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Ritesh Kumar

Designation: Student [LL.M.] Institution: NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad Address: MIG 110 Govindpur Colony, Allahabad Mobile No.: 8009793802, 7505527843

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Ritesh Kumar

An offence against women means the offences which are committed by anyone against the women in various types of situations. It includes offences covered under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as under the special laws like the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 etc. Before discussing the provisions contained in these various laws it is necessary to first understand the meaning of the term “women”. The term “women” has been defined under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in the following words: – “the word woman denotes a female human being of any age.”[1]

 

OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

Offences against women under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are as follows:-

1.      Dowry death (Section 304B)

2.      Causing miscarriage (Sections 312-316)

a)      Causing miscarriage (Section 312)

b)      Causing miscarriage without woman’s consent (Section 313)

c)      Death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage (Section 314)

d)     Act done with the intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth (Section 315)

e)      Causing death of quick unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide (Section 316).

3.      Assault or criminal force to woman with the intent to outrage her modesty (Section 354)

4.      Sexual harassment (Section 354A)

5.      Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe (Section 354B)

6.      Voyeurism (Section 354C)

7.      Stalking (Section 354D)

8.      Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage (Section 366)

9.      Procuration of minor girl (Section 366A)

10.  Importation of girl from foreign country (Section 366B)

11.  Selling minor for purposes of prostitution (Section 372)

12.  Buying minor for purposes of prostitution (Section 373)

13.  Sexual offences (Sections 375 to 376E)

a)      Rape (Section 375)

b)      Punishment for rape (Section 376)

c)      Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim (Section 376A)

d)     Sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation (Section 376B)

e)      Sexual intercourse by a person in authority (Section 376C)

f)       Gang rape (Section 376D)

g)      Punishment for repeat offenders (Section 376E)

14.  Unnatural offences (Section 377)

15.  Offences relating to marriage (Sections 493 to 498)

a)      Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage (Section 493)

b)      Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife (Bigamy) (Section 494)

c)      Same offence with concealment of former  marriage from person with whom subsequent marriage is contracted (Section 495)

d)     Marriage ceremony fraudulently gone through without lawful marriage (Section 496)

e)      Adultery (Section 497)

f)       Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman (Section 498)

16.  Cruelty by husband or relatives of husband (Section 498A)

17.  Insulting the modesty of a woman (Section 509)

 

OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN UNDER THE SPECIAL LAWS

Offences against women are also considered under some special laws like the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

A. The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987

This is an Act to provide for the more effective prevention of the commission of sati and its glorification and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.[2] The Act prescribed punishment for attempt to commit sati[3], Abetment of sati[4] and glorification of sati[5]. So, it can be said that offence of sati should be considered as an offence as against women.

B. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

This Act has been enacted with the objective to prohibit the giving or taking of dowry and recognized dowry as an offence against women. The Act prescribed punishment for giving or taking dowry[6] and for demanding dowry[7].

C. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956

Under this Act, following offences are considered as an offence against women:-

1.      Procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution.[8]

2.      Detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried on.[9]

3.      Seducing or soliciting for purpose of prostitution.[10]

4.      Seduction of a person in custody.[11]

 

D. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

Advertisements containing indecent representation of women[12] and publication or sending by post of books, pamphlets, etc., containing indecent representation of women[13] should be considered as an offence as against women.

E. The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989

Section 3(1) (w) of the Act specifically deals with provisions relating to offence against women. It says that intentionally touches a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, when such act of touching is of a sexual nature and is without the recipient‘s consent.[14]

It further provides that uses words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature towards a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, knowing that she belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.[15]

Explanation to this Section says that for the purposes of sub-clause (i), the expression consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the person by words, gestures, or any form of non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific act.

Proviso to this Section provides that a woman belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe who does not offer physical resistance to any act of a sexual nature is not by reason only of that fact, is to be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity and it has been further stated that in another proviso that a woman‘s sexual history, including with the offender shall not imply consent or mitigate the offence.

F. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

This Act recognizes sexual harassment of women at workplace as an offence against women. Section 3 of the Act deals with prevention of sexual harassment. It says that no woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace.[16]  It has been further stated that the following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs, or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behavior of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment[17]:-

·         Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or

·         Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment ; or

·         Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or

·         Interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or

·         Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

ENDNOTES

 

 

 

[1] The Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 10.
[2] the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, Objective.
[3] Ibid. Section 3.
[4] Ibid. Section 4.
[5] Ibid. Section 5.
[6] The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Section 3.
[7] Ibid. Section 4.
[8] The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, Section 5.
[9] Ibid. Section 6.
[10] Ibid. Section 8.
[11] Ibid. Section 9.
[12] The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Section 3.
[13] Ibid. Section 4.
[14] The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Section 3(1) (w) (i).
[15] Ibid. Section 3(1) (w) (ii).
[16] The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013, Section 3(1).
[17] Ibid. Section 3(2).


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