International Womens Day: History and its relevance in Indian Context
We wish you a very happy women's day.
Deepak Miglani, Jharkhand Volunteers and Citizens Foundation, Ranchi
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN's DAY, HOW ITs ALL STARTED?
In 1869, British MP JOHN STUART MILL was the first person in Parliament to call for women's right to vote. On 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.
In 1910, an international conference of working women was held in Copenhagen. Clara Zetkin - leader of the women's office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany - tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands.
The very first International Women's Day was launched the following year on March 19 (not 8 March).
Plans for the first International Women's Day demonstration were spread by word of mouth and in the press. During the week before International Women's Day two journals appeared: The Vote for Women in Germany and Women's Day in Austria.
Success of the first International Women's Day in 1911 exceeded all expectation.
Meetings were organised everywhere in small towns and even the villages halls were packed so full that male workers were asked to give up their places for women.
Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings.
In 1913 International Women's Day (IWD) was transferred to 8 MARCH and this day has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since.
During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments 2000 and beyond.
IWD is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. Annually, on March 8, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones.
THE THEME OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2009 IS WOMEN AND MEN UNITED TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS.
Source: The Economic Times
LEGAL TIP FOR WOMAN ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Today(8 March) is International Women's Day. Indian woman have reached and attained success in various fields including those, which have traditionally been the domain of men. Woman has proved themselves as successful advocates , bureaucrats anddoctors etc. They have also joined police forces, armed forces and para military forces and are flying in sky as commercial pilot.Various legislations are enacted to empower the woman by the government.These legislation aimed at eradication of social evils. Following are the significant enactment, which helped lot in the woman empowerment:
CONSITTUTION OF INDIA :-Constitution of India provides various articles which deals with the upliftment of woman. Since from the preamble, fundamental principles and various directive principles and other articles of constitution of India provide for upliftment of woman. Several Rights has been given to woman in various articles of constitution, which are as follows: -
Equality before law for woman (Article 14).
The state not to discriminate against any citizen on grounds, only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (I)).
The state to make any special provision in favour of woman and children (Article 15 (3)).
Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state (Article 16).
The state to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39 (a); and equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39 (d)).
To promote justice, on the basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme 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 (Articles 39 A).
The state to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42).
The state to promote with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46).
The state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health (Article 47).
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 panchyat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a panchyat (Article 243 D (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 to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a municipality (Article 243 T (3)).
Reservation of offices of chairpersons in municipalities for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the legislature of a State may by law provide (Article 243 R (4)).
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005is an act to provide more effective protection to the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family. It covers those women who are or have been in relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived togetherin a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship which is in the nature of marriage or adoption. Relationship with family members living together as joint family are also included. Even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women ,or living with the abuser are entitled to legal protection under the proposed legislation.
DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT 1961:-The main objective of this Act is to abolish giving and taking dowry at the time of marriage. The term dowry refers to a valuable property or thing, which is determined by the parties to a marriage for a marriage. It means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly: (a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, or (b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person at or before, or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of person to whom the Muslim Personal Law Shariat applies.
FAMILY COURT ACT, 1984 :-The state government after consultation with High Court shall establish for every area in the state comprising a cityor town whose population exceeds one million a family court; and may establish family court for such other areas in the state as it may deem necessary. In every suit or proceeding , at any stage, it appears to the family court that there is a reasonable possibility of settlement between the parties , the family court ma adjourn the proceeding for such period as it think fit to enable attempts to be made to effect such a settlement.
HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955:-This Act has recognized the equal rights of man and woman in the matters of marriage and divorce. Under the provision of this Act either the man or woman can present a petition in a court of law for divorce, wife has got an equal right to divorce her husband as he can do. Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 contains conditions for a Hindu Marriage . It says that a marriage ma be solemnizedbetween any two hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled:-
(i) neither party has a spouse has a spouse living at the time of marriage.
(ii) At the time of marriage neither party:
(a) is incapableof giving a valid consent to it inconsequence of unsoundness of mind; or
(b) though capable of giving a valid consent , has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and procreation of children; or
(c)has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity ; has been omitted by Act 39 of 1999.
(iii) the bridgegroom has completed the age of twentyone years and the bride, the age of eighteen years at the time of marriage.
(iv)The Parties are not a spindas of each other, unless the custom of usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two.
(v)The Parties are not with in the degree of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
INDECENT REPRESENTATION of WOMEN (PROHIBITION) Act, 1986:-This Act aims to deal with the prohibition of indecent representation of Woman through advertisement or in publications, writings, paintings, and figures or in any other manner. Indecent Representation of Women means the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman, her from or body or any part there of in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals. These representations may be in advertisement, which include any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document. It also includes any visible representation on made by means of any light, sound, smoke or gas. This Act also defines Label and Package. Label means any written marked, stamped, printed or graphic mattel affixed to, or appearing upon any package. Package is defined to include box, carton, tin or other container. For the offence of indecent representation of women, a person is punishable on the first conviction with imprisonment for a tern with may extend to two years as well as fine, which may extend to Rs. 2000. In the event of a second or subsequent conviction the punishment has to be for a term of imprisonment of not less than six months and may extend to five years and with fine of not less than Rs. 10,000, which may extend to Rs. 1,00,000.
INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860:- In ourwomen are subjected to discrimination, cruelty, dowry death, sexual harassment and domestic violence as a result of general bias. Various sections have been incorporated in Indian Penal Code with a view to prevent and curb such evils. Some of them are as follow: -
·Dowry Death (Section 304 B and Section 306).
·The causing of miscarriage and injuries to unborn children (Section 312 to 318).
·Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of this duty (Section 354).
·Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage (Section 366).
·Procuration of minor girl (Section 366-A).
·Importation of girl from foreign country (Section 366-B).
·Sexual Offences (Section 375 to 376).
·Unnatural Offences 377.
·Commissions of Offences relating to marriage (Section 493 to 498).
·Cruelty (Section 498-A).
·To insult the modesty of a woman (Section 509).
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE deals with provisions like arrest of woman by female police, search and seizure of goods and maintenance etc. Whenever it is necessary to cause a female to be searched, the search shall be made by another female with strict regard to decency. If any person having sufficientmeans neglects or refuses to maintain:-
a)his wife, unable to maintain herself. Or
b)his legitimate or illegitimate minor child, whether married or not, unable to maintain it self, or
c)his legitimate or illegitimate child (not being amarried daughter) who has attained majority, where such child is , by reason of any physical or mental abnormality or injury unable to maintain itself,or
d)his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself.
A magistrate of the first class may , upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenanceof his wife or such child, father or mother.
MEDICAL TERMINATION of PREGNANCEY ACT 1971aims for prohibition of medical pregnancy test and further termination of pregnancy. It further provides various punishments for this brutal act against humanity, which can be compared with murder. The provisions regarding the termination of pregnancy in the Indian Penal Code which were enacted about a century ago were drawn in keeping with the then British Law on the subject. Abortion was made a crime for which the mother as well as the aboritionist could be punished except where it had to be induced in order to save the life of mother. It has been stated that this very strict law has been observed in the breach in a very large number of cases all over the country. Furthermore most of these mothers are married women, and are under no particularnecessity to conceal their pregnancy. In recent years when health services have expandedand hospitals are availed of to the fullest extentby all classes of society, doctors have often been confronted with gravely ill ordying pregnant women whose pregnant uterus have been tampered with a view to causing an abortion and consequently suffered very severely.The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 has been passed to liberalise certain existing provisions relating totermination of pregnancy. The act has been amended in 2002 to cope with difficulties which are in way of strict implementation of act .
MUSLIM WOMAN (PROTECTION OF RIGHTS ON DIVORCE) ACT 1986 :-This act has been passed with a aim to protect the rights of Muslim Women who have been divorced by, or have obtained divorce from, their husband. It makes compulsory that at the time of divorce a Muslim woman is entitled to get the mahr (dower money) on other properties belonging to her. It deals with the right of divorced women regarding the payment to dower money etc. The husband is liable to pay dower money or other properties belonging to his wife at the time of divorce.
THE DISSOLUTION OF MUSLIM MARRIAGES ACT 1939 It deals with the suits of dissolution of marriage by woman married under Muslim Law. A muslim woman can obtain a decree for the dissolution of her marriage on any one or more or the following grounds, namely: -
That the whereabouts of the husband have not been known for a period of four years.
That the husband has neglected or has failed to provide for her maintenance for a period of two years.
That the husband has been sentenced to imprisonment for a period of seven years or upward.
That the husband has failed to perform, without reasonable cause, his martial obligations for a period of three years.
That the husband was impotent at the time to the marriage and continues to be so.
That the husband has been insane for a period of two years or is suffering from leprosy or virulent venereal disease.
That she , having been given in marriage by her father or other guardian before she attained the age offifteen years, repudiated the marriage before attaining the age of eighteen years.
That the husband treats her with cruelty.
The runciation of Islam by a married Muslim woman or her conversion to faith other that Islam shall not by itself operate to dissolve her marriage.
THE PRE-NATAL DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES (REGULATION AND PREVENTION OF MISUSE) AMENDMENT ACT, 2002:-The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention) of Misuse Act, 1994 seeks to prohibit pre-natal diagnostic techniques for determination of the sex of the foetus leading to female foeticide. Certain practical difficult ties have come in the administration of Act. Therefore the Parliament has passed THE PRE-NATAL DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES (REGULATION AND PREVENTION OF MISUSE) AMENDMENT ACT, 2002 with a view to banning the use of sex selection techniques prior to conception as well as the misuse of pre-natal diagnostic techniques for sex selective abortions and to regulate such techniques with a view to ensuring their scientific use for which they are intended. No person, including a specialist or a term of specialist in the field of infertility shall conduct or cause to be conducted or aid in conducting by himself or by any other person, sex selection on a woman or a man or on both or on any tissue, embryo, conceptus, fluid derived from either of both of them. No person shall sell any ultrasonic machines or image machine or scanner or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus to any Genetic Counseling Centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic or any other person not registered under the Act.
THE INDIAN CHIRISTIAN MARRIAGE ACT, 1872:-It deals with the law relating to the solemnization in India of the marriages of persons professing the chiristian religion. The expression chiristian means persons professing the chiristian religion and Indian Christians includes the chiristian descendant of native of India converted to chiristanity as well as such converts. Marriage between persons at least one of whom is chiristians are governed by this Act. For the marriage among Indian Chiristians, there is no need of preliminary notice but it must be proved that the age of bridegroom is not below 21 years and that of bride is not under eighteen years.
HINDU SUCCESSION ACT 1956, Amended in 2005:-According to Latest Amendment Daughter can also claim their right in the family property. According to Section 6On and from the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act ,2005 ,in a joint hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener shall
a)by birth become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son;
b)have the same right in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had beena son;
c)be subject to the same liabilities in respect of the said coparcenary property as that of a son;
provide that nothing contained in this section shall affect or invalidated any disposition or alienation including any partition or testamentary disposition of property which had taken place before the 20thday of December 2004.
HINDU WIDOW REMARRIAGE ACT OF 1856:-Marriage of a widow was prohibited among certain sects of Hindus and life of a widow was in miserable state, inorder to uplift her status, "The Hindu Widow Remarriage Act 1856" was passed, it legalized the marriageof Hindu Widow in certain cases. But this Act has now been replaced by Hindu Re-marriage (Repeal Act) 1983.
THE CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT ,1929:-This Act was brought about modification of pure Hindu Law in that it prohibits the marriage between male under 18 years and a female under 15 years of age. Child Marriage Restraint ( Amendment Act ) 1978 has altered the marriageable age of bridegroom to 21 years and bride to 18 years.
IMMORAL TRAFFIC (PREVENTION) ACT 1956:-This Act aims to deal with the problem of prostitution and to promote the welfare of fallen woman. Main objectives of this Act are to reduce the scope of prostitution and to reform the prostitution under this Act.
COMMISSION OF SATI (PREVENTION )ACT 1987:-This Act has declared the Sati Custom illegal in our country.
MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT 1961: - it has recognized and provided the maternity benefits to woman.
THE DIVORCE ACT, 1869 it governs the provisions relating to divorce among the chiristians. It deals with the law relating to the divorce of persons professing the chiristian religion, In order to get relief under this act, one of the parties at least, i.e. either the petitioner or the respondent must profess the chiristian religion.
LEGAL SERVICE AUTHORITIES ACT, 1987:-This Act has provided the free legal Aid to woman.
These are the important legislations, which brought upward trend in the status of woman in India. Today what women are enjoying their status is because of legislations. She is protected in every way of life. Thanks to legislations, women in India are gaining better status, recognition and respect. In spite of making all the necessary provisions women are still not treated with the respect . But still one can witness atrocities like bride burning, torture, rape and untold miseries inflicted on women even in today's times of women's liberation.