for concern.

1.3 SOCIAL ISSUES REGARDING WOMEN

1. Inequality- Women have always been treated as weak because of their low physical strength compared to men. The society grew as a male dominated one since the man was physically able to overcome a woman. Women are discriminated in education, jobs, and other preferences.
2. Early Marriage: Early marriage effects the health of the women and also limits their option in life. It has also effected their freedom to pursue education and skill development.
3. Dowry: The harassment and death due to dowry is a big bane to the growth of the country. There has been legislations of recent origins to combat the issue but have been implemented ineffectively.
4. Crime against women: With the development of latest technology, newer forms of crimes and offences have evolved much to the distress and freedom of women in India.
5. Domestic Violence: The domestic violence is another area of concern for development. Harassment both physical and mental by the husband and his relatives has been on the rise despite new laws have been framed.
6. Female Infanticide and Feticide: The old fashioned thinking of men that a boy is necessary to carry on his legacy has created a sickness in the society and has been a worry for the sex ratio in the country.

7. Political Issues: The women are suppressed and kept out of the political sphere as well. Their empowerment depends upon political stand as well. As long as they are not a part of the administration and politics, India cannot develop.

CHAPTER II INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

2.1 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (1948)

The main objectives of the UDHR are as under:

- recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
- disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings will enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
- to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law
- faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
- to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms
The UDHR bestows to all the individual irrespective of whether the Declaration has been signed or not, the following rights upon all humans:
- All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.[1]
- Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.[2]
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.[3]
- No one will be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.[4]
- All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.[5]
- Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.[6]
- Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.[7]
- Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.[8]
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.[9]
- Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. 2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. 3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.[10]
- Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. 2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, will enjoy the same social protection.[11]
- Everyone has the right to education.[12]

2.2 CONVENTION ON THE POLITICAL RIGHTS OF WOMEN (1952)

The Convention on the Political Rights of Women was signed in New York in the year 1953. The Convention declared many rights to women and also provided the obligation of the States.

The nations who are party to the Convention desiring to implement the principle of equality of rights for men and women contained in the Charter of the United Nations, also recognizing that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or indirectly through freely chosen representatives, and has the right to equal access to public service in his country, and desiring to equalize the status of men and women in the enjoyment and exercise of political rights.

Other rights include-

- Women are entitled to vote in all elections on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.[13]
- Women are eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies, established by national law, on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.[14]
- Women will be entitled to hold public office and to exercise all public functions, established by national law, on equal terms with men, without any discrimination.[15]

2.3 INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (1966)

The Covenant was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976.

The Covenant gives away the following rights:

- All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of this right, they can freely determine their political status and can also freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.[16]
- All the countries to this Covenant have undertaken to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in this Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.[17]
- Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right is to be protected by law. No one can be arbitrarily deprived of his life.[18]
- No one will be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one will be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.[19]
- All persons deprived of their liberty will be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.[20]
- Everyone lawfully within the territory of a country will, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.[21]
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.[22]
- Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference and everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this right will include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.[23]
- The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family is also recognized.[24]
- All children have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.[25]
- All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law will prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.[26]

2.4 INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (1966)

This Covenant was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 entry into force 3 January 1976.

The Rights accorded through this Covenant are:

- All peoples have the right of self-determination. They can freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. All people can, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In any case people cannot be deprived of their own means of subsistence.[27]
- The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.[28]
- The countries to the present Covenant are required to recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:
- Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

- Safe and healthy working conditions;
- Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
- Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.[29]
- The countries to the present Covenant are also required to recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.[30]
- The countries to the present Covenant are required to recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.[31]
- The countries to the present Covenant are required to recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.[32]
- The countries to the present Covenant are required to recognize the right of everyone to education.[33]
- The countries to the present Covenant are required to recognize the right of everyone:
- To take part in cultural life;
- To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
- To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.[34]

2.5 DECLARATION ON THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN EMERGENCY AND ARMED CONFLICT (1974)

It was proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 3318 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974. The Declaration protects the women and children in emergency and armed conflict situations by creating certain obligations on the countries.

- Attacks and bombings on the civilian population, inflicting incalculable suffering, especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the population, must be prohibited, and such acts will be condemned.
- All efforts will be made by States involved in armed conflicts, military operations in foreign territories or military operations in territories still under colonial domination to spare women and children from the ravages of war. All the necessary steps will be taken to ensure the prohibition of measures such as persecution, torture, punitive measures, degrading treatment and violence, particularly against that part of the civilian population that consists of women and children.
- All forms of repression and cruel and inhuman treatment of women and children, including imprisonment, torture, shooting, mass arrests, collective punishment, destruction of dwellings and forcible eviction, committed by belligerents in the course of military operations or in occupied territories will be considered criminal.
- Women and children belonging to the civilian population and finding themselves in circumstances of emergency and armed conflict in the struggle for peace, self-determination, national liberation and independence, or who live in occupied territories, will not be deprived of shelter, food, medical aid or other inalienable rights, in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child or other instruments of international law.

2.6 CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (1979)

The Convention was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 entry into force 3 September 1981. The various rights and provisions of the Conventions are as under:

Article 1 defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Article 2 obliges nations:

- to condemn discrimination against women;
- to embody the principle of equality of men and women in their national constitutions, or other legislation;
- to adopt legislative measures, including sanctions, to prohibit discrimination against women;
- to establish legal protections against discrimination through national tribunals and other institutions; – to refrain from any act which discriminates against women and to ensure that public authorities and institutions also act accordingly;
- to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;
- to introduce legislation or other appropriate measures to modify or abolish laws, regulations, customs, and practices which constitute discrimination against women and repeal penal provisions which amount to discrimination against women.

Article 5 requires nations to modify social and cultural patterns of men and women to eliminate practices based on the idea of sex role stereotyping or the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes. States parties must also ensure that family education incorporates a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the common responsibility of men and women with respect to their children.

Article 6 requires nations to take appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress traffic in women and the exploitation of prostitution in women.

Article 7 requires nations to eliminate discrimination against women in public and political life. Women must be entitled to vote and be eligible for election on equal terms with men, to participate in the formulation of Government policy, and hold public office.

Article 8 nations that women are also to be given equal opportunity to represent their Governments and participate in the work of international organizations, such as the United Nations, and its associated organizations, specialized agencies, funds and programmes.

Article 9 requires nations to grant women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality

Article 10 requires nations to eliminate discrimination against women in education, in respect of access to studies at the pre-school, general, technical, professional, higher, technical and vocational training levels.

Article 11 obliges nations to take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in employment. Women are to be provided with the right to work on the basis of equality with men; the right to the same employment opportunities; to free choice of profession and employment; job security; benefits and vocational training and retraining, and apprenticeships. Steps are to be taken to ensure women the right to equal remuneration, including benefits, and equal treatment to work of equal value, as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the equality of work. Women are to be provided with the right to social security on the same basis as men, and the right to protection of health and safety at work, including in relation to reproduction. Specific measures are to be taken to prevent discrimination against women in employment on the basis of marriage, or maternity. Dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy, maternity leave or marital status, is to be prohibited, subject to sanctions. 16 Maternity leave with pay or comparable social benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social benefits is to be introduced. States are also called on to encourage the provision of support to enable parents to combine work and family responsibilities, as well as participation in public life, through the establishment of a network of childcare facilities. Special protection must be provided to women during pregnancy in types of work proved to be harmful to them.

Article 12 requires nations to take measures to eliminate discrimination against women in health care in order to ensure that women have access to health care services, on the same basis as men, including those relating to family planning.

Article 13 requires nations to eliminate discrimination against women in economic and social life. They are to be granted the same rights as men to social benefits, bank loans, mortgages, and other forms of financial credit. They are also to enjoy the same rights as men to participate in recreational activities, sports, and all aspects of cultural life.

Article 14, the only international treaty obligation which deals with the specific needs of rural women, requires nations to take account of their particular problems, and the significant roles they play in the economic survival of their families, including their work in the non-monetized sectors of the economy.

Article 15 guarantees women equality with men before the law. Women are to have identical legal capacity to that of men; they are to have the right to conclude contracts, administer property and they will be treated on the same basis as men at all stages of court and tribunal proceedings.

Article 16 obliges nations to eliminate discrimination against women with respect to marriage and family relations. Women are to be given the same right as men to enter marriage, on the basis of full and free consent and choose a spouse. They will have the same rights and responsibilities during marriage and on its dissolution, the same rights and responsibilities as parents, and the same rights to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, and to have access to the information, education and means to exercise these rights. Women will have the same personal rights as husband and wife, including with regard to choice of family name, profession and occupation and with respect to their property. States parties also agree that the betrothal and marriage of a child will have no legal effect and that steps, including legislation, will be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage and to make the official registration of marriages compulsory.

2.7 DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (1993)

The Declaration was proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993. The term "violence against women" was defined as any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.[35]

Violence against women will be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

- Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
- Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
- Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.[36]

Women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. These rights include, inter alia :

- The right to life;
- The right to equality;
- The right to liberty and security of person;
- The right to equal protection under the law;
- The right to be free from all forms of discrimination;
- The right to the highest standard attainable of physical and mental health;
- The right to just and favourable conditions of work;
- The right not to be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.[37]

2.8 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON DEMOCRACY (1997)

Universal Declaration on Democracy was adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 161st session in Cairo, September, 1997. It highlights that a basic right of citizenship has to be exercised under conditions of freedom, equality, transparency and responsibility, with due respect for the plurality of views, and in the interest of the polity.

According to the Declaration, as an ideal, democracy aims essentially to preserve and promote the dignity and fundamental rights of the individual, to achieve social justice, foster the economic and social development of the community, strengthen the cohesion of society and enhance national tranquillity, as well as to create a climate that is favourable for international peace.

Further, the achievement of democracy presupposes a genuine partnership between men and women in the conduct of the affairs of society in which they work in equality and complementarity, drawing mutual enrichment from their differences. It is an essential function of the country to ensure the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights to its citizens. Democracy thus goes hand in hand with an effective, honest and transparent government, freely chosen and accountable for its management of public affairs.

It is therefore indispensable to ensure the permanent enhancement of, inter alia, equality, transparency and education and to remove obstacles such as ignorance, intolerance, apathy, the lack of genuine choices and alternatives and the absence of measures designed to redress imbalances or discrimination of a social, cultural, religious and racial nature, or for reasons of gender.

Judicial remedies on the basis of equality as well as respect for administrative and judicial decisions both by the organs of the country and representatives of public authority and by each member of society.

2.9 OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (1999)

The main objective of the Optional Protocol was to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by women of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to take effective action to prevent violations of these rights and freedoms.

2.10 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (ICERD)

The Convention was adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969.

The nation have undertaken to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, and enjoyment of the following rights:

- The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
- The right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual group or institution;
- Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections-to vote and to stand for election-on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;

- Other civil rights, in particular:

- The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;
- The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country;
- The right to nationality;
- The right to marriage and choice of spouse;
- The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
- The right to inherit;
- The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
- The right to freedom of opinion and expression;
- The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

- Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:

- The rights to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favourable remuneration;
- The right to form and join trade unions;
- The right to housing;
- The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services;
- The right to education and training;
- The right to equal participation in cultural activities;
- The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.[38]

CHAPTER III CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

The Constitution is the basic document which governs the people and the Government. All the rights and obligations flows from this basic document. It has the utmost importance probably in all modern democracies. The Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution are:

3.1 FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Article 14: Equality Before Law

Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth

Article15: Prohibition Of Discrimination On Grounds Of Religion, Race, Cast, Sex, Or Place Of Birth

(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them

(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to

(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and palaces of public entertainment; or

(b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public

(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children

(4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes

Article 16: Equality Of Opportunity In Matters Of Public Employment

(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under the State
(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory prior to such employment or appointment
(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State
(5) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination

Article 19: Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc

(1) All citizens shall have the right

a. to freedom of speech and expression;
b. to assemble peaceably and without arms;
c. to form associations or unions;
d. to move freely throughout the territory of India;
e. to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
f. omitted
g. to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business

(2) Nothing in sub clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence

(3) Nothing in sub clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(4) Nothing in sub clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause

(5) Nothing in sub clauses (d) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe

(6) Nothing in sub clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause, and, in particular, nothing in the said sub clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,

a. the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or
b. the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise

Article 21: Protection Of Life And Personal Liberty

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Article 23: Prohibition Of Traffic In Human Beings And Forced Labour
(1) Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law
(2) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purpose, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them

Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc

No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

Section 25: Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion

(1) Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion
(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law

a. regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
b. providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus Explanation I The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion Explanation II In sub clause (b) of clause reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.

3.2 FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

Article 51-A (E)

It is the duty of every individual to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

POLITICAL RIGHTS

The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India have been made to include the following political rights to women:

Article 243D: Reservation of seats in Panchayats

(1) Seats shall be reserved for—

(a) the Scheduled Castes; and
(b) the Scheduled Tribes, in every Panchayat and the number of seats so reserved shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in that Panchayat as the population of the Scheduled Castes in that Panchayat area or of the Scheduled Tribes in that Panchayat area bears to the total population of that area and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

(2) Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes.

(3) Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

(4) The offices of the Chairpersons in the Panchayats at the village or any other level shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide:

Provided that the number of offices of Chairpersons reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Panchayats at each level in any State shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of such offices in the Panchayats at each level as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the Scheduled Tribes in the State bears to the total population of the State: Provided further that not less than one-third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level shall be reserved for women: Provided also that the number of offices reserved under this clause shall be allotted by rotation to different Panchayats at each level.

(5) The reservation of seats under clauses (1) and (2) and the reservation of offices of Chairpersons (other than the reservation for women) under clause (4) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period specified in article 334.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall prevent the Legislature of a State from making any provision for reservation of seats in any Panchayat or offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at any level in favour of backward class of citizens.

Article 243T: Reservation of seats in municipalities

(1) Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Municipality and the number of seats so reserved shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in that Municipality as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the Municipal area or of the Scheduled Tribes in the Municipal area bears to the total population of that area and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality.

(2) Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes.

(3) Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipality shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality.

(4) The offices of Chairpersons in the Municipalities shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.

(5) The reservation of seats under clauses (1) and (2) and the reservation of offices of Chairpersons (other than the reservation for women) under clause (4) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period specified in article 334.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall prevent the Legislature of a State from making any provision for reservation of seats in any Municipality or offices of Chairpersons in the Municipalities in favour of backward class of citizens.

3.3 STATE OBLIGATIONS

Article 38: State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people

(1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.
(2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavor to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.

Article 39: Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State

The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing

(a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood;
(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;
(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;
(d) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;
(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.

Article 39A: Equal justice and free legal aid

The State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.

Article 41: Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases

The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

Article 42: Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief

The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

Article 43: Living wage, etc, for workers

The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co operative basis in rural areas.

Article 44: Uniform Civil Code

The State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India

Article 45: Provision for free and compulsory education for children

The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.

Article 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections

The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Article 47: Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health

The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.

CHAPTER IV SOCIAL WELFARE LAWS

Time and again, much legislation have been framed and amended by the Central as well as the State legislations. The following is an attempt to provide an overview of the laws which provide for the betterment of the women:

4.1 THE CONTRACT LABOR (REGULATION AND ABOLITION) ACT, 1976

The main objective of the Act is to regulate the employment of contract labour in certain establishments and to provide for its abolition in certain circumstances.

When the Act is applicable:

i. To every establishment in which twenty or more workmen are employed or were employed on any day of the preceding twelve months as contract labour;
ii. to every contractor who employees or who employed on any day of the preceding twelve months twenty or more workmen

But the appropriate Government can, after giving not less than two months' notice of its intention so to do, by notification in the Official Gazette, apply the provisions of this Act to any establishment or contractor employing such number of workmen less than twenty which can be specified in the notification.

When it does not apply:

i. It does not apply to establishments in which work only of an intermittent or casual nature is performed.
ii. If a question arises whether work performed in an establishment is of an intermittent or casual nature, the appropriate Government will decide that question after consulting with the Central Board or, as the case can be, a State Board, and its decision will be final.

Constitution of the Central Advisory Board under (Section 3):

(1) The Central Government is required to constitute a board to be called the Central Advisory Contract Labour Board to advise the Central Government on such matters arising out of the administration of this Act as can be referred to it and to carry out other functions assigned to it under this Act. The Central Board must consist of—

i. a Chairman to be appointed by the Central Government;
ii. the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), ex-officio;
iii. such number of members, not exceeding seventeen but not less than eleven, as the Central Government can nominate to represent that Government, the Railways, the coal industry, the mining industry, the contractors, the workmen and any other interests which, the opinion of the Central Government, ought to be represented on the Central Board.

The number of persons to be appointed as members from each of the categories specified, the term of office and other conditions of service of, the procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions by, and the manner of filling vacancies among, the members of the Central Board will be such as can be prescribed. Also the number of members nominated to represent the workmen must not be less than the number of members nominated to represent the principal employers and the contractors.

Constitution of State Advisory Board (Section 4)

The State Government can constitute a board to be called the State Advisory Contract Labour Board to advice the State Government on such matters arising out of the administration of this Act as can be referred to it and to carry out other functions assigned to it under this Act. The State Board will consist of—

i. a Chairman to be appointed by the State Government;
ii. the Labour Commissioner, ex-officio, or in his absence any other officer nominated by the State Government in that behalf;
iii. such number of members, not exceeding eleven but not less than nine, as the State Government can nominate to represent that Government, the industry, the contractors, the workmen and any other interests which, in the opinion of the State Government, ought to be represented on the State Board.

The number of persons to be appointed as members from each of the categories specified, the term of office and other conditions of service of, the procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions by, and the manner of filling vacancies among, the members of the State Board will be such as can be prescribed. Also the number of members nominated to represent the workmen cannot be less than the number of members nominated to represent the principal employers and the contractors.

Appointment of registering officers (Section 6)

The appropriate Government can, through an order which has to be notified in the Official Gazette—

i. appoint such persons, being Gazetted Officers of Government, as it thinks fit to be registering officers
ii. define the limits, within which a registering officer will exercise the powers conferred on him.
Registration of certain establishments (Section 7)

All the principal employers of the establishments to which the Act applies must, within such period as the appropriate Government has fixed in this behalf with respect to establishments generally or with respect to any class of them, make an application to the registering officer in the prescribed manner for registration of the establishment. Also the registering officer can entertain any such application for registration after expiry of the period fixed in this behalf, if the registering officer is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application in time.

If the application for registration is complete and correct in all respects, the registering officer will register the establishment and issue to the principal employer of the establishment a certificate of registration containing such particulars as can be prescribed.

Prohibition of employment of contract labour (Section10)

The appropriate Government can, after consultation with the Central Board or, as the case can be, a State Board, prohibit, by notification in the Official Gazette, employment of contract labour in any process, operation or other work in any establishment. Before issuing any notification in relation to an establishment, the appropriate Government must have regard to the conditions of work and benefits provided for the contract labour in that establishment and other relevant factors, such as—

i. whether the process, operation or other work is incidental to, or necessary for the industry, trade, business, manufacture or occupation that is carried on in the establishment:
ii. whether it is of perennial nature, that is to say, it is of sufficient duration having regard to the nature of industry, trade, business, manufacture or occupation carried on in that establishment;
iii. whether it is done ordinarily through regular workmen in that establishment or an establishment similar thereto;
iv. whether it is sufficient to employ considerable number of whole-time workmen.

If a question arises whether any process or operation or other work is of perennial nature, the decision of the appropriate Government thereon will be final.

Appointment of licensing officers (Section 11)

The appropriate Government can, by an order notified in the Official Gazette,--

i. appoint such persons, being Gazetted Officers of Government, as it thinks fit to be licensing officers
ii. define the limits, within which a licensing officer will exercise the powers conferred on licensing officers

Licensing of contractors (Section12)

The Government can mandate the licensing of the contractors to whom the Act applies and regulate them accordingly. The regulations can contain such conditions including, in particular, conditions as to hours of work, fixation of wages and other essential amenities in respect of contract labour as the appropriate Government can deem fit to impose in accordance with the rules and will be issued on payment of such fees and on the deposit of such sum, if any, as security for the due performance of the conditions as can be prescribed.

Welfare and Health of Contract Labour:

Canteens (Section16)

The appropriate Government can make rules requiring that in every establishment to which this Act applies, wherein work requiring employment of contract labour is likely to continue for such period as can be prescribed, and contract labour numbering one hundred or more is ordinarily employed by a contractor, one or more canteens will be provided and maintained by the contractor for the use of such contract labour.

Such rules can provide for—

i. the date by which the canteens will be provided;
ii. the number of canteens that will be provided, and the standards in respect of construction, accommodation, furniture and other equipment of the canteens; and
iii. the foodstuffs which can be served therein and the charges which can be made thereof.

Rest-rooms (Section17)

In all those places wherein contract labour is required to halt at night in connection with the work of an establishment to which this Act applies, and in which work requiring employment of contract labour is likely to continue for such period as can be prescribed, rest rooms will be provided and maintained by the contractor for the use of the contract labour or such other suitable alternative accommodation within such time must be provided. The rest rooms or the alternative accommodation to be provided must be sufficiently lighted and ventilated and will be maintained in a clean and comfortable condition.

Other facilities (Section18)

i. It will be the duty of every contractor employing contract labour in connection with the work of an establishment to which this Act applies, to provide and maintain—
ii. a sufficient supply of wholesome drinking water for the contract labour at convenient places;
iii. a sufficient number of latrines and urinals of the prescribed types so situated as to be convenient and accessible to the contract labour in the establishment; and
iv. washing facilities.

First-aid facilities (Section19)

There will be provided and maintained by the contractor so as to be readily accessible during all working hours a first-aid box equipped with the prescribed contents at every place where contract labour is employed by him.

Liability of principal employer in certain cases (Section 20)

If any amenity required to be provided for the benefit of the contract labour employed in an establishment is not provided by the contractor within the time prescribed thereof, such amenity will be provided by the principal employer within such time as can be prescribed. All expenses incurred by the principal employer in providing the amenity can be recovered by the principal employer from the contractor either by deduction from any amount payable to the contractor under any contract or as a debt payable by the contractor.

Responsibility for payment of wages (Section 21)

A contractor will be responsible for payment of wages to each worker employed by him as contract labour and such wages will be paid before the expiry of such period as can be prescribed. Every principal employer will nominate a representative duly authorized by him to be present at the time of disbursement of wages by the contractor and it will be the duty of such representative to certify the amounts paid as wages in such manner as can be prescribed.

It is the duty of the contractor to ensure the disbursement of wages in the presence of the authorized representative of the principal employer. In case the contractor fails to make payment of wages within the prescribed period or makes short payment, then the principal employer will be liable to make payment of wages in full or the unpaid balance due, as the case can be, to the contract labour employed by the contractor and recover the amount so paid from the contractor either by deduction from any amount payable to the contractor under any contract or as a debt payable by the contractor.

4.2 EQUAL REMUNERATION ACT, 1976

Article 39 of Constitution envisages that the State will direct its policy, among other things, towards securing that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. To give effect to this constitutional provision, the President promulgated on the 26th, September, 1975, the Equal Remuneration Ordinance, 1975 so that the provisions of Article 39 of the Constitution can be implemented in the year which is being celebrated as the International Women’s Year. The Ordinance provides for payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature and for the prevention of discrimination on grounds of sex.

Duty of employer to pay equal remuneration to men and women workers for same work or work of a similar nature (Section 4) –

Employers are required to pay to all workers, employed by him in an establishment or employment, remuneration, whether payable in cash or in kind, which is not less than the remuneration rates less than those paid by him to the workers of the opposite sex for performing the same work or work of a similar nature. No employer can, for the purpose of complying the equal payment reduce the rate of remuneration of any worker.

No discrimination to be made while recruiting men and women workers (Section 5) –

No employer can, while making recruitment for the same work or work of a similar nature, or in any condition of service subsequent to recruitment such as promotions, training or transfer, make any discrimination against women except where the employment of women in such work is prohibited or restricted by or under any law for the time being in force. But it will not affect any priority or reservation for scheduled castes or scheduled tribes, ex-servicemen, retrenched employees of any other class or category of persons in the matter of recruitment to the posts in an establishment or employment.

Advisory Committee (Section 6)—

For the purpose of providing increasing employment opportunities for women, the appropriate Government can constitute one or more Advisory Committees to advise it with regard to the extension to which women can be employed in such establishments or employments as the Central Government can, by notification, specify. Advisory Committee can consist of not less than ten persons, to be nominated by the appropriate Government, of which one-half will be women.

In tendering its advice, the Advisory Committee must give regard to the number of women employed in the concerned establishment or employment, the nature of work, hours of work, suitability of women for employment, as the case can be, the need for providing increasing employment opportunities for women, including part-time employment, and such other relevant factors as the Committee can think fit. The Advisory Committee can regulate its own procedure.

The appropriate Government can, after considering the advice tendered to it by the Advisory Committee and after giving to the persons concerned in the establishment or employment an opportunity to make representations, issue such directions in respect of employment of women workers.

Duty of employers to maintain registers (Section8) –

Every employer is required to maintain such registers and other documents in relation to the workers employed by him as can be prescribed.

4.3 THE EMPLOYEES’ STATE INSURANCE ACT, 1948

The Act aims to provide for certain benefits to employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injury.

Important definitions:

Dependant” means any of the following relatives of a deceased insured person, namely :

i. a widow, a legitimate or adopted son who has not attained the age of twenty-five years, an unmarried legitimate or adopted daughter

ii. a widowed mother

iii. if wholly dependent on the earnings of the insured person at the time of his death, a legitimate or adopted son or daughter who has attained the age of 4 twenty-five and who is infirm ;

iv. if wholly or in part dependent on the earnings of the insured person at the time of his death, —

a. a parent other than a widowed mother,
b. a minor illegitimate son, an unmarried illegitimate daughter or a daughter legitimate or adopted or illegitimate if married and a minor or if widowed and a minor,
c. a minor brother or an unmarried sister or a widowed sister if a minor,
d. a widowed daughter-in-law,
e. a minor child of a pre-deceased son,
f. a minor child of a pre-deceased daughter where no parent of the child is alive, or
g. a paternal grand-parent if no parent of the insured person is alive

Employment injury” means a personal injury to an employee caused by accident or an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment, being an insurable employment, whether the accident occurs or the occupational disease is contracted within or outside the territorial limits of India.

Establishment of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (Section3) —

The Central Government can, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint in this behalf, there will be established for the administration of the scheme of Employees’ State Insurance in accordance with the provisions of the Act a Corporation to be known as the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. The Corporation will be a body corporate by the name of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation having perpetual succession and a common seal and will by the said name sue and be sued.

Constitution of Corporation (Section 4)—

The Corporation can consist of the following members, namely : —

a. a Chairman to be appointed by the Central Government

b. a Vice-Chairman to be appointed by the Central Government
c. not more than five persons to be appointed by the Central Government
d. one person each representing each of the States in which this Act is in force to be appointed by the State Government concerned ;
e. one person to be appointed by the Central Government to represent the Union territories
f. ten persons representing employers to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of employers as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government ;
g. ten persons representing employees to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of employees as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government ;
h. two persons representing the medical profession to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of medical practitioners as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government
i. three members of Parliament of whom two will be members of the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and one will be a member of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) elected respectively by the members of the House of the People and the members of the Council of States ; and
j. the Director-General of the Corporation, ex-officio.

Medical Benefit Council (Section 10) —

The Central Government can constitute a Medical Benefit Council consisting of —

a. the Director General, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, ex-officio as Chairman
b. the Director General, Health Services, ex-officio as Co-Chairman
c. the Medical Commissioner of the Corporation, ex-officio
d. one member each representing each of the States (other than Union territories) in which this Act is in force to be appointed by the State Government concerned
e. three members representing employers to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of employers as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government
f. three members representing employees to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of employees as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government
g. three members, of whom not less than one will be a woman, representing the medical profession, to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with such organisations of medical practitioners as can be recognised for the purpose by the Central Government.

A member of the Medical Benefit Council holds office during the pleasure of the Government appointing him Insurance of all employees (Section 38)—

All employees in factories or establishments to which this Act applies must be insured in the manner provided by this Act.

Contributions (Section 39)—

The contribution payable under this Act in respect of an employee will comprise contribution payable by the employer and contribution payable by the employee and will be paid to the Corporation. The contributions will be paid at such rates as can be prescribed by the Central Government.

The wage period in relation to an employee will be the unit in respect of which all contributions will be payable under this Act i.e monthly or quarterly or any other wage period. The contributions payable in respect of each wage period will ordinarily fall due on the last day of the wage period, and where an employee is employed for part of the wage period, or is employed under two or more employers during the same wage period the contributions will fall due on such days as can be specified in the regulations.

If any contribution payable under this Act is not paid by the principal employer on the date on which such contribution has become due, he will be liable to pay simple interest at the rate of twelve per cent per annum or at such higher rate as can be specified in the regulations till the date of its actual payment

Principal employer to pay contributions in the first instance (Section 40)—

The principal employer will pay in respect of every employee, whether directly employed by him or by or through an immediate employer, both the employer’s contribution and the employee’s contribution.

The principal employer will, in the case of an employee directly employed by him (not being an exempted employee), be entitled to recover from the employee the employee’s contribution by reduction from his wages and not otherwise. No such deduction will be made from any wages other than such as relate to the period or part of the period in respect of which the contribution is payable or in excess of the sum representing the employee’s contribution for the period.

Neither the principal employer nor the immediate employer will be entitled to deduct the employer’s contribution from any wages payable to an employee or otherwise to recover it from him.

Any sum deducted by the principal employer from wages under this Act will be deemed to have been entrusted to him by the employee for the purpose of paying the contribution in respect of which it was deducted. The principal employer will bear the expenses of remitting the contributions to the Corporation.

Recovery of contributions from immediate employer (Section 41)—

A principal employer, who has paid contribution in respect of an employee employed by or through an immediate employer, will be entitled to recover the amount of the contribution so paid (that is to say the employer’s contribution as well as the employee’s contribution, if any,) from the immediate employer, either by deduction from any amount payable to him by the principal employer under any contract, or as a debt payable by the immediate employer. The immediate employer will maintain a register of employees employed by or through him as provided in the regulations and submit the same to the principal employer before the settlement of any amount payable.

The immediate employer will be entitled to recover the employee’s contribution from the employee employed by or through him by deduction from wages and not otherwise.

General provisions as to payment of contributions (Section 42)—

No employee’s contribution will be payable by or on behalf of an employee whose average daily wages during a wage period are below such wages as can be prescribed by the Central Government. The average daily wages of an employee will be calculated in such manner as can be prescribed by the Central Governments.

Contribution (both the employer’s contribution and the employee’s contribution) will be payable by the principal employer for each wage period in respect of the whole or part of which wages are payable to the employee and not otherwise.

Benefits (Section 46)—

i. The insured persons, their dependants or the persons hereinafter mentioned, as the case can be, will be entitled to the following benefits, namely : —
ii. periodical payments to any insured person in case of his sickness certified by a duly appointed medical practitioner or by any other person possessing such qualifications and experience as the Corporation can, by regulations, specify in this behalf (sickness benefit)
iii. periodical payments to an insured woman in case of confinement or miscarriage or sickness arising out of pregnancy, confinement, premature birth of child or miscarriage, such woman being certified to be eligible for such payments by an authority specified in this behalf by the regulations (maternity benefit)
iv. periodical payments to an insured person suffering from disablement as a result of an employment injury sustained as an employee under this Act and certified to be eligible for such payments by an authority specified in this behalf by the regulations (disablement benefit)
v. periodical payments to such dependants of an insured person who dies as a result of an employment injury sustained as an employee under this Act, as are entitled to compensation under this Act (dependants’ benefit)
vi. medical treatment for and attendance on insured persons (medical benefit) and
vii. payment to the eldest surviving member of the family of an insured person who has died, towards the expenditure on the funeral of the deceased insured person, or, where the insured person did not have a family or was not living with his family at the time of his death, to the person who actually incurs the expenditure on the funeral of the deceased insured person (funeral expenses).

But the amount of such payment will not exceed such amount as can be prescribed by the Central Government and the claim for such payment will be made within three months of the death of the insured person or within such extended period as the Corporation or any officer or authority authorised by it in this behalf can allow.

[...]


[1] Article 1

[2] Article 2

[3] Article 3

[4] Article 5

[5] Article 7

[6] Article 8

[7] Article 16 (1)

[8] Article 17 (1)

[9] Article 18

[10] Article 23 (1)

[11] Article 25 (1)

[12] Article 26 (1)

[13] ARTICLE I

[14] ARTICLE II

[15] ARTICLE III

[16] Article 1 (1)

[17] Article 2 (1)

[18] Article 6 (1)

[19] Article 7

[20] Article 10 (1)

[21] Article 12 (1)

[22] Article 18 (1)

[23] Article 19 (1)

[24] Article 23 (2)

[25] Article 24 (1)

[26] Article 26

[27] Article 1

[28] Article 6

[29] Article 7

[30] Article 9

[31] Article 11

[32] Article 12

[33] Article 13

[34] Article 15

[35] Article 1

[36] Article 2

[37] Article 3

[38] Article 5

Excerpt out of 207 pages

Details

Title
Women Rights, Laws and Schemes in India
Author
Year
2015
Pages
207
Catalog Number
V307124
ISBN (eBook)
9783668058781
ISBN (Book)
9783668058798
File size
1241 KB
Language
English
Tags
women, rights, laws, schemes, india
Quote paper
Sree Krishna Bharadwaj H. (Author), 2015, Women Rights, Laws and Schemes in India, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/307124

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Title: Women Rights, Laws and Schemes in India


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