Video Editor: Varun Sharma
In July 2017, Manasi Chaudhari was driving home at midnight when she met with a minor accident upon collision with another vehicle. What happened next was unexpected.
Two guys got off the other car, screamed abuses at her and started banging her window aggresively. She escaped unscathed but decided that action must be taken against them and rushed to file an FIR.
"I am a lawyer, I know exactly what steps need to be taken in such situations. I am aware of my rights. But what about other women? What if they are apprehensive to go to the cops just because they are not sure about the process," said Chaudhari, speaking to The Quint.
This was how the idea for Pink Legal was born. The platform is India’s first-ever portal, focussing on women’s rights and laws.
Over the next three years, Chaudhari, along with 15 volunteers started building 'Pink Legal' with an aim to break down the laws in a easy-to-understand manner.
"We want to bridge the gap between common people and law through 'Pink Legal' by helping women understand all their rights and women-related laws in a very simple and easy-to-understand manner on a single platform, said Chaudhari.
After practising in the Hyderabad High Court for two years following her graduation in 2016, Chaudhari assisted Justice DY Chandrachud in the Supreme Court on three landmark judgments – decriminalisation of homosexuality, entry of women into Sabarimala temple, and the adultery law.
She stresses that every woman should know that:
- They have the right to file a zero First Information Report (FIR) - which is an FIR that can be filed in any police station, irrespective of where the crime has taken place.
- A woman cannot be arrested both after sunset and before sunrise.
- Every married woman has the right to live in her matrimonial house and no one can legally ask her to leave the house.
Chaudhari also pointed that it was of "utmost importance" to create awareness about what constitutes sexual harassment and how women can file a complaint.
"It is important that women understand what exactly amounts to sexual harassment. What is okay and what is not okay and how they can raise their voice and file a complaint against sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement has brought to light the gravity of the situation and how commonplace sexual harassment is in India," said Chaudhari.
However, the 27-year-old lawyer points out that Indian women are often discouraged from filing an FIR – a practice that must be changed.
"Women in India are generally discouraged from filing an FIR. Firstly, because in our patriarchal society we blame and shame the victim instead of blaming and shaming the perpetrator. Secondly, because women do not know the exact legal process of filing a police complaint or FIR," said Chaudhari.