1)Dowry prohibition Act, 1961 –
- This legislation prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, “as consideration for the marriage”.
- Here “dowry” is defined as a gift demanded or given as a precondition for a marriage.
- Gifts given without a precondition are not considered dowry, and are legal.
- Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by an imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to Rs. 15000 or the amount of dowry (whichever is highe r), or imprisonment up to 5 years.
2)Protection of women from domestic violences Act, 2005
- Includes physical and mental ill-treatment.
- Primarily meant for the protection of wife or female live-in partners
- Law also extends to sisters, widows or mothers.
- Harassment in the form of dowry demands also included in this law
- Gives women right to secure housing.
- Court can also issue protection orders that prevent the abuser to harass the women by acts at her workplace.
- Act proposes appointment of protection officers and NGOs.
- Breach of protection order is a non-bailable offense.
3)Vishakha guidelines – Prevention of Sexual harazments of women at workplace
- The Vishaka guidelines were laid down by the Supreme Court in Vishakha and others v State of Rajasthan judgment in 1997.
- It imposes three key obligations on employing institutions – prohibition, prevention, and redress.
- The institutions are mandated to establish a Complaints Committee.
- This was to look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
- These guidelines are legally binding
4)Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
This Act seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work superseding the Vishakha Guidelines introduced by the Supreme Court.
- The law establishes a procedure and a system for the hearing of sexual harassment complaints by employee
- This act is applied only for women and for all women in any workplace, whether private or government.
- The act does not require the woman to be working in that workplace.
- It also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges.
- The Act also covers concepts of ‘quid pro quo harassment’ and ‘hostile work environment’ as forms of sexual harassment if it occurs in connection with an act or behaviour of sexual harassment.
- While the “workplace” in the Vishaka Guidelines is confined to the traditional office set-up where there is a clear employer-employee relationship, the Act goes much further to include organisations, department, office, branch unit etc. in the public and private sector, organized and unorganized, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutions, sports institutes, stadiums, sports complex and any place visited by the employee during the course of employment including the transportation. Even non-traditional workplaces which involve telecommuting will get covered under this law.
- Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. The District Officer is required to constitute a Local Complaints Committee at each district, and if required at the block level.
- The Complaints Committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence.
- The Complaints Committees are required to provide for conciliation before initiating an inquiry if requested by the complainant.
- The Committee is required to complete the inquiry within a time period of 90 days. On completion of the inquiry, the report will be sent to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, they are mandated to take action on the report within 60 days.
- The inquiry process under the Act should be confidential and the Act lays down a penalty of Rs 5000 on the person who has breached confidentiality.
- The Act requires employers to conduct education and sensitisation programmes and develop policies against sexual harassment, among other obligations.
- Penalties have been prescribed for employers. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.
- The Government can order an officer to inspect workplace and records related to sexual harassment in any organisation.
5)73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, 1992 :
reservations provided to women in the local bodies which has enabled them to be brought to the centre-stage in the nation’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions.
Women Empowerment Schemes
1)BetiBachao Beti Padhao Scheme
2)One Stop Centre Scheme
3)Women Helpline Scheme
4)UJJAWALA : A Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re
5)Integration of Victims of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation
6)Working Women Hostel
7)Ministry approves new projects under Ujjawala Scheme and continues existing projects
8)SWADHAR Greh (A Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances)
9)Support to Training and Employment Programme for Women (STEP)
10)NARI SHAKTI PURASKAR
11)Awardees of Stree Shakti Puruskar, 2014 & Awardees of Nari Shakti Puruskar
12)Awardees of Rajya Mahila Samman & Zila Mahila Samman
13)Mahila Shakti Kendras (MSK)
15)Mahila police Volunteers