Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eight Legal Rights every woman must know.

Following article is of interest to us senior citizens as well.
Rapists target everyone right from a three old child to frail and
fragile senior citizens. I first saw this in Vintage Vishka - went to
origional source source for the purpose of easy cut& paste.


8 legal rights every woman must know
Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 30, 2012
First Published: 14:56 IST(30/12/2012)

As a woman, you are entitled to some rights by law that protect you
when you have been violated. Here are some that you should be aware

Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman who has been
raped can record her statement
before the district magistrate when the case is under trial, and no
one else needs to be present. Alternatively, she can record the
statement with only one police officer and woman constable in a
convenient place that is not crowded and does not provide any
possibility of the statement being overheard by a fourth person. The
police have to, by law, protect the woman's right to privacy. It's
important for the person to feel comfortable and not be under any kind
of stress while narrating the incident.

The police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable
period of time has elapsed since the incident of rape or
molestation took place. If the police tells you that they can't lodge
your FIR since you didn't report it earlier, do not concede. "Rape is
a horrifying incident for any woman, so it's natural for her to go
into shock and not want to report it immediately. She may also fear
for her safety and the reputation and dignity of her family. For this
reason, the Supreme Court has ruled that the police must register an
FIR even if there has been a gap between the report and the occurrence
of the incident," says Tariq Abeed, advocate, Supreme Court.

A rape victim can register her police complaint from any police
station under the Zero FIR ruling by Supreme Court. "Sometimes,
the police station under which the incident occurs refuses to register
the victim's complaint in order to keep clear of responsibility, and
tries sending the victim to another police station. In such cases, she
has the right to lodge an FIR at any police station in the city under
the Zero FIR ruling. The senior officer will then direct the SHO of
the police station concerned to lodge the FIR," says Abeed. This is a
Supreme Court ruling that not many women are aware of, so don't let
the SHO of a police station send you away saying it "doesn't come
under his area".

According to a Supreme Court ruling, a woman cannot be arrested after
sunset and before sunrise. There are many cases of women
being harassed by the police in the wee hours, but all this can be
avoided if you exercise the right of being present in the police
station only during daytime. "Even if there is a woman constable
accompanying the officers, the police can't arrest a woman at night.
In case the woman has committed a serious crime, the police has to get
it in writing from the magistrate explaining why the arrest is
necessary during the night," says Bhaumik.

Women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation under
Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This law
provides Indian women the right of not being physically present at the
police station for interrogation. "The police can interrogate a
woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family
members or friends," says Abeed. So the next time you're
called to the police station for queries or interrogation when you
have faced any kind of harassment, quote this guideline of the Supreme
Court to exercise your right and remind the cops about it.

Acase of rape can't be dismissed even if the doctor says rape had not
taken place. A victim of rape needs to be medically examined as per
Section 164 A of the Criminal Procedure Code, and only the report can
act as proof. "A woman has the right to have a copy of the medical
report from the doctor. Rape is a crime, not a medical condition. It
is a legal term and not a diagnosis to be made by the medical officer
treating the victim. The only statement that can be made by the
medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity.
Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion and the
doctor can't decide on this," explains Bhaumik.

Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed.
Neither the police nor media can make known the
name of the victim in public. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code
makes the disclosure of a victim's identity a punishable offense.
Printing or publishing the name or any matter which may make known the
identity of a woman against whom an offense has been committed is
punishable. This is done to prevent social victimisation or ostracism
of the victim of a sexual offense. Even while a judgment is in
progress at the high court or a lower court, the name of the victim is
not indicated, she is only described as 'victim' in
the judgment.

It is the duty of every employer to create a Sexual Harassment
Complaints Committee within the organisation for redressal of such
complaints. According to a guideline issued by the Supreme Court, it
is mandatory for all firms, public and private, to set up these
committees to resolve matters of sexual harassment. It is also
necessary that the committee be headed by a woman and include 50 per
cent women as members. Also, one of the members should be from a
women's welfare group.

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