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Legal framework for the Elimination of violence against Women in India

The Indian Constitution grants equality to women by empowering the state to adopt measures of eliminating discrimination and violence against women in India. The constitutional articles that favour the growth of women help to neutralize the cumulative socio, economic and political disadvantages faced by them in our society. The fundamental rights ensure equality before the law, equal protection of the law, prohibits discrimination and also guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens. The Constitution guarantees all citizens the fundamental right to live in peace and harmony through Article 12 to 35 of the constitution.

To mandate and uphold the constitutional provisions, the state has also enacted various legislative measures to ensure equal rights, to counter social discrimination and various other forms of violence. Women have been the victim of serious crimes such as Rape, Murder, Robbery, Cheating, etc. All the crimes which are directed against the women are characterized as ‘Crime against women’.

The Indian Penal Code includes the legal provision for several crimes against women in India. The crimes against women are classified into two categories namely:

  • Crimes under IPC
  • Crimes under special laws

 

A few changes in the legal system of India include provisions such as strict laws regarding sexual assault, creation of fast track courts for prosecution against severe crimes like rape, murder, etc. Recent cases of violence against women like Unnao rape case and Kathua Rape case have also led to certain legislative changes. Following are the laws that help to eliminate violence against women:

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: According to the provisions mentioned in the Act, taking or giving of dowry is to be penalized. Over the centuries, the lack of independence of women and taboo towards divorce resulted in bride burning for the demands of dowry at the time of marriage.

Indian Divorce Act, 1969: The act allows the dissolution of marriage, mutual consent, nullity marriage, restitution of conjugal rights if any violence is caused against the women after her marriage.

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956: The act is enacted to combat trafficking and sexual exploitation of the women and girls for commercial purpose. The act provides the legal consequences of the criminal act which helps to eliminate the violence against women.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: The act provides the effective provisions for protecting women against violence occurring within the family and the matters connected therewith. The act helps to protect women from any sort of domestic violence against women.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: The Act applies to all women employees to get protection against sexual harassment at workplace. The act came into effect after the landmark judgement of Vishaka &Orsv. The state of Rajasthan.

The Criminal Act (Amendment) Act, 2013: The act provides the amendment of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act. The act works on the major amendments of the sections related to offences said in the above-mentioned acts. It recognizes the broad range of sexual crimes of which women fall victim. In Nirbhaya case, stalking was added as an offence under section 354 D of the Indian Penal Code under the amendment of the Criminal Act, 2013.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860: The Indian Penal Code mentions and explains the sexual offences against women,which encompasses the offences such as rape (Section 376), gang rape (Section 376 D), outraging the modesty of women (section 509), disrobing a woman (section 354B), Voyeurism (Section 354 C), etc. along with the punishment for those crimes.

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act defines the presumption of absence of consent in the prosecution of rape. The section helps to decide the cases relating to rape as they are mainly dependent on the consent of the victim in the act.

 

Government Initiatives For Women

The Indian Government has implemented various policies, laws, programs to eliminate violence against women. The Government has established the statutory body with an intent to monitor all matters relating to the legal and Constitutional safeguards provided for women and to eliminate the violence against them. The Statutory body; namely, the National Commission for Women, practice to review the existing legislation to amend it whenever it is necessary in order to eliminate violence against women. Also, in 1992, the 73rd Constitutional amendment was passed to ensure and allot one-third of the total seats for women in the elected offices.

In 2001, the Department of Women and Child Development had prepared a “National Policy for the Empowerment of Women” The goal of this policy was the development and Empowerment of Women. The objective of the policy was as follows:

  • To create a positive environment for the social and economic development of women.
  • Equal access to participate in the social, economic and political life of the nation, equal access to health care, quality education, employment, equal remuneration, health safety, social security, etc.
  • Strengthening legal systems to eliminate the violence against women
  • Development in the elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girl child
  • Changing the attitude of society and community practices by the active participation of both men and women

 

Government has initiated and encouraged the changes in the personal laws to inculcate the provisions relating to marriage, maintenance, divorce, etc to eliminate discrimination. Also, the evolution of property rights of women in a patriarchal society has contributed towards equality. The existing laws are reformed and new laws are enacted to ensure the quick justice to the women.

 

Effective Implementation Of Legislation

The laws and policies have initiated strict enforcement of all relevant legal provisions and speedy redressal of grievances. Also, the measures have been implemented to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, crimes against women, protection for women workers, etc by strict enforcement of laws. The investigation, detection and prosecution of the matters are reviewed at the Central, State and District level. The women cell in Police station, family courts, legal aid centres, counselling centres and Nagar Panchayats are strengthened to eliminate the violence against women.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the cases of violence against women in India are rising despite the implementation of several laws, policies and legal frameworks to eliminate violence against women. The indicators of violence against women are a reflection of the structural and institutional inequality of women in society.

International Day for the Elimination of violence against Women
The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of violence against women.

Women's rights activists have observed November 25th as a day against gender-based violence since the year 1981. This date was designated to this cause in order to honour the Mirabal sisters, three political activists who were brutally murdered in the year 1960 by an order by the country’s (Dominican Republic) ruler, Rafael Trujillo. On 20th December 1993, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.

Finally, on 7th February 2000, the General Assembly officially designated 25th November as the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, they invited world governments, international organizations as well as NGOs to join hands and organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on that date.

 

Violence Against Women

Violence against women takes various forms and affects every society. Violence against women and girls is a form of gender-based violence. Violence against girls and women is among the most widespread and devastating violations of their human rights, some cases of these violence’s can be narrowed down to:

  • Rape
  • Trafficking
  • Slavery
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Female genital cutting
  • Early Child marriage

The UN general assembly in its Declaration on the elimination of violence against women defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”  The brutal psychological, physical or sexual harm causes severe health conditions that affect women at all stages of their life.

As stated in a WHO report noted that every 1 in 3 women is experiencing physical and/or sexual violence in their life. However, unlike an illness, perpetrators still choose to commit the crime of violence, when they still have an option to stop. Violence is not inevitable, and it can very well be prevented. But it’s not as straightforward as eradicating a virus. There is no vaccine, medication or cure. And there is no one single reason for why it happens.

 

Importance Of Elimination Of Violence

One peculiarity of gender-based violence is that it knows no economic or social boundaries and affects women of all socio-economic backgrounds, this issue needs to be addressed in both developed and developing countries.

This issue is not only devastating for survivors of violence but it also deeply affects their family members. Apart from this, one other problem is the high social and economic costs.

This violence leaves survivors with long-term physical and psychological trauma; and is used with terrifying effect in conflict settings, with women as the primary target.

Violence is not just limited to women, it also affects them in their tender age also. It is critical that girls are safe in school and colleges. Educating girls is crucial for the eradication of global violence. When societies don't value girls and their futures, entire communities suffer and generations are mired in poverty.

 

Conclusion

The UN Secretary General’s ‘UNiTE’ plans to End Violence against Women through their campaign (UNiTE campaign), managed by the UN Women, is a multi-year effort that aims at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world. It calls on the governments, civil societies, women’s organizations, the media, the private sector, young people, and the entire UN system to join forces against this violence and also in addressing the global pandemic of such violence against women and girls.

The elimination of violence against women and girls is not a short-term goal. It requires most coordinated and sustained efforts from the world government and people. Showing that these efforts will yield the required results is the best tribute to survivors of this violence.

Family Courts in India
In India, a marriage is considered to be very sacred, but with the changing times, it has become a subject of great judicial scrutiny. People of different religions, as well as traditions, are regulated by a diverse set of personal laws that relate to family affairs. Prior to 1984, all family matters were resolved by the ordinary civil court judges who used to look after the recovery matters. In 1984, the family Courts Act was passed and came into force. The main objective of the act was to take family and marital disputes out from the overcrowded and traditional courts of law and to bring them in the sympathetic surrounding. Matrimonial litigation is a traumatic experience in the lives of partners and their children. The aim was to conciliate between the estranged family members and not in confrontation.

 

Objectives:

From 1955, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed, till date, several amendments are made to liberalise the grounds for divorce and many other family issues. The process of settling the matrimonial disputes includes divorce, judicial separation, maintenance, settlement of property, etc. which are time-consuming and expensive.

To achieve the objectives, the government is put under obligation to establish family courts mainly in the cities and towns as the population of cities and villages exceeds one million. However, the state government may also establish family courts wherever it feels necessary. As per the Family Court Act, the state government can consult their respective high courts and specify the local limits of the area, where family courts can be established.

 

Where should the divorce petition be filed?

It states that every petition under this Act, shall be presented to the district court within the local limits of whose ordinary original civil jurisdiction, the marriage was solemnized, or the respondent resides at the time of presentation of the petition, or the place where parties to the marriage last lived together, or the place where petitioner is residing at the time of submission of petition, in case if respondent is at the time, residing outside the territories to which this act extends, or has been heard of being alive for a period of seven years or more by that person who would naturally have heard of being alive.

In case the wife is the petitioner, she can file a divorce petition at the place where she resided at the time of presentation of the petition.

 

Jurisdiction of Family Courts:

Section 7 (1) and (2) of the Family Courts Act of 1984, describes the kind of disputes over which the family court has the jurisdiction. It states that subject to other provisions of this act, a family court shall have and can exercise the jurisdiction exercisable by any district court or any subordinate civil court under any law for the time being in force with respect to suits or proceedings. A family court shall be deemed to exercise the jurisdiction under such law, to be a district court or as the case may be any subordinate civil court in the area to which the jurisdiction of Civil Courts in the area to which jurisdiction of family court extends.

The suits and proceedings referred in the above-mentioned section are suits and proceedings of the following nature between the parties to the petition:

  • For a decree of nullity of marriage (declaring the marriage to be null and void, or as the case may be) or restitution of conjugal rights or judicial separation or dissolution of marriage.
  • For the validity of a marriage or as the matrimonial status of the person
  • For the property of the parties or property of either of them.
  • For order or injunction in the situation arising out of a marital relationship.
  • For the declaration as to the legitimacy of any person.
  • For maintenance
  • For guardianship of the person or the custody of, or access to the minor.

 

Subject to the other provisions of the act, the family court also exercises:

  • The jurisdiction is exercisable by the magistrate of the First class relating to the order for maintenance of wife, children and parents.
  • Any such jurisdiction that may be conferred on it by any other enactment or amendment.

 

Territorial jurisdiction:

The territorial jurisdiction of the family court is limited to that of a district court as per the notifications released by the state government with the consultation of High Court. The State government has the authority to reduce or increase its territorial limits from time to time, depending on the factors and circumstances of the matter. The state government and High Court can confer the jurisdiction only to a limited area.

 

Jurisdiction for property dispute matters:

As per the Family Court Act, 1984, section 7 (c) deals explicitly with the issues related to the property disputes of the parties to the marriage. The conflict that arises after the decree of divorce is passed. To deal with the property matter of the parties of the marriage, the family court should exercise its jurisdiction by satisfying two conditions:

  • The property dispute must be between the parties to the marriage only
  • The dispute should be in respect to the property of either of the parties.

It should be noted that the family court has no jurisdiction to deal with the property matters between the members of the joint family.

The SC in K.A Abdul Jaleelvs T.A. Shahida stated that with respect to division bench in a matter arising out of a preliminary issue on the question of jurisdiction held that the dispute over the properties of parties to marriage could not be confined to the parties to a subsisting marriage.

 

Jurisdiction as per subject matter:

All matrimonial disputes and disputes relating to maintenance under section 125 of CrPCis adjudicated under the jurisdiction of a particular district. The family court also exercises the jurisdiction in respect of suits or proceedings between parties to the marriage for the decree of nullity of marriage, restitution of conjugal rights, dissolution of marriage, judicial separation, validity of marriage, guardianship, custody and access to minor, legitimacy of any person. Family matters are to be viewed from a different perspective. Family Court seeks to promote conciliation in family matters.

The SC in Bhuwan Mohan Singh vsMeena&Ors held that family courts are established for the conciliation procedure and to deal with family disputes in a speedy and expeditious manner. Delay in adjudication by family courts is against the human rights and dignity of an individual.

 

Jurisdiction of High Court:

The jurisdiction of the district court was transferred to the family court as per section 7 of the Family Court Act. But the legislation did not clearly exclude the original matrimonial jurisdiction exercised by High Court. This clause of the Family Court Act led to considerable confusion and ambiguity during the initial phase and became contradictory judicial interpretation.

 

Overriding effect of the Family Courts Act on other laws:

As held by SC in BalramYadavvsFalmaniyaYadav, the section 7 (1) explanation (b) states that  a suit or proceeding declaring the validity of both marriage and matrimonial status of a person within the exclusive jurisdiction of family court, under Section 8, all those jurisdictions covered under section 7 are excluded from the purview of the jurisdiction of Civil Courts.

In case a dispute is observed on the marital status of any person, a declaration in that regards has to be sought only before the Family Court. Section 20 of the Family Court Act, 1984 also endorses that this act shall have an overriding effect on other laws.

Inheritance Law in India
Inheritance means Succession, succession follows the death of a person. Inheritance of property means the passing on property, its title, debts, rights and obligations to the other party upon the death of an individual. The term inheritance is referred to whatever an individual receives upon the death of the relative according to law whichever is applicable when no will is present. Inheritance is the integral component of the family. It is the process of passing the material property from one generation to another. The transmission in inheritance is regulated and governed by specific laws in India. The law of testamentary or inheritance can be easily segregated in terms of religions.

 

Laws Related To Inheritance

 

The Hindu Succession Act was passed in the year 1956 by the parliament to amend and codify the laws relating to the intestate. The Hindu Succession Act was established to assure equal inheritance rights to both son and daughters. The Act states, every Indian is entitled to an equal share on inheriting the property. The Act applies to all Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. It plays an important role in the process of dealing with the inheritance of property. In India, inheritance or how the property is to be distributed is determined by the law of succession. In 2005, the Hindu Succession Act was amended by clarifying the right of women in dealing or disposing of the property as per her will.

The governing law applicable to Parsis for the intestate succession is the Indian Succession Act 1925 under section 50 and 56. Also, the governing law applicable to Christian and Jews inheritance is governed under section 31 to 49 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

Laws of succession governing Muslims in case of non-testamentary succession is the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. And if any Muslim has died intestate, then the issue of an intestate is governed under the Indian Succession Act 1925. Law of succession in case of interfaith marriages is governed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Indian Succession Act, 1925, states that everyone is entitled to equal inheritance.

 

Intestate Succession

 

The property gets delegated upon the relatives of the deceased in two ways:

  1. Testamentary Succession
  2. Intestate Succession

 

Testamentary Succession refers to succession resulting from a legally executed testament. It is also known as the right of inheritance. The testamentary succession is fixed at the time of a decedent’s death. It occurs when a person dies and leaves a will.

Intestate means when a person died without making a will, which is capable of taking effect. If a person is said to have died intestate that means he has not disposed his assets under a will. Or the disposition mentioned under a will is not capable of taking effect on account of the illegal bequest. If a person dies intestate, the assets in his possession are distributed as per the provisions of the Indian Succession Act.

 

Intestate Succession Among Hindus/Muslim/Christians

 

India has several laws governing the intestate succession among the different religions. The mains laws that governers the intestate are as follows:

  1. Hindu Succession Act
  2. Intestate Succession Act
  3. Sharia Law
  4. Indian Succession Act

 

Hindu Succession Act applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. The laws applicable to inheritance depends on the gender of the deceased. In the case of males, there are four classes of people who can inherit the property of a man. The first preference goes to the Class I heirs than for Class II and so on. ‘Heir’ is a person, who under the law of intestacy is entitled to receive the property of the intestate deceased.

 

As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, further amended in 2005, if a Hindu male dies intestate then the following person can make a claim:

  • Class I heirs: The class I heirs are the immediate relatives of the deceased that is the wife, children, mother, siblings and grandchildren. If the children of the deceased died before the deceased, then their spouses will form part of Class I heirs.
  • Class II heirs: The class II  heirs include the father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, nephews and nieces of the deceased.
  • Class III heirs: The class III heirs are the relatives of deceased from the male line, but it is limited to the blood relatives. They are called as agnates.
  • Class IV heirs: They are the relatives of the deceased from the female line; they are called cognates.

 

If a Hindu female dies intestate, the four classes of heirs are slightly different:

  • Class I heirs: The husband and children of the female are the clas I heirs.
  • Class II heirs: The heir’s of her husband are the class II heirs of the female.
  • Class III heirs: The class III heirs are her parents.
  • Class IV heirs: The heir’s of her mother are the class IV heirs of the female.

 

The apex court in case of Danamma Suman Surpurvs Amar &Ors clarified that the position of law relating to the Hindu Succession Act, 2005 held that the right is inherent and can be availed by any coparcener, as per the amended act of 2005, even a daughter is a co-parcener.

 

Indian Succession Act is the act that applies to Parsis, Christians and other religions that are not mentioned in the Hindu Succession Act. The spouse of the deceased takes one-third of the total inheritance in the absence of children and no living relatives.

The remaining two-thirds are divided between the children and surviving relatives in the following order of preference:

  • Father
  • Equally between mother, brothers and sisters (nephews or nieces if brothers and sisters are dead)
  • Mother (in case if there are no brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews)
  • Other close living relatives

 

As per section 2 of the Indian Succession Act 1925, the legal heirs of the Christians are husband, wife or the kindred of the deceased. In Mary Roy v. the State of Kerala, the apex court decided upon the inheritance rights of a Christian Women against the law for the first time. It also held that no personal law can be held above the Constitution of India.

 

Sharia law applies to Muslims. Under this law, one can divide only upto the one-third of the estate. In Sharia law, whether the succession is testate or intestate, the son, daughter, father, mother, brothers, sisters, grandsons and granddaughters are the nine relatives that inherit the remaining two-thirds of the estate.

 

Conclusion

 

To avoid the complications and disputes within the family, proper planning should be adopted by the families. Due to the evolving nature of inheritance and succession law, proper steps should be taken to understand the inheritance rights. Despite several developments in law, the awareness regarding inheritance law is on a downward graph and hence it is the need of the hour.

Rights of Children in India

The future of the nation depends upon the growth and development of Children in the country. It is the state’s duty to look after the development of children as they are the future of India. The Indian constitution defines certain rights for the citizens of the country, which also includes the rights of children directly or indirectly. In India, child rights must go beyond human rights which exits to ensure fair and proper treatment of the people across the country.

The Convention on the rights of child defines the term ‘child’ as a person below the age of eighteen years unless the majority is defined differently under the applicable law governing children.

In India, the Constitution defines a person below the age of fourteen years as children. Also, the Children Act, 1960,  defines a child as a person who has not attained the age of 16 years in the case of the boy and 18 years in the case of a girl.

 

Constitutional Provisions

The constitution, in its fundamental rights and directive principles, guarantees the rights granted to children in India.  The constitution accords the right to children as citizens of the country and also, due to their special status,  certain special laws are enacted for this purpose.

In 1950, the constitution included the Rights of Children in the provision of fundamental rights and directive principles. Many individuals and activists have approached the apex court for the amendments relating to the rights of children.  There are certain constitutional provisions for children.

 

Right To Education

Article 21 A has listed down the rights of the child to get free education for all children in the age group of 6-14 years in a manner as determined by the state.  The apex court in its liberal interpretation of life and liberty under article 21 held that liberty includes the right of a human being to live with dignity along with the right to education.

Article 45 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for children until they attain the age of six years. Article 45 is the provision for free and compulsory education for all children. Right to free primary education is significant for helping children to develop discipline, life skills and to find a safe and healthy environment to nurture the physiological development of the child.

Article 51 A specifically states that it shall be the fundamental duty of the parent and guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child between the age of six and fourteen.

In the case of P Unnikrishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh, the apex court included the right of education under the ambit of right to life. The Court observed that education is a preparation for living and therefore concluded that every citizen has a right to education.

 

Right To Be Protected Against Exploitation

Article 23 explains the prohibition of human trafficking and forced labour. The Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code have separate provisions to prohibit human trafficking in order to track and govern these heinous crimes.

Article 24 lays down the prohibition of employment of children. It states that no child below fourteen years of age shall be employed to work in any factory or be engaged in any hazardous employment that may directly or indirectly affect the healthy growth of the child

The apex court in case of MC Mehta vs State of Tamil Nadu noted that the menace of child labour was widespread in India and that is the reason; the court issued wide directions against prohibiting the employment of children below the age of 14 years and making arrangements of the funds for their education.

The exploitation extends to abuse, negligence and violence against children. The child cannot be made to work in difficult or dangerous conditions.

Article 39(e) states the right of the child to be protected from being abused and forced by economic necessity to enter any occupation unsuited to the age and strength of the child.

It is the right of a child to get equal opportunities and facilities for his personal growth and development. Along with this the children also have  equal rights as the citizens of India, which includes the Right to equality (Article 14), Right against Discrimination (Article 15), Right to personal liberty (Article 21), Right to be protected from being trafficked and forced into the labour ( Article 23), Right to the standard living and improved public health (Article 47).

 

Constitutional Remedies For Infringement Of Rights Of The Child

If the fundamental rights of the children are infringed, the Indian constitution laid down several provisions for constitutional remedies through Article 32 and 226. Article 32 states that a person has the right to move the Supreme Court for protecting his fundamental rights. According to article 226, a person may approach the High Court for the same reasons as mentioned above, however, it is not necessary that the right should be a fundamental right in order to take legal action under these provisions.

Public Interest Litigation may be filed in the apex court or the high court against the government by virtue of article 32 and 226 for the protection of rights of the child.

Some of the other important acts, legislations and policies framed by the government for the protection of child right are

  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Guardian and Wards Act, 1890
  • Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
  • Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956
  • The Women’s and Children’s Licensing Act, 1956
  • Probation of Offenders Act, 1958
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000
  • Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act, 2000
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
  • Orphanages and other Charitable Homes (Supervision and Control) Act, 1960
  • National policy for Children, 1974
  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
  • Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1987
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation0 Amendment Act, 2017

 

Conclusion

The rights of the child need to be protected in order to promote the well-being of the child since they require more protection than other people who have attained majority due to the set of unique needs stemming from their vulnerabilities.  Every single child of the country deserves equality, no matter what colour, race, religion, language, gender define them.

Children with their development process can flourish and in turn, benefit the nation as they are the future of the Country. India, with the help of various international and national mechanisms, is constantly trying to secure the rights of the children.

Virtual Clinic
Virtual Clinic is a technology backed initiative providing a platform for cloud-based unified health record and virtual interaction with doctors and patients through audio and video communication. It is a planned contact by the health care professional responsible for care with a patient for consultation, advice and treatment planning. Virtual Clinic is a social initiative by the Asian Health Meter. The user interface is a tablet PC. The platform of Virtual clinic provides the dashboard of all specialists in the district with a detailed description of their clinical expertise so that patient can choose the specialist on the basis of experience and proximity. It is a web-based technology which aims to provide a scheduled appointment with the doctor for consultancy.
 
In rural India, the patients get affected due to the non-availability of doctors for treating them with prompt and accurate diagnosis. In spite of huge efforts by the government, it had become almost impossible to reach specialist care to the rural population. The main purpose of initiating virtual clinic is to provide quality health care services.
 
The benefit of the virtual clinic is that it is possible to leverage the expertise of specialists who are not available nearby; it promotes the extensive outreach of specialist. It saves the transportation time along with the cost of transportation. The advantage of the virtual clinic is that it is available on a fingertip, convenient for both doctor and patient. Because of convenience, frequent consultation will improve the outcome in chronic illness like heart failure, diabetes and respiratory failure.
 
The growth in the concept of the virtual clinic is likely to lead medico-legal and ethical challenges in India. The challenges include the confidentiality of patients, the standard of treatment, consent from patients, professional misconduct, credentials of doctors, licensure, reimbursement, penalties and liabilities as per the various prevalent laws. The challenges may adversely affect the acceptance and adoption of a virtual clinic consultation.
 
Cons of virtual clinics:
Virtual Clinic has some downsides because of its virtual nature as it requires infrastructure and technical training. It may reduce the direct interaction of the patients with doctors without the impersonal interactions and to make a complete diagnosis; the physical examination needs to be done.
 
Once the relationship between doctors-patient is established, it is doctors responsibility to provide treatment and due care. It raises the two important questions as follows:
 
Can a physician be sued for medical malpractice in operating a virtual clinic?
 
Can medical practitioners be protected by medical indemnity insurance?
 
All medical practitioners must maintain and establish the duty of care to clarify the responsibility of the patient as well as other health care providers. The roles and responsibilities of healthcare professionals should be clearly defined with respect to various aspects and extents.
 
In-country like the US, the virtual clinics allow patients to connect with a healthcare provider through text, video chat or telephone. The medical services in the virtual clinic include consultation, tests and online prescribing.
 
Services of Virtual Clinic limits to patients with the same province or territory, but to interact with them in a different jurisdiction, it is necessary to consider whether the telemedicine license is required or applicable. The requirement for licenses varies from provinces and territories.
 
The ethical and legal obligation of the physician is to protect the personal health information of the patient. The virtual clinics satisfy that the security protocols of information transmitted electronically, including video call, chat, text messaging, etc. Each of these has unique privacy challenges covered. In order to provide services, the jurisdiction where the patient is located is a must.
 
The method of delivering care through a virtual clinic presents unique challenges in obtaining consent from the patient. Some additional consent requirements are recommended while using telemedicine and virtual care. It may include the information of the patient where physicians are located, what is the status of their license, how is the privacy of the patient is managed and all about personal health information.
 
It is essential that medical records are made and maintained for any patient through the virtual clinic. The information of the patient’s medical history and clinical interactions is vital to maintain as the medical records are the legal documents that can be served as evidence of the care provided or the services given to them. The physicians will have continued access to the medical records after the consultation, especially when a patient initiates a claim or complaint. The owner or the operator of the virtual clinic having the custodian of the medical record of the patient should maintain the same in proper order.
 
For instance, BRYAN Health under the telemedicine meets the demand for virtual care and is an award-winning health system in Nebraska; they achieved their strategic growth by developing a virtual care service line with Zipnosis, a platform which allows BRYAN telemedicine to leverage internal clinical expertise and offering care to the patients.
 
Conclusion:
Virtual Clinics are a new upcoming reality to deliver healthcare. If India is thinking to evolve in the concept of a virtual clinic to provide the medical service, it is necessary to consider the medical-legal issues that can emerge. It is necessary to consider whether any special licensing requirements may apply, or the standards and guidelines concerning other medical technologies including privacy, security, consent and online prescribing are applicable.

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Tenant Eviction Notice

Starting from 5000

Leave and Licence Agreement

Starting from 4500

Drafting Memorandum Of Understanding

Starting from 15000

Preparing Affidavit

Starting from 300

Anticipatory Bail

Starting from 12000

Cheque Bounce Notice

Starting from 2500

Drafting & Filing Mutual Divorce

Starting from 15000

Marriage Registration

Starting from 5000

Trademark Registration

Starting from 6500