10 Legal Rights: Every Woman must Know
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  1. You are entitled to Free Legal Aid: 

When a woman goes to the police station without being accompanied by a lawyer she is either quoted wrong, ignored or humiliated for her statements. She should be aware of the fact that she has a right to get the legal aid and that she should demand for it. “According to a Delhi High Court ruling, whenever a rape is reported, the senior house officer has to bring this to the notice of the Delhi Legal Services Authority. The legal body then arranges for a lawyer for the victim,” says a women rights lawyer.

#2 You can’t be called to the police station:

Women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This law provides Indian women the right of not being physically present at the police station for interrogation. “The police can interrogate a woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends,”. So, the next time you’re called to the police station for queries or interrogation when you have faced any kind of harassment, quote this guideline of the Supreme Court to exercise your right and remind the cops about it.

#3 Police cannot refuse to accept your FIR:

You can file an FIR at your nearest police station. No police officer can refuse to register an FIR, if the offence being reported occurred outside their police station’s jurisdiction. S/he is bound to register the FIR (this is called a zero FIR) and forward it to the concerned police station.            

                               WHAT TO DO IF THE POLICE REFUSE TO REGISTER AN FIR?

  1. Send your complaint in writing to the Superintendent of Police (SP)     by registered post.
  2. Make a written complaint to the concerned State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission that the police are not doing their duty of enforcing the law or that they are being negligent, biased or corrupt.

#4 You can file your FIR through E-mail: 

If you are unable to go to police station due to any reason you can also file FIR online every Sate Government in India has its own website where the steps to file E-FIR has been given.

For more information please contact at the contact information given at the end of the article.

According to the guidelines issued by the Delhi Police, a woman has the privilege of lodging a complaint via email or registered post. If, for some reason, a woman can’t go to the police station, she can send a written complaint through an email or registered post addressed to a senior police officer of the level of Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner of Police. The officer then directs the SHO of the police station, of the area where the incident occurred, to conduct proper verification of the complainant and lodge an FIR. The police can then come over to the residence of the victim to take her statement.

#5 There is no time limit for filing FIR:

The police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has elapsed since the incident of rape or molestation took place. If the police tells you that they can’t lodge your FIR since you didn’t report it earlier, do not concede

#6 No arrests after sunset:

Between 6 pm and 6 am, a woman has the right to REFUSE to go to the Police Station, even if an arrest warrant has been issued against her. It is a procedural issue that a woman can be arrested between 6 pm and 6 am, ONLY if she is arrested by a woman officer and taken to an ALL WOMEN police station.

According to a Supreme Court ruling, a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. Even if there is a woman constable accompanying the officers, the police can’t arrest a woman at night. In case the woman has committed a serious crime, the police has to get it in writing from the magistrate explaining why the arrest is necessary during the night.

#7 You are entitled to protection by your employer:

It is the duty of every employer to create a Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee within the organisation for redressal of such complaints. According to a guideline issued by the Supreme Court, and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2012 it is mandatory for all firms, public and private, to set up these committees to resolve matters of sexual harassment. It is also necessary that the committee be headed by a woman and comprise 50% women as members. Also, one of the members should be from a women’s welfare group.

#8 You have right to privacy while recording statement:

A woman who has been raped has a right to record her statement in private, in front of the magistrate without being overheard by anyone else. She also has a freedom to record her statement with a lady constable or a police officer in personal. Under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the cops will have to give the privacy to the victim without stressing her in front of masses.

#9 Your identity cannot be revealed without your permission:

Under no circumstances can the identity of a rape victim be revealed. Neither the police nor media can make known the name of the victim in public. Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code makes the disclosure of a victim’s identity a punishable offense. Printing or publishing the name or any matter which may make known the identity of a woman against whom an offense has been committed is punishable. This is done to prevent social victimisation or ostracism of the victim of a sexual offense. Even while a judgment is in progress at the high court or a lower court, the name of the victim is not indicated, she is only described as ‘victim’ in the judgment.

#10 A Doctor cant decide weather you were sexually assaulted or not:

A case of rape can’t be dismissed even if the doctor says rape had not taken place. A victim of rape needs to be medically examined as per Section 164 A of the Criminal Procedure Code, and only the report can act as proof. “A woman has the right to have a copy of the medical report from the doctor. Rape is crime and not a medical condition. It is a legal term and not a diagnosis to be made by the medical officer treating the victim. The only statement 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 the doctor can’t decide on this,” explains Adv Lakhsya Manchanda (Practicing lawyer :Delhi High Court and Supreme court of India)

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