Milan Mamachan is pursuing Mass Communication (3rd year) from IP University. He is interested in reading novels, wants to travel as much as possible and pursue a doctorate.
Molestation is a heinous act and a gross violation of someone’s privacy and safety. In India, when women get molested, most of them refuse to file a complaint against the perpetrator because often women get blamed for the crime. But as a woman, you don’t have to believe that, no matter what the orthodox stereotypes say, getting molested is not your fault. Also, you have every right to file a complaint and fight for justice. Not all women have knowledge of their rights. So, here are some rights of women while filing a complaint against molestation.
The police must file the FIR
When you are filing a complaint, a police officer must register the FIR; they can’t refuse. They have to register FIR even if they believe that the offence isn’t serious enough. According to the criminal law act of 2013 if any police officer refuses to file FIR then action will be taken against him/her. If they refuse, you can write to the SHO of that police station.
Your identity will be protected
According to Section 228–A of the Indian penal code, printing or publishing the identity of the victim is a punishable offence. No matter what the situation may be, no one can print or publish the identity of the victim. If any person reveals your identity, then you can file a complaint against them.
Your Privacy is important
According to Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a victim can record her statement in front of district magistrate without the presence of any other person. Also, she can record the statement with only one police officer and a woman constable in a convenient place that isn’t crowded and does not provide any possibility of the statement being overheard by a fourth person. The cops have to, by law, upkeep the woman’s right to privacy.
Interrogations will be done at your house
Women cannot be called to the police station for interrogation under Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This law provides Indian women with the right of not being physically present at the police station for interrogation. The police can interrogate a woman at her residence in the presence of a woman constable and family members or friends. In this way, you are able to answer the questions in a comfortable environment to avoid any external pressure.
File an FIR irrespective of the amount of time passed
The police cannot refuse to register an FIR even if a considerable period of time has passed since the incident of rape or molestation took place. If the police refuse to lodge your FIR because you didn’t report it earlier, do not give in. So don’t worry you can file a complaint when you are ready for it.
These are a few of the rights a woman has while registering the FIR. Please know, the police are there to protect you, not to harm you. So do not hesitate to file a complaint when and if sexually harassed. You never know, in this patriarchal society, your courage just might inspire others to stand up for themselves too!
Opinions expressed are of the writer.