Efforts are made to establish mechanisms to protect the rights of women. On the legislation front, apart from the provisions contained in IPC (cruelty against married women, dowry death, rape, outraging the modesty of a women and others) women specific laws like the “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005”; “Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961”; “Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986”; and the “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” have been enacted.
National Commission for Women (NCW) is vested with adequate powers under NCW Act 1990 to carry out its mandate. The NCW, which was constituted as a statutory body in 1992 has a wide mandate to safeguard and promote the interests of women. As per Section (10) of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, the Commission shall perform any function to safeguard and promote the interest of women in the country. These include, among others, investigation and examination of the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws and making recommendation to Government on measures for their effective implementation; reviewing the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommendation of amendments and remedial legal measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcoming in such laws; looking into complaints and taking suo-moto notice of matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights, etc. and taking up the issues with appropriate authorities; calling for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women, identifying the constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal; participation and advice in the planning process for socio-economic development of women, evaluation of the progress made thereof; inspection of jails, remand homes etc., where women are kept under custody and seeking remedial action wherever necessary.
The Commission has been given powers of a Civil Court while investigating matters relating to safeguards for women under the Constitution and other laws and deprivation of women’s rights, to the extent of summoning and enforcing attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath, requiring discovery and production of any document, receiving evidence on affidavits, requisitioning of any public record or copy thereof from any court or office, issuing Commissions for examination of witnesses and documents and any other matter which may be prescribed.
This was stated by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha on 09/12/2013.