A bill seeking amendments to criminal laws for providing more protection to women in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be passed during the winter session of the State Legislature, law minister Mir Saifullah said.
"The Criminal Law Amendment Bill-2013 is a comprehensive piece of legislation and once passed will further strengthen the existing laws for protection of rights and justice to women in the state," Mir said at a seminar yesterday.
Mir was speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day international Seminar on 'Gender Justice: A way forward' organised by School of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir.
The Minister said concept of gender justice was in the minds of the framers of "Naya Kashmir Vision Document", which laid down the foundation for economic, social, educational and political rights of women in the state, following which the State Legislature adopted these principles in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
The State Government has over the years enacted several laws and initiated important measures to empower women and address the under-representation of women in various fields, he added.
He said besides enjoying equal rights at par with men, special provisions against abuse, violence, hooliganism and other forms of misconduct against women have already been enacted.
The Minister said women, who are unable to approach courts due to financial constraints, are entitled for free legal aid and support in any court of the State.
He said that women, under the Panchayat Raj Act, have been provided reservation in the Panchayats besides two women members were nominated in the State Legislative Assembly through reservation, making State Legislature the only in the entire country to have such reservation quota.
The Minister said, women must acquaint themselves with laws and acts that exist for their empowerment and protection.