Topic: The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 13, 2012 by the Minister of State (Independent), Women and Child Development, Smt Krishna Tirath. \

The Bill seeks to amend the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, which prohibits indecent representation of women through advertisements or publications, writings and paintings (primarily the print media).

The Bill seeks to widen the scope of the Act to cover new forms of communication such as the internet, satellite based communication, cable television etc.

The Bill prohibits the publication or distribution of any material, which contain indecent representation of women. This provision does not apply to material, which may be published in the interest of science, literature or art or for bona fide religious purpose or for sculptures in ancient monuments or temples.

The Bill adds new definitions of “indecent representation of women”, “electronic form” and “publish”. “Indecent representation of women” means the depiction of the figure or form of a woman in such a way that it has the effect of being indecent or derogatory or is likely to deprave or affect public morality. “Electronic form” means any information generated, sent or stored in media, magnetic and optical form (as defined in the Information Technology Act, 2000). “Publish” includes printing or distributing or broadcasting through audio visual media.

It amends definitions of “advertisement” and “distribution” to include all types of media (printed and electronic).

The Bill authorises any police officer of the rank of Inspector or above to investigate offences committed under this law.

The Bill enhances penalties for various offences. For representing women indecently, the penalty for the first offence was increased to imprisonment of three years from two years and a fine between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh from Rs 2,000. For a subsequent offence, the term of imprisonment shall be between two and seven years and fine between Rs 1 lakh and 5 lakh.