- Legal Explainers (128)
- Resources (9)
What is abortion?
Abortion refers to the termination of a pregnancy by a doctor. It is called 'medical termination of pregnancy' in legal parlance.
What is Free Legal Aid?
Free legal aid means providing legal services, free of cost, to certain sections of the society like a beggar, differently-abled person, etc., as and when required. This does not mean that anyone can go and ask for legal aid. You have to be eligible to apply for it.
What is Dowry?
Dowry is anything which has value (such as cash and property) which is given by the bride’s family to the groom’s family as a condition of marriage.
What is Acid Attack?
An acid attack is the crime of hurting a person by throwing acid on them, administering acid to that person or doing anything with acid with the intention or knowledge that it would harm the person.
What are Maternity Benefits for women in India?
Maternity benefit is the amount an employer pays a woman when she is going to have a child to protect women employees rights during pregnancy
Filing a Complaint against Sexual Harassment
The law has provided a detailed mechanism for filing complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace.
What is Rape?
Rape is the crime that occurs when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can happen in several ways. Actions such as following a person on the streets or in any public space, peeping into their bedroom, making sexual gestures at them while they are at work or in the classroom, singing lewd songs - all of this is sexual harassment.
Who does this law apply to?
A pregnant woman can seek a legal abortion under two circumstances - to safeguard her health and in case of fetal abnormality.
What are inheritance rights?
When it comes to immovable property, inheritance refers to the transfer of a property’s ownership after the death of an individual.
Legal services are any service with respect to a case or any other legal proceeding before any Court, authority or tribunal. Getting legal advice is also a part of legal service.
Under the Indian law, it is illegal to demand dowry from anyone related to the bride or groom as a condition of marriage.
Who does the law protect?
The law on acid attack protects all persons, regardless of their gender. Further, there are no specifications in the law in terms of the age of the survivor.
Who can seek Maternity Benefits?
Maternity benefits can be sought by expectant mothers, adoptive mothers as well as those recovering from an abortion or tubectomy.
Victims of Sexual Harassment at Workplace
If you are a working woman in any capacity, you will be protected from being subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace.
What is Consent?
Consent is voluntary, clear and unmistakable agreement by a person who expresses their willingness to take part in a specific sexual act.
How is Invasion of Privacy a Sexual Crime?
Everyone has a right to privacy. This means that anyone can do anything, sexual or not, thinking that no one is watching them (provided that it shouldn’t be illegal). Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.
When is an abortion legally allowed?
Abortion is legally permitted only if the term of the pregnancy is not more than 20 weeks. However, this maybe exempted in certain cases.
Eligibility for Legal Aid
If you want legal aid, you will need to go to a legal service authority. Once you approach the authority, they will check whether you are eligible for legal aid and the genuineness of your case.
Exchange/Giving or Taking Dowry
Any person who gives or takes dowry, and anyone who helps in the exchange of dowry, can be punished under the Indian law.
What are the rights a person has under this law?
Survivors of acid attacks have the right to seek medical treatment, right to file a complaint and right to compensation.
You are entitled to leave from work when you are having a child. However, this differs based on certain circumstances.
Actions and Behaviours seen as Sexual Harassment
According to law, several acts can be considered as sexual harassment. It include any behaviour or action that makes a woman uncomfortable.
Consent of a minor
Sex with a girl who is below eighteen years of age (a minor) is considered as rape, even if the girl consents to have sex.
What is Forceful Sexual Behaviour?
There are many forms of forceful sexual behaviour that a person might encounter, including forcefully removing clothes and rape.
Can an abortion be conducted after 20 weeks of pregnancy?
Except in case of emergeny abortions, the law does not state who can take a decision if an abortion is required after 20 weeks.
Crimes against women belonging to SC/ST groups
It is a crime to sexually touch a woman belonging to an SC/ST without her consent. Practices like devadasi are also illegal.
Costs in Legal Aid
There is no charge for getting an application form for free legal aid. You are not required to spend any money for either getting or submitting the application. Even expenses like Process Fees, Drafting Fees, Typing Fees, Clerkage, etc. are borne by the legal service institutions.
FIRs filed for Women Related Offences
The information related to acid attacks and sexual offences has to be registered by a woman police officer or any other woman officer.
Complaining about a Demand for Dowry
Under the Indian law, in case you have been coerced into paying dowry, you can still file a complaint against the offenders.
What are the offences and punishments under this law?
The crimes relating to acid attacks have been specified under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Anyone can be punished for the crimes given below regardless of their gender.
Salary during Maternity Leave
Employers have to pay women 'maternity benefit' for the period during which they are absent from work as a result of their pregnancy.
Workplaces where you can File a Complaint
If you have faced sexual harassment at workplace, complaint must be lodged with the Internal Complaints Committee of your office.
Punishment for Rape
The punishment for rape is imprisonment for ten years to life imprisonment, along with a fine, under Section 376(1) of the IPC.
What are Sexual Remarks and Threats?
If anyone says anything sexual to or sexually threatens a person, it is a crime under the law. Only a man can be punished for the crime.
Is it more beneficial to register an immovable property on a woman’s name?
It is more beneficial to register an immovable property on a woman’s name, due to financial benefits offered for women buying property.
Who can perform abortions?
Under the law in India , only a ‘Registered Medical Practitioner’ can perform the abortion procedure. Three criteria must be fulfilled.
Arresting a Woman
A woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise (unless in exceptional circumstances) and a lady constable has to be present when a woman is being arrested.
Where do you go for Legal Aid
You can approach the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committees and the High Court Legal Services Committees for applying for legal aid.
Signs of domestic violence
Domestic violence can be of many different kinds and in many form, such as verbal, sexual, etc. An indicative list of signs of domestic violence is mentioned herein.
Mehr and Dower Not Dowry
According to the Indian law, It is important to note that Mehr or Dower given during Muslim marriages is not the same as dowry.
Are the offences bailable or non-bailable/ cognizable?
The crime of throwing or helping someone throw acid, is both cognizable and non-bailable under the Indian law.
Responsibility of Employers
At the time of joining the employment, employers have to inform women about maternity benefit available in the organization.
Accused of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace
Only women are protected from being sexually harassed at their place of work, but sexual harassment can be done by anyone, male or female.
What is Gang Rape?
Gang rape refers to the rape of a woman by multiple people/a group of people acting together with the common intention to rape. In a case of gang rape, each person in the group is guilty of the crime.
What is an Inappropriate Sexual Touch?
If someone inappropriately touches a person with a sexual intention, it is a crime under the law. The touch may or may not be forceful, but the perpetrator will still be punished for their actions.
How does the law protect the rights of the pregnant woman?
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 states that a pregnant woman’s consent is mandatory for an abortion to be performed.
How to Apply for Legal Aid?
While applying for legal aid, you will require at least proof of identification and an affidavit proving you are eligible for legal aid.
Where can Domestic Violence Happen?
An act of domestic violence can happen anywhere. It need not always be confined to the house you are living in.
Agreement to Pay Dowry
Any agreement for the exchange of dowry is not valid. You cannot go to court if your future or existing father-in-law refuses to pay dowry after entering into an agreement to pay you dowry.
How do you seek medical treatment?
The medical process for the treatment and care for a survivor of an acid attack along with the legal paperwork required is mentioned herein.
How to claim Maternity Benefits?
The employer must pay you your maternity benefit before your delivery. Give your employer a written notice of the same.
When to file a Complaint against Sexual Harassment
Generally, you must file a complaint within three months of the incident of sexual harassment that you have faced.
Punishment for Repeating the Crime
If someone has been previously held guilty for the crime of rape/gang rape, and they are subsequently held guilty for rape/gang rape again, the punishment is more severe.
What are Sexual Favours or Demands?
If anyone asks for or demands any sexual favours from a person without their consent and despite their disinterest, then it is a crime. Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.
Can a married woman terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
Within 20 weeks of the pregnancy, the doctor can perform the abortion if the married woman desires and is necessary for her mental health.
Help and Support
You can reach out to the National Legal Services Authority to lodge a complaint and track your application. You can also email or call the state-wise authorities (Legal Service Authorities) given below in case of a grievance, or if you need help and support.
What are the Rights and Remedies for Victims against Domestic Violence?
Victims of domestic violence have certain rights under the domestic law as well as remedies to protect themselves and their children. The Protection Officer, or a service provider, has a duty to inform you of these rights and remedies.
Women’s Right to Take Possession of the Dowry
If dowry has been given or taken at or after your wedding and the same is received by your husband or in-laws or any other person, they have to hand it over to you as it is your property.
Who can file a Complaint?
The complaint can be filed by the survivor of the acid attack, a relative, friend or acquaintance or any person who has witnessed the crime.
Workplaces with Maternity Benefits
Maternity Benefits under law are applicable to almost all government and private establishments and offices.
Work Environment after Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint
Victims of sexual harassment are entitled to legal protections to make it more comfortable for them to continue working.
Indian law does not criminalise marital rape. The law does not punish a husband for having forcible sexual intercourse with his wife without her consent, unless she is a minor.
What are Sexual Gestures?
If anyone makes any sexual gestures that are insulting and sexual in nature, it is a crime. Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.
Is there a provision for emergency abortions in India?
If there is a need to conduct an immediate abortion to save a pregnant woman’s life, no matter how far along the pregnancy is, the doctor can conduct the abortion.
If you are not satisfied with the decision given by the relevant Legal Service Authority on your application for a grant of legal aid, an appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the relevant Legal Services Authority.
Who can seek Protection against Domestic Violence?
Any woman can file a complaint and seek protection against domestic violence under the law, for herself and her child/children. The religion of the woman does not matter.
Ban on Advertising for Dowry
It is illegal to advertise dowry in any newspaper, periodical, journal or any other media, the offer of any money, share in a business or property as dowry in return for marrying your son, daughter or relative.
How do you file a complaint?
The legal process following an acid attack includes, filing an FIR, police investigation and filing of charge sheet, after which the trial begins.
Fired during Maternity Leave
You cannot be dismissed or fired, conditions of work altered, etc by your employer during or due to your maternity leave.
Punishment for Sexual Harassment
The Committee investigating sexual harassment complaint will recommend punishment according to the service rules of their workplace.
Abuse of Position or Authority
If a man has control over a woman because of his job or position, and uses this control to make a woman have sex with him, it is a crime.
How do you Complain against Sexual Crimes?
If you want to complain against sexual crimes, you can do it through any of the ways that have been listed herein.
Does a woman suffering from mental illness have the right to get an abortion?
Consent of a guardian is necessary to perform abortion on a woman suffering from any mental illness under the MTP Act 1971.
Denial/Withdrawal of Legal Aid Services
After you fill out your application for legal aid, it can be denied or accepted. It can also be withdrawn at a later stage after the application has been accepted and legal aid has been provided.
What are the Domestic Violence Helplines?
You can reach out to certain helplines that will help you file a complaint, locate the relevant Protection Officer, and provide additional help and support.
Maintaining A List Of Gifts During Marriage
Giving gifts or presents by either the bride or groom at the wedding is not punishable when it has been done voluntarily.
What are the complaint forums/helplines?
If you are a survivor of acid attack, you can approach the police, NCW, Sub-divisional Magistrate or any of the National Helplines mentioned herein.
Maternity Benefit in case of death of a Woman
An employer has the duty to pay maternity benefit even in case the woman dies as a result of the pregnancy.
Your Privacy during the Complaint and Proceedings
The law grants the right to keep the sexual harassment victim's complaint and the things that happen after it private.
If you want to report a rape case, under the Indian law, you can follow the procedure which has been mentioned herein.
What is Stalking?
If a person repeatedly follows, contacts or monitors someone despite their disinterest or lack of consent, it is known as stalking. Stalking is a term used for numerous activities done by a person, which when taken together can disrupt the life of the survivor.
What is the law on abortion for rape survivors?
The law provides that a pregnant woman may get an abortion if her pregnancy is a result of rape, since it will hamper her mental health.
Receiving Legal Aid After Application
Once you have submitted your application for free legal aid, it will be scrutinized by the relevant Legal Services Authority to determine what is to be done. Once the scrutiny is complete, information about whether your application has been accepted/rejected will be provided to you within 7 days from the date of the receipt of the application.
How can you Get Help and Support against Domestic Violence?
While filing a domestic violence complaint, you might need additional support and help, which you can access by approaching the authorities listed herein.
Bail for Accused of Dowry-Related Offences
As per the Indian law, any person arrested under the offence of dowry cannot get bail as a matter of right.
How can you claim compensation under this law?
To seek compensation under the Victims Compensation Scheme, under the Indian law, the procedure is mentioned herein.
Nursing Breaks or Creche Facilities
Other benefits, besides maternity leave, i.e. nursing breaks and creche facilities allow women to make an easier transition back into work.
Employer’s Responsibility to Prevent Sexual Harassment
This post discusses the legally mandated steps an employer has to take certain steps to create a safe work environment for women.
Seeking Medical Help
Survivors have the right to get immediate and free first-aid or medical treatment from medical institutions (both public and private). The institution must also inform the police of the criminal incident.
What is Physical Stalking?
It is a crime to physically stalk someone, i.e. someone tries to follow a person wherever they go and contact them even after they have expressed their disinterest.
Can a pregnant minor give consent for an abortion?
The consent of a guardian is mandatory for performing an abortion on minors, i.e anyone below the age of 18 years.
How can you get Immediate Protection for Domestic Violence?
To seek immediate protection from domestic violence, you should file an application with the Court with the help of a Protection Officer or a lawyer.
Proving a Dowry-Related Crime
Usually, in criminal law it is upon the person making the complaint to prove that the person they are accusing has committed the crime.
What are the costs involved for survivors to exercise their rights?
For crimes of acid attack, medical and rehabilitation facilities must be provided to survivors free of cost, under the Indian law.
Complaints against Employer
Complaints against employer in case of maternity benefits can be filed with 'Inspectors' under the Act or with Womens' Commissions.
Forming an Internal Complaints Committee
Workplaces with more than 10 employees are required to set up an Internal Complaints committee to handle cases of Sexual Harassment.
Protecting the Identity of the Survivor
No one is allowed to print or publish the name or any matter which may reveal the identity of a survivor. The punishment for doing so is imprisonment for up to two years and a fine.
How does Stalking over the Phone Happen?
If someone repeatedly contacts a person through calls or texts by the means of a telephone, then, it is a crime under the law. Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.
Where can an abortion be performed?
Abortions can only be conducted at any of the government approved places like government hospitals and other approved places.
What are Medical Facilities and Shelter Homes?
If you have been subjected to domestic violence, it is your right to receive medical assistance. Whereas, Shelter homes are homes set up by the State Government to provide a safe space for women to stay in.
Cruelty and Deaths from Dowry Demands
Indian law criminalises the actions of cruelty and death resulting from dowry demands. This is known as dowry death.
How is the sale of acid regulated in India?
The sale of acid in India is governed by two levels of regulatory mechanisms, that is, State level rules and Supreme Court rules.
Proof of Pregnancy/Miscarriage/Abortion/Tubectomy/Operation
Proof of a pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion or tubectomy operation is necessary if you want to claim maternity benefits.
False Complaint of Sexual Harassment
False complaints made on purpose or fake documents given to the committee are taken very seriously and can be punished.
The inquiry and trial of a rape offence is conducted in camera i.e., not open to the public. However, the judge may allow a person to access or observe the court trial if one of the parties makes an application for the same.
What is Cyber Stalking?
If a person persistently monitors or follows a person’s activity on the internet through email, social networks and instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp etc. it is a crime of cyberstalking.
What are the abortion records to be kept by hospitals and doctors?
By way of records of an abortion, hospitals must maintain the doctor's opinion, the consent form of the patient and admission registers
What is Counseling under Domestic Violence law?
Counseling refers to the provision of professional guidance by a counselor, who will help you and your harasser settle the matter of the domestic violence you have faced, furnish a guarantee that violence will not repeat, and come up with the best possible solution to the problem of domestic violence.
Guidelines for Arrests in Cruelty and Dowry Cases
To prevent arrests from frivolous cases and misuse of the law on cruelty and dowry cases, the Supreme Court of India has issued certain guidelines for the police to follow while investigating cases of cruelty.
Responsibilities of Universities to Prevent Sexual Harassment
Any woman (student, teaching, non-teaching staff) of any age at a University campus can file a complaint of sexual harassment.
What are the offences and punishments under this law?
This post elaborates the offences and punishments enumerated under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971.
How can you File a Criminal Complaint for Domestic Violence?
By filing a criminal case, the harasser would be punished for the act of violence committed with jail-time and a fine.
Cases of Dowry Death
When the death of a woman within 7 years of her marriage was unnatural, i.e. caused by burns or injuries which are not ordinary, t is assumed that the husband or the relatives of the husband committed the crime of cruelty.
Approaching the Police (Criminal Complaint)
A criminal complaint can be filed if you are being sexually harassed at work. If proved, this will put your harasser in jail.
Who can you complain to regarding a grievance under the law?
You can approach the police to make a complaint. You can get in touch with the police by dialing the helpline number 100.
How can you file a complaint against domestic violence?
You or anyone on your behalf, can approach the authorities listed herein to file a complaint against any domestic violence that you have been facing.
Workplace doesn’t have an Internal Committee
If Internal Complaints Committee is absent, you can approach the Local Complaints Committee that has been set up by the District Officer.
Who gives approval to places to carry out abortions?
The District Level Committee is a body that has the power to approve certain places as being fit for carrying out abortions.
Compensation for Sexual Harassment
The amount of money that victims will receive as compensation is determined according to the provisions in the Act.
Who can You Complain against for Domestic Violence?
Under the Indian law, you have the provision to make a complaint against both men and women for domestic violence.
What are the Abortion Helplines?
You can call a helpline number 1800116555 to answer any queries regarding abortions and to understand where to get abortions
What is the Time Limit to Complain against Domestic Violence?
There is no specific time limit for filing a complaint against domestic violence, but you must be able to prove that you were in a domestic relationship with the harasser at the time the violence took place.
What is a Domestic Incident Report?
Domestic incident report (DIR) is a report that is made on receiving a complaint of domestic violence from a woman.
What is the Role of a Protection Officer?
Anyone, including someone you know, can visit, call, or write to a Protection officer in your district or an area nearby to complain against the violence and seek protection.
How can you go to Court for Domestic Violence?
If you have faced domestic violence, then you can file an application with the Court (Civil Court, Family Court or Criminal Court) for immediate help and protection.
What is a Residence Order under Domestic Violence law?
If you are being thrown out of your shared household (house) by your harasser, the Court can issue a residence order in such a case.
Format of Filing a Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaint
You can download the Format of Filing a Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaint. You will have to provide details like name, etc.
Email Complaint: When Company Does not Have an IC
Draft mail to the Employer/Promoter in instances where the Company does not have an IC but should have (for a company of 10 or more members)
Email Complaint: When Company Does not Constitute an IC
Draft mail to the District Officer or State Women Commission in instances where the Company does not constitute an IC but should have (for a company of 10 or more members)
Guide for Survivors of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace
This guide by Nyaaya and Ungender helps those who have faced sexual harassment at the workplace to navigate the legal process in such situations.
Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions
The Nyaaya Guide to Accessing Safe Abortions aims to highlight the rights available to women accessing abortions and the processes to be followed for a safe and legal abortion.
Guide on Registration of Inter-religious Marriages
This guide summarizes the legal and procedural aspects of entering into an inter-religious (special) marriage, including giving notice of the marriage, performing the marriage, and obtaining the marriage certificate.
Violence in Online Spaces
As more and more Indians spend time online, the law is evolving to protect us from violence in online spaces. Watch our videos to learn more about the protections available to you against online abuse and online crimes.
Violence Against Women
Legal awareness amongst women regarding their rights against violence and harassment is the need of the hour. Watch our videos to learn more about laws preventing violence against women.