National commission for women (NCW):
The National Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 ( Act No. 20 of 1990 of Govt.of India ) to :
- review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women;
- recommend remedial legislative measures;
- facilitate redressal of grievances and
- advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women
Vision and mission:
The Indian Woman, secure in her home and outside, fully empowered to access all her rights and entitlements, with opportunity to contribute equally in all walks of life.
To strive towards enabling women to achieve equality and equal participation in all spheres of life by securing her due rights and entitlements through suitable policy formulation, legislative measures, effective enforcement of laws, implementation of schemes/policies and devising strategies for solution of specific problems/situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women.
Functions of the Commission:
- As per Section 10 of NCW Act, the Commission has the following functions:
(a) Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws:
(b) Present to the Central Government annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards:
(c) Make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for improving the conditions of women by the Union or any State:
(d) Review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislation:
(e) Take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities;
(f) Look into complaints and take Suo-moto notice of matters relating to: -
(i) deprivation of women’s rights
(ii) non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and also to achieve the objective of equality and development;
(iii) non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women, 2 Citizens’ /Clients’ Charter for National Commission for Women 2021 - 2022 3. Page and take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities;
(g) Call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women and identify the constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal;
(h) undertake promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding their advancement, such as lack of access to housing and basic services, inadequate support services and technologies for reducing drudgery and occupational health hazards and for increasing their productivity;
(i) Participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of women;
(j) Evaluate the progress of the development of women under the Union and any State;
(k) inspect or cause to be inspected a jail, remand home, women’s institution or other place of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise, and take up with the concerned authorities for remedial action, if found necessary;
(l) Fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women;
(m)Make periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil;
(n) Any other matter that may be referred to it by the Government.
Laws come under NCW:
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961) (Amended in 1986)
- The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987 (3 of 1988)
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION and REDRESSAL) Act, 2013
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
- The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
- The Indian Penal Code,1860
- The Indian Evidence Act,1872
Why in news?
- At a consultation organised by the National Commission for Women on amendments to criminal law 19-01-2022, there was unanimity among speakers that marital rape should be criminalised. The meeting also discussed rising instances of cyber-crime against women and the need for gender-neutral rape laws.
- The NCW is expected to have another round of discussion on this issue, following which it will send the recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is looking at a review of the Criminal Law, including the IPC, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- The petitions have sought striking down exception to Section 375 of the IPC, which says forceful sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being 18 years, is not rape.