Laws concerning Women
Laws concerning Women (including CEDAW & CESCR) :
The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993.
To uphold the Constitutional mandate, the State has enacted various legislative measures intended to ensure equal rights, to counter social discrimination and various forms of violence and atrocities. Although women may be victims of any of the crimes such as 'Murder', 'Robbery', 'Cheating' etc, the crimes which are directed specifically against women, are characterized as 'Crime against Women'.
1. The Crimes Identified Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as 'Crime Against Woman'
- Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)
- Kidnapping & Abduction for different purposes ( Sec. 363-373)
- Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC)
- Torture, both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC)
- Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC)
- Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC)
- Importation of girls (up to 21 years of age)
2. The Crimes against women which are covered under Special Laws (SLL)
- Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
- Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- 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
- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention,prohibition and Redressal) Act,2013
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
The Convention 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."
By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including :
- to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women ;
- to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination ; and
- to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
For further details, visit http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. The Committee was established under ECOSOC Resolution 1985/17 of 28 May 1985 to carry out the monitoring functions assigned to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Part IV of the Covenant.
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially within two years of accepting the Covenant and thereafter every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations".
For Further details visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/