ISSUES RELATED TO PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
By- Shashank Kumar Kashyap, a 3rd Year B.A.Ll.B.(H) student at University Law College, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh -825301
The plight of women and children is one of the major issues of the nation. The growth of a nation sans development of women and children is nothing but a myth. Especially when it comes to those children who are indigent and have no family to look after them, it becomes essential to bring them in the mainstream to settle their precious life that shall ultimately contribute towards the nation’s growth.
The women face umpteen problems in their life. The women are left abandoned because they are harshly stigmatised by society and many more reasons that could ever be imagined. Once they are brought in mainstream and given an opportunity, they would also get a chance to prove their capabilities. Women and children are the elixirs of society, but unfortunately, they have suffered for ages, and they still are. Being extremely vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse, they are required to be protected with the utmost care.
PROBLEMS RELATED TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The protection of women and children is one of the cardinal tasks of a nation. And, India is a country that has taken effective steps towards attaining this object. Undoubtedly, there are numerous issues related to this. Before dealing with those issues, it is significant to understand the importance of the protection of children and women. All children are vulnerable by virtue of their age and so can be easily exposed to harm, injuries, violence, and exploitation.
Child Protection is any measure or initiative that addresses or prevents children from situations of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Child Protection must ensure that no child falls out of the social security and safety net, and those who do, receive necessary care and protection to be brought back into the safety net. It must be taken in the note that a child is protected when he is taken care of and not when left neglected. He must not encounter any discrimination that may have a long-lasting effect on his mental as well as physical health. If such things happen, then that would be counterproductive in his formative years. Moreover, there are undesirable issues that an orphan kid is exposed to; he is faced with irreparable tangible damages.
It is extremely challenging to provide a house to an orphan kid for parental care that too suitably and in accordance with the wish of a child. Taking steps towards the benefit of an orphan kid, it is the concept of “Welfare of child is paramount” that prevails and is of prime consideration. Though, there are apprehensions that the child may react in hostility if not given in the family of his wish, notwithstanding the fact that the family is most suitable for his welfare. It may be said that there is no straight-jacket formula for the welfare of a child as human psychology differs and so their reactions towards different situations of life. This may lead the child to go out of the socially accepted ways and incur delinquency.
So, this must be dealt with very carefully. There is a rampant increase in the number of cases of child abuse lately. This issue is major because of the fact that a child does not have that standard of understanding during his/her early age and, in the absence of proper parental care and negligence, may fall prey to physical, mental, or sexual abuse.
Furthermore, a child with special abilities may get ill-treated by the people and remains deprived of liberty and is at high risk of getting hurt, eventually. This disparity is so disastrous that could mould and shape the mindset of the child on a very negative note. The other issue related thereto is lack of education. There are children completely bereft of education and primary care. Every child has a right to an education that is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India under Article 21A.
The problems of women are quite disconsolate and exasperating and so must be addressed and discussed extensively. They have been into unending suffering since ages, irrespective of the fact that they have played a vital role in the development of the nation. They are the ones who have always been taken for granted by the society assuming the work done by them as a mere duty or tasks of no importance and so never got acknowledged for the same.
There are endless reasons behind such thought processes, but a patriarchal mindset is a significant reason amongst all. The mindset of people have gone obsolete and requires to undergo a complete metamorphosis. Evidently, women are faced with discrimination based on gender even at their workplace, where they are provided with remuneration according to their capabilities and caliber and are still doubted on. Besides, women face myriad challenges in every walk of life.
Under IPC, crimes against women include rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, dowry deaths, sexual harassment, etc. The issue is that the punishment of such heinous crimes must be adequate and commensurate to have a deterrent effect on the public at large. The cases of these gruesome offences must be tried apace so as to deliver justice as earliest as possible. But most of these cases go unreported, getting the culprit acquitted due to lack of evidence resulting in low conviction rate. There are incidents of domestic violence and dowry deaths that is increasing at an alarming rate. These incidents are needed to be curbed and could be only curbed with the joint and collective efforts of the people.
STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT FOR PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
It will not be out of place to mention that in India to shield the interest of women and children, there are numerous legislations in consonance with it. It has firmly been assured through these laws that the interests of women and children remain intact. Moreover, there are laws so stringent for the very same purpose. It ensures that no man or body assumes an unbridled authority over women or children. Neither are they left upon on the benevolence of the society that is with it because these uncertainties are the critical cause of the exploitation of women and children.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has been administering various special laws relating to women such as ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’, ‘The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961’, ‘The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986’, ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’, and ‘The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006’.
India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Right of Child (UNCRC) since 1992. In adherence to its commitment to ensuring child rights, the Government has framed the National Policy for Children 2013 and National Plan of Action 2016. It has also framed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and The Commissions for Protection of Child Right (CPCR) Act, 2005. It must be taken note that there stand many reasons for the enactment of these laws, but enforcement of these laws requires strict compliance from the public at large.
The change has to be brought in the thought process of the people at ground level. The cognitive faculties of the people must be enlightened with the lessons of righteousness and universal acceptance that is the concept propounded by India itself. This enlightenment should be done so much so that the people themselves start standing against the atrocities against women and children. And, once the conscience of the people gets moved in that way, then major impediments would automatically get eradicated.
Moreover, the Supreme Court of India has passed a significant judgment that is, of course, expedient in reducing the gender inequality wherein it is held that a daughter will have a share after the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, irrespective of whether her father was alive or not at the time of the amendment. This is a landmark judgment that has paved way towards equality.
The government aims to curb arbitrariness towards women and children and eliminate disparities. And, the necessary steps have been prompted towards achieving the same. Moreover, the need of the hour is to instill the significance of awareness in people so that it helps them growing up as an individual. The idea is to have a sound implementation mechanism to curb the problems and that it is possible only when the people are willing to bring about a change in that regard. The modus operandi of dealing with such matters must get updated periodically to assuage the current demands. Hence, working on the problems positively shall give a healthy outcome.
 Child Protection.
 Meaning of abuse.
 Crimes against women.
 Protection of women and child rights.
 Rights of daughters.
(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Child Rights Centre.)