Human rights are those rights concerning the world wide progress of every
individual. In the constitution of India diverse proviso are there that outlines
the human rights which are also known as fundamental rights of all human beings,
irrespective of race, sex, nationality, customs, gender, faith, etc.
Human rights include the right to live with integrity and liberty, right to
education and work, liberty of speech and expression, freedom from oppression
and enslavement ,and many more. India is the uttermost democracy of the world.
Being a democratic country we have to safeguard our basic rights of the people.
The Government of India has also given due consideration to the recognition and
protection of human rights.
Human rights are a set of rules exercised with equality and fairness. Human
rights prerequisite apprehension and respect for the fundamental dignity to
assure that everyone is secured against wrongs which disempower their dignity,
and give the possibilities they urge to recognize their full potential, free
from inequity. The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human
rights on 10 December 1948 which proclaimed that all human beings are born free
and have equal right to dignity.
The essence of gender equality is distinguished in the Indian Constitution. The
Constitution not only imposes equality to women, but also formulate the State
with the ability to take measures of resolute discrimination in favor of women
in order to pacify their amalgamated socio-economic and political disadvantages.
History of Women Rights;The history of women in India parted into three phases:
(2.1. 1st Phase- Early stages in the mid-19th century, originated when
reformists established to promulgate in favour of women rights by forming
reforms in education, customs engaging women;
(2.2. 2nd Phase- From 1915 to Indian independence, when Mahatma Gandhi
associated women's movements into the Quit India movement and independent
women's corporation began to rise; and finally,
(2.3. 3rd Phase- Post-independence, which has concentrated on equitable treatise
for women at home after marriage, in the workforce, and right to political
3. Status of Women in Ancient India:
3.1. In the Ancient Indus valley civilisation of India;
3.2 During the Rig Vedic period;
- Traces show the worship of the mother goddess. Hence, the devotion for
the mother is manifest from beginning to the end of that period.
- Given proportionate honour beyond men in society. � Women endured entire
freedom & treated it pleasant.
3.3 Later Vedic Period:
- Continued appreciating entire freedom & equality with men. � It is known
that the status of wife was respected and women's status was recognized. �
Women were commanding over men especially in the performing of religious
The marriage & educational rights remains same:
The significance of ceremonies increased in this period and so did the prestige
of the Brahmans.
- Privileges in religious rituals going down.
- Religious rituals constantly increasing were headed by the priests
resulting in failing her paramount place in the household.
- This was the period during which the significance of ceremonies
increased and so did the prestige of the Brahmans.
(3.4. Upanishads period:
- Needs for sons ongoing, sati was not prevailing.
- The status of women was not as huge as it was in the Rig Vedic period.
- Female workers were indulging in dying, embroidery and basket making.
3 4. Status of Women in the Medieval Period In 500 B.C:
- Marriage between the male of an extreme caste and female of a lower
caste was caused during this period.
- The rules of Panini towards Abhi vadana (greeting as a mark of respect
to elderly persons in the house. shows that the residence of wives of the
lower caste in a house and their unions with ladies of a extremer caste
brought down the general level of womanly culture and led to a decline in
The position of women began to fall and with the Islamic violence of Babur and
Mughal Empire and the Christianity later exaggerated women's freedom and rights.
Indian women's status in society further devalued through the mediaeval period,
when child marriages and a ban on remarriage by widows became part of social
life in some localities in India.
The Muslim defeating in the Indian subcontinent led purdah to Indian society.
Among the Rajputs of Rajasthan, the Jauhar was executed. In some parts of India,
some of Devadasis were sexually abused. During British rule many agitators
fought for the enhancement of the women. Women also solicited in the struggle of
the independence of India.
The mediaeval time era saw substantial changes in the lives of women.
5. Problems Faced by Women in the Medieval Period;
- They were regarded to be less than their male equivalents. The birth of
a female child was not honoured.
- In some communities, female foeticide and female infanticide were common
customs. � Other practices like Sati, child marriage, and widows not being
allowed to remarry represent women's impoverished status. � Girls were
considered liabilities. They were bred in terms of carrying out household
responsibilities and taking care of children.
- They were discouraged from attending school because it was assumed that
they would not be able to put their educational qualifications, skills, and
abilities to use in their marital homes.
Women faced a variety of difficulties that led to a deterioration in their
status, including child marriage, the purdah system, Sati, Jauhar, and
restrictions on girls' education.
(5.1. Child Marriage; � Child marriage was ordinary practice during the medieval
period. � The custom of child marriage was considered as one of the major
societal issues, as it restricted girls from contributing in various tasks and
commotion that would help to enhance their inclusive quality of life. � This was
unfortunate and regarded as one of the major barriers to female advancement.
5.2. Purdah System;
- Women were directed to stay in purdah (veil.. They were required to
cover their faces.
- They were not given the liberty to live their lives in solidarity with
their desires and wishes due to the order of the purdah system.
- The purdah system characterises the privacy of women from public notice
through the use of clothing as well as high-walled courtyards, screens, and
curtains in homes.
- Purdah is a practice that originated in Persian culture and was acquired
by Muslims during the Arab conquest of what is now Iraq in the 17th Century
- Sati was the custom of flaming widows alive on their husband's funeral
- According to ancient Hindu customs, the practice of Sati indicated the
end of a marriage.
- It is a willful act in which women accompany their husbands to
- The position of widows had ruined in mediaeval times and they were put
on to give up their lives on their husbands' funeral cremation.
- This practice arose in the deaths of thousands of women.
- Even those women who desired to live and did not want to give up their
lives on their husbands' funeral crematories were forced to do Sati.
(5.5. Restriction on Female Education:
- The Hindu practice of mass self- sacrifice of women, or their
implementation by their husbands, fathers, or brothers, was known as Jauhar.
- During enmity between Hindu Rajput kingdoms and Muslim armies, this
practice was widely esteemed.
- The principal goal of this practice is to avoid misuse and detainment in
the event of military defeat or capture.
5.6. Practice of Devadasi:
- The girls were depressed from going to school and attaining an
- The reason for this is that they will not be able to obtain education in
the implementation of various types of household duties if they attend
6. Status of Women in Modern Period:
(6.1. Modern India states to the period from 1700 A.D. to 1947 A.D
- Devadasis was a trending custom in Southern India.
- Girls were enthusiastic to temples in the name of gods and goddesses
under this system.
- The girls were later called "Devadasis," which means "servant of God."
- These Devadasis were said to live celibate lives.
- The gifts made to the temples assured all of the needs of Devadasis.
- They used to put in their time in temples devoted to God and singing and
dancing for him.
Women in modern India have largely been persuaded by the agendas of reform and
elevation mainly directed by the western democratic and humanitarian doctrine.
Before the emergence of the British in India, the life of women was quite
oppressive, and they were subject to a stable method of domination and social
During British rule, a number of modifications were made in the economic and
social resources of Indian society, and some significant progress was attained
in destruction of imbalances between men and women, in education, employment,
social rights, etc. The women rights in India can be categorised into two
categories, namely as constitutional rights and legal rights. The constitutional
rights are those which are dignified within the constitutional proviso. The
legal rights, on the other hand, are those which are instituted within the
parliamentary legislations as well as the state legislations.
6.2. Women's Human Rights Under Constitutional Framework;
The Indian Constitution is the sovereign law of India; all other rules and
regulations get directed by the provisions of the Constitution. 'Indian
constitution acquires for all its citizens "Justice" - social, economic and
political, "Liberty" - of thoughts, expression, belief, faith and worship,
"Equality"- of status and of opportunity and dignity of the individual and the
integrity of the nation.' With such wordings, the preamble of the Indian
constitution ensures the basic human rights of all men as well as women.
However, a special protection has also been provided to women under the
provisions of the constitution from the perspective of human rights of women.
6.3. Right to Equality under Article 14:
Article 1 of UDHR declares that all human beings are born free and equal in
dignity and rights and article 7 provides for equality before law. Under the
constitutional framework of India the status of women is equal to men in the
eyes of law because the state cannot deny to any person equality before the law
or the equal protection of laws within the territory of India.
6.4. Right to Equal opportunity in Public Employment:
Women are able to get equal opportunity pertaining to public employment because
there is equality of opportunity for all citizens, whether males or females, in
matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under state.
6.5. Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression:
Women can raise their voice for any matter affecting them by using their right
under Article 19 (1. (a. of Indian Constitution which guarantees freedom of
speech and expression to all citizens.
6.6. Right to work:
UDHR in its article 23(1. confirms the right to work, to free choice of
employment. Recognizing such rights in its structure, the Indian Constitution
through article 19 (1. (g. provides the right to work to Indian women by
ensuring freedom to all citizens for occupation, profession and business.
6.7. Right to Life and Personal Liberty: Right to life, liberty and security of
a person has been recognized under article 3 of UDHR. Article 21 of Indian
Constitution also provides right to live to all women and men as per their own
choice by constitutional guarantee that no person shall be deprived of his/her
life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
6.6. Right against Exploitation:
Article 5 of UDHR protects against torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. Indian Constitution under article 23 protects against human
trafficking and bonded labour, which works as a shield for women's safety and
ensures their right to work.
6.7. Right to Livelihood:
Article 39 (a. provides that the citizens, whether men or women, equally have
the right to an adequate means to livelihood. Same right has been recognized
under article 23(3. of UDHR which says that everyone who works has the right to
just and favourable remuneration.
6.8. Equal Pay for Equal Work:
Under article 39 (d., Indian Constitution ensures that the state shall, in
particular its policy towards securing that there is equal pay for equal work
for not only men but also women. UDHR under article 23(2. also provides such a
6.9. Just and Human Conditions of Work and Maternity Relief:
Article 42 of the Constitution directs that the state shall make provision for
securing just and human conditions of work and for maternity relief.
6.10. Right of Constitutional Remedies:
In case of the infringement of any of these fundamental rights, the victimised
woman can move Supreme Court and High Court and file writ petition under Article
32 & Article 226 for petitioning remedy but there is no such procedure available
in case of Directive Principles of State Policy, which are not legitimate by any
court under writ judicature. The state is under service to enforce such doctrine
through its policy. Hence, Directive Principles of State Policy enforce a moral
duty on the state for their execution.
7. Legal Rights to Women: The following various legislation's contain several
rights and measures for women:
7.1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005.: is an integral
legislation to safeguard women in India from all forms of domestic violence. It
also covers women who have been/are in a relationship with the violator and are
charged to violence of any kind�physical, sexual, mental, verbal or emotional.
7.2. Immoral Traffic (Prevention. Act (1956.: is the primary legislation for
safeguard of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. In other words, it
prevents trafficking in women and girls for the object of prostitution as an
systematic means of living.
7.3. Commission of Sati: (Prevention. Act (1987. provides for the more efficient
prevention of the commission of sati and its elevation on women.
7.4. Dowry Prohibition Act (1961.: forbids the giving or taking of dowry at or
before or any time after the marriage from women.
7.5. Maternity Benefit Act ( 1961.: alters the employment of women in certain
institutions for certain periods before and after child-birth and provides for
maternity privilege and certain other benefits.
7.6. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (1971.: provides for the
discontinuation of certain pregnancies by certified medical practitioners on
humanitarian and medical grounds.
7.7. Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act (1939. :grants a Muslim wife the right
to seek the separation of her marriage.
7.8. Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce. Act (1986.:protects the
rights of Muslim women who have been divorced by or have obtained divorce from
7.9. Family Courts Act (1984.: provides for the formulation of Family Courts for
speedy settlement of family conflicts.
7.10. Indian Penal Code (1860. :constitutes provisions to safeguard Indian women
from dowry death, rape, kidnapping, cruelty and other offences.
7.11. Code of Criminal Procedure (1973.: has certain safeguards for women like
the duty of a person to maintain his wife, arrest of women by female police and
7.12. Indian Christian Marriage Act (1872.: constitutes provisions relating to
marriage and divorce among the Christian community.
7.13. Legal Services Authorities Act ( 1987.: provides for free legal services
to Indian women.
7.14. Hindu Marriage Act (1955.: introduced monogamy and allowed divorce on
definite specified grounds. It provided equal rights to Indian men and women in
respect of marriage and divorce.
7.15. Hindu Succession Act (1956.: It determines the right of women to inherit
parental property equally with men.
7.16. Minimum Wages Act (1948.: does not allow discrimination between male and
female workers or different minimum wages for them.
7.17. Mines Act (1952. and Factories Act (1948.: prohibits the employment of
women between 7 P.M. to 6 A.M. in mines and factories and provides for their
safety and welfare.
A key element of sustainable enhancement economic growth, and peace and security
is the theory of gender equality and women empowerment. Diverse studies have
shown that women's rights are endorsed and taken solemnly when society as a
whole perquisite from this.
Through legislation, women have had recognition constitutional and fundamental
rights, which has demonstrated to be one of the most beneficial ways of
empowering women. The bare existence of laws is not adequate if those for whom
they are made are unfamiliar and unable to use them adequately. That is where
the legal empowerment of women comes into play.
- IJCRT2004047|International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts (IJCRT.
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