What Are The Important Laws Governing Sexual Harassment in Public Spaces in India? TEST

Sexual violence in public spaces i.e. sexual harassment in public spaces is a criminal offence in India and cases of sexual harassment fall under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Important provisions under the Indian Penal Code (IPC):

What constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code defines sexual harassment as:

1.     A man committing any of the following acts—

              i.        physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or

             ii.       a demand or request for sexual favours; or

            iii.       showing pornography against the will of a woman; or

            iv.       making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.

Note: All offences are cognizable and bailable

Sections which deal with Sexual Harassment-

 

S.326A. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc.

Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or burns or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine.

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment of the victim:

Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.

326B. Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid

Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or bums or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation I.—For the purposes of section 326A and this section, “acid” includes any substance which has acidic or corrosive character or burning nature, that is capable of causing bodily injury leading to scars or disfigurement or temporary or permanent disability.

Explanation 2.— For the purposes of section 326A and this section, permanent or partial damage or deformity shall not be required to be irreversible.’

S.294. Obscene Acts and Songs.

Whoever, to the annoyance of others,

(a) Does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) Sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in, or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

S.354. Assault or Criminal Force to Woman with Intent to Outrage Her Modesty

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.

S.354A: Sexual Harassment and punishment for sexual harassment

(1)A man committing any of the following acts—

(i) physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or

(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or

 (iii) showing pornography against the will of a woman; or

(iv)making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment

(2)Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub-section (I) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

(3)Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) of sub-section (I) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

 

S. 354B. Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe

Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

S.354C. Voyeurism

Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanations

1.For the purpose of this section, “private act” includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim’s genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.

2.Where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.

S.354D: Stalking

(1)Any man who—

(i) follows a woman and contacts, or attempts. to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or

(ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:

Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—

(i)it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or

(ii)it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or

(iii)  in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.

S.509: Word, Gesture Or Act Intended To Insult The Modesty Of A Woman.

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

 

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