Are you aware of your Legal Rights?
Congratulations on your motherhood! You are gearing up to welcome a new member in your family. You might be facing several anxious questions regarding your child’s future (his/her rights), your rights as a wife, your rights as an employee. Here is a list that will put some of your queries to ease
Rights as a female employee: There are several provisions in the legal system that supports and encourages female employees to continue with their professional endeavour post pregnancy.
- The law in India entitles you to legal benefits as an employee. Under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 you are entitled to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. The Ministry of Labour and employment is considering a proposal to enhance it to 26 weeks.
- Furthermore, your employer cannot dismiss you from work during this period. You are also allowed in the course of your daily work two breaks of the prescribed duration for nursing your child until the child attains the age of fifteen months.
Rights of your child: Maintenance of a child is the legal responsibility of the father. "Maintenance" includes provision for food, clothing, residence, education, medical treatment and reasonable expense of marriage in the case of a daughter. Every child whether legitimate or illegitimate, a son or a daughter has the following rights:
- He/shecan seek maintenance from his father under Section 125 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 until he/she attains the age of majorityi.e. 18 years.
- Can claim maintenance under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956.
- Has a right over the ancestral property by birth as per Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
Rights as a mother: While deciding on the issue of custody of a child in cases of separation, the court keeps into account the 'best interest and welfare’ of the child. Under Hindu Minority and Guardianship (HMG) Act and under Section 26 of Hindu Marriage Act, custody of a minor who has not completed the age of five years shall ordinarily be with the mother.The parentwho is not in custody of the child is given rights to visit. The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PNDT) ensures your right against female foeticide.
Rights as a wife: A legal tip for those facing physical abuse: Immediately after the incidence of physical abuse, get your medical test done and contact the nearest CAW cell.Laws in India with respect to women have evolved over the years and are being continuously amended to help and protect women from all forms of atrocities. Awareness about the below mentioned rights will enable you to confidently face the rough days in your marriage. As a wife, you are entitled to the following:
- Entitled to seek maintenance from husband under section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act during the period when divorce proceedings are on,under Section 125 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 till the time you get remarried;under Section 20 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005, if subjected to Domestic Violence.
- Appointment of Protection officer under Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in case of threat of physical violence.
- Right to residence under Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Your husband is liable to provide you a residencewhich should be similar to his status.
- There are other provisions such as section 498A of Indian Penal code, recourse to which can be taken during instances of cruelty by the husband or his family.
- With regard to Muslim marriage, a husband is under an obligation to maintain his wife under the personal law, i.e. the Shariat, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
The above list is not exhaustive and there are several other legislations enacted by our law makers to provide a safe, decent and dignified standard of living to every woman in India.
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