The Rights of a Woman Accused:
In 1994 the Criminal Procedure Code (Sec.167) was amended to provide greater protection to accused women. These changes have greatly reduced the chances of abuse of women in custody. Any violation of the protective procedures and provisions mentioned below can be challenged in the courts.
A woman accused of an offense:
- is to be arrested and searched only by female police;
- cannot be arrested nor kept in a police station (thana) after sunset and before sunrise;
- can only be interrogated in the presence of female guards;
- Magistrates can only give Police permission to keep an accused woman in police custody in cases of murder or dacoity; such permission must also record the reasons in writing;
- is to be sent to jail and can only be interrogated by the
investigating police officer in the premises of the jail and in the presence of a female police officer;
- can only be taken out of jail for the purposes of an investigation during daytime and if permission is granted by a Magistrate and she is accompanied by a female police officer appointed by the Magistrate.
An accused woman’s right to bail is the same as a male accused’s rights in bailable offenses (usually minor offenses), but for non-bailable offenses (e.g., dacoity) women are given greater benefits by the law and the courts can order that an accused woman be granted bail simply on the grounds that she is a woman (CrPC Sec.497).
Reference: SDPI – Know Your Rights