Protection of Women under : Constitution, IPC, CrPC & Special Laws

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



  • The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them. 
  • Fundamental Rights, among others, ensure equality before the law and equal protection of law; prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment. 

Following are constitutional privileges which are guaranteed to women in India for their empowerment.

  • Equality before law for women (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 women 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 a 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 (Article 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 (Article 47)
  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e))
  • 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 to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in aPanchayat (Article 243 D(3))
  • Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4))
  • 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 aMunicipality (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 T (4))


  • State has enacted various legislative measures intended to ensure equal rights, to counter social discrimination and various forms of violence and atrocities and to provide support services especially to working women.

Following is the list of crimes mentioned in Indian Penal code as well in special acts against women.

The Crimes Identified Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • 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)

Provisions Under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)

  1. Right to Privacy while recording statement- Under section 164 of CrPC, a woman who has been raped can record her statement before 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 no crowded and does not provide any possibility of the statement being overheard by the third person.
  2. Police can’t say no- A rape victim can register her complaint from any police station under Zero FIR ruling by the 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 under the provision of Zero FIR.
  3. Search by another Women only- Under section 51(2) of CrPC, when an accused is a woman another woman should make search with strict regard to decency.
  4. Opportunity to come out of the house- Section 47(2) CrPC says, if the accused hides in the house of a female who according to custom does not appear in public, the police cannot enter the house or break the house open unless notice is given to such female to withdraw and give her reasonable facility to withdraw herself.
  5. Medical Examination by a female practitioner- Under section 53(2) CrPC, when a person to be examined medically is female, then the examination shall be made only by or under the supervision of female registered medical practitioner.
  6. Attendance cannot be required at any other place- Section 160 CrPC protects women saying that no woman shall be required to attend any place other than a place in which she resides. Hence, a police officer cannot require the attendance of a woman, but on the contrary, he has to go to the place where she resides for making an investigation and can interrogate in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends.
  7. No arrests after sunset- Because to concerns of violation of the rights of women, section 46(4) provides that forbids the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise, except in exceptional circumstances, in which case the arrest can be done by a woman police officer after making a written report and obtaining a prior permission from the concerned Judicial Magistrate of First class.
  8. Time  does not matter in cases of rape or molestation. Police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the incident.
  9. Protection of identity- Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed. Section 228 of IPC makes the disclosure of the identity of a victim a punishable offence.
  10. Doctor’s Report is not a conclusive proof- A case of rape cannot be dismissed even if doctor says no rape had been committed. Report of the doctor can only act as a proof. The only state 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 doctor cannot decide on this.

The Crimes identified under the Special Laws

  • The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948
  • The Plantation Labour Act, 1951
  • The Family Courts Act, 1954
  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954
  • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 with amendment in 2005
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 1995)
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  • The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1976
  • The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983
  • The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1986
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *