The land of India has been guided by the Constitution since 1950. Deriving sources from different countries' constitutions, the Indian Constitution is an amalgamation of both rigid and flexible parts. The makers had kept in mind the socio-economic condition of the citizens back then in 1947. As the years passed, many articles came across amendments with the rising need of the hour. When it comes to women's social status in India, it has seen many crests and troughs with time.

The rig Vedic era was the one where both genders were at par, with time, the medieval era saw a fall in inequality for women and after independence, women could be seen in many top positions like president-ship, prime minister-ship, the speaker in Lok sabha, in the UNGA office, etc. Even though some women get a chance to make their place in the top office, many women face atrocities like rape, acid attack, molestation, etc. daily.

The condition of women in India has always been a concern. She is in threat from the womb to the tomb. The threat of foeticide when in the womb, the threat of getting abused – mentally, physically at any stage of life till she survives. For the past few years, women have been trying to fight for equal status but are unable to get on par with men; in society, in the workplace, etc. Although the constitution is a guardian for every citizen, the particular woman-guided rights need to be revised.

Women have been facing discrimination in many forms since ancient times. It includes forcing them to do sati, depriving basic rights to education, not having equal decision-making powers like men, and always being the only caregiver of the family. With the passing of time and the upgradation of society, the need to have a law protecting women and their basic rights was highly needed.

Every country has its constitution and offers basic fundamental rights to each citizen without discriminating against gender, race, religion, or place of birth. The constitution and the Indian Supreme court stand tall and strong as a guardian to every citizen. If a person- man, woman, child, transgender, etc. is denied any fundamental rights, they can at any time exercise their Right to constitutional remedies i.e., Article 32 of the Indian constitution. This right is the true essence of the constitution. It gives the freedom to the deprived citizen to directly approach the supreme court.

Apart from fundamental rights violations, women also face legal rights violations. It occurred recently that the coparcenary law came into existence in India before women were not involved in getting property rights from their parents after marriage. Women’s situation has remained derogatory in all spheres of her life. After marriage, there are instances where domestic violence, marital rape, extra-marital affair, and polygamy have been recorded. Usually, these have to be tolerated by women in the marriage. If the married woman has kids, most of them keep tolerating the torture as they cannot take a major step of separating from their husband. The married woman in 66% of cases is totally dependent on their husband for running the household, getting shelter, clothes, and food from their husband’s money, this makes it difficult for her to separate as her kids are also dependent on the single-earning member.

According to the 2001 census of the office of registrar general and census commissioner, India, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, around 4,68,593 individuals got married out of which 3331 separated due to certain reasons. According to the 2011 census, different states of India have recorded divorce in different religions. Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Sikkim with 6.34%, 4.1 %, and 2.16 % have noted the highest percentage of divorce and separation in the census among other states. The states of Punjab, Jammu, and Kashmir (back then in 2011) and the union territory of Chandigarh have noted the least separation or divorce rates ranging between 0.82% - 0.68%.

The divorce rates in the 2011 census have been noted religion-wise also. With 4.3% of Buddhist couples leading ahead of getting divorced to 1.8% of Hindu couples getting least divorced, the range is very diverse. The legal rights of women are a matter of concern because, in the majority of cases in developing nations like India, women are dependent on their daily bread and shelter from their husbands. In developing nations, the literacy rate and awareness are also less compared to developed countries like the USA, Canada, etc.

In the year 2018, the Supreme court of India eradicated the cooling-off period by six months for divorce. This cooling-off period was mentioned in the Hindu marriage act of 1976, with the efforts of the Supreme court of India, now couples seeking divorce need not wait for 18 months of mandatory separation period. If both the parties seeking divorce are mutually ready for dissolving the marriage, they don't need to follow the separation period. As couples who want to get a divorce have reached a stage in their lives, where saturation is reached for love, respect, and trust. In this case, it is not worth it to keep continuing the dead relationship any forward and cause any kind of emotional stress on either man or woman.

HERE ARE THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF A DIVORCED WOMAN – when a particular woman is taking divorce from her husband it is not necessary that she might be earning at that particular stage. Temporary provision and permanent provisions are also present for women seeking a divorce, as it is not necessary that the divorced woman’s physical health would support her for any further work. Here are a few legal rights mentioned –

·         Section 125 in the code of criminal procedure, 1973 – only a legally wedded woman is considered a wife. The maintenance rights offer a particular amount to be paid by the husband to his lawfully wedded wife so that any kind of inconvenience is not caused to her after the divorce. Section 125 of Crpc is an order for maintenance of wife, children, and parents for the person who has sufficient means but still neglects to support or maintain the one who is unable to maintain themselves.

·         Child custody rights – the separation of parents is huge grief while growing up. The child has to adjust and tolerate a lot of negative things from the past relationship. The guardians and wards act of 1890 applies to every Indian citizen when it comes to child custody. It depends on parents and religion. The custody is decided by the financial position of either parent, their background, and lifestyle.

·         Hindu adoption marriage act of 1956 – no matter how modern our society becomes, a few topics still remain evil like separation, divorce, etc. It becomes hard to continue a toxic relationship and it’s even harder to get separated or divorced. Not only the wife but her kids are also dependent on a single source of income. In this Hindu act of 1956, a married woman can claim maintenance when she is living separately from her husband even without a divorce. This occurs in situations like cruelty or violence to the wife, the husband having another living wife, the husband who has deserted her, etc.

·         Right to ancestral property – under this legal right, a married woman has to be provided with shelter and maintenance after divorce by the husband. If the woman is a part of a joint family and gets a divorce, she is entitled to get an equal share of the property as her husband.

The Supreme court of India has passed many such landmark judgments and verdicts in favor of women irrespective of religion. From making the triple talaq null and void to nikah halala, laws have been modified by the uprising of awareness in society and the need to fight the evils. The ICHHORI website has been successful in delivering correct and authentic information on women's rights, laws, health, etc. to the fingertips. 

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