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Infractions Against Women Offences Under the Indian Penal Code Relating to Women

As one of the biggest obstacles to attaining gender equality, violence against women and girls is a serious violation of human rights. Girls and young women are more susceptible to different types of violence, which has a profound and lasting effect on their lives and limits their ability to develop, lead, flourish, and thrive.

In the current situation, everyone in the globe is aware of the brutality and rising number of crimes against women in one way or another. It shows the scope and gravity of the atrocity committed against women in recent years. Inhumane attitudes towards women are a result of changing living standards, lifestyles, uneven economic growth, social ethos shifts, and a lack of respect for moral principles, which has led to an increase in crimes against women.

Furthermore, these events are extremely worrying, and its structure is crucial to ensuring that Indian women can live in peace, freedom, and dignity in an environment free from horrendous crimes, atrocities, and denigration. There are numerous legal laws that sanction those responsible for crimes against women. Although the Indian Penal Code makes provisions for women who are victims of numerous crimes, including murder, robbery, theft, etc., there are other acts that are diametrically opposed to the rights of women.

Rape (Sections 375 and 376) is a crime against women under the Indian Penal Code of 1860.

The ravishment of a woman without her agreement by means of force, deceit, or fear constitutes the crime of rape, to put it simply.

According to Section 375 of the IPC, a male is considered to have committed rape if:
  1. inserts his penis, to any extent, into a woman's vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus, or forces her to do so with him or another person;
  2. forces any object or body part, other than the penis, into a woman's vagina, urethra, or anus, to any extent; or c. manipulates any part of the body.
  3. manipulates any part of a woman's body to allow penetration into her vagina, urethra, anus, or any other part of her body, or forces her to do so with him or another person; or d. applies his mouth to a woman's vagina, urethra, or anus, or forces her to do so with him or another person, under any of the following seven circumstances:
    1. Opposing her will.
    2. without her permission
    3. With her agreement, after gaining it by making her or anybody else she is interested in fearful of harm or death.
    4. With her consent if, at the time of giving such consent, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that consent due to her state of insanity, intoxication, or the administration of any stupefying or unwholesome substance by him personally or through another. This occurs when the man knows that she is not his wife and that her consent is given because she believes he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
    5. With or without her permission, if she is under the age of 18.

With the exception that a woman who does not physically resist the act of penetration should not be deemed as consenting to the sexual activity simply because of that fact.
  1. A medical operation or intervention does not qualify as rape.
  2. A guy having sex with his own wife, provided that she is over the age of fifteen, is not committing rape.

Rape Punishment (Section 376)
The severe crime of rape is punishable under Section 376, which establishes guidelines. There are two subsections within this section.

The minimum sentence under Section 376(1) is ten years of hard labour, with the possibility of life in jail and a fine.

According to Section 376(2), anyone who violates the law, whether they are a police officer, a public employee, a member of the armed forces, a relative, a teacher, a victim's guardian, or any other person listed in the section, will be subject to a fine as well as rigorous imprisonment for a term that must be at least ten years long but may go as high as life in prison.

The definition of rape and associated penalties listed above reflect the 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act's revised definition and penalties.

The key modification introduced by 2013 amendment after the Nirbhaya Case in the section 375 is that in the elements of rape 'sexual intercourse' is no longer a prerequisite. The physical act necessary to reveal the rape offence could include oral sex, annal sex, or introducing any bodily part or object into a woman's body. The legal drinking age is currently 18. Prior to the modification, there were only six situations that indicated rape; however, a seventh circumstance, "when she is unable to communicate her consent," has been added. The list of enhanced forms of rape has been expanded with new categories. Penalties have also been established for certain categories of sexual offences.

These offences include:
  • Section 354: Assault or Use of Criminal Force to Woman with Intent to Outrage Her Modesty;
  • Section 354-A: Sexual Harassment and Punishment for Sexual Harassment;
  • Section 354-B: Assault or Use of Criminal Force to Woman with Intent to Disrobe Her;
  • Section 354-C: Voyeurism; Section 354-D: Stalking; Section 376-A: Punishment for Causing

The offences stated above have been discussed at the appropriate sections below.
Custodial Rape [Section 376-C]:
Section 376-C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, addresses sexual activity with a person in authority under a new category of sexual offences made up of a number of sections known as custodial rape, which does not constitute rape because in such circumstances, Victim consent is gained under some convincing circumstances. These people have supervisory roles and abusing their positional power.

When a woman is raped by one or more people who are part of a group or who are acting to accomplish a common goal, this is referred to as gang rape and is punishable under Section 376-D. These individuals will be considered to have committed the crime of rape and will be punished with a fine and harsh imprisonment for a time that must not be less than twenty years but may extend to life. This means that they will be imprisoned for the remainder of their natural lives.

Persons who kidnap or abduct women with the goal to force them into marriage or with knowledge that it is likely they will do so are in violation of Section 366 of the Penal Code. be coerced, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing that it is likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed ten years, and shall also be subject to a fine; [and whoever, by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this Code, abuse of authority, or any other method of compulsion.

Procreation of minor girl [Section 366-A]:
Whoever, by any means whatsoever, induces any minor girl under the age of eighteen years to depart from any place or to engage in any activity with the intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person, shall be subject to a term of imprisonment that may not exceed ten years, as well as a fine.

Importing a female from another nation is prohibited by Indian law under Section 366-B. This includes bringing in girls under the age of 21 from Jammu and Kashmir or any other foreign country with the intention of forcing or seducing them.

Outraging the Modesty of Women [Section 354]
The assault of a woman with the purpose to offend her modesty is covered in Section 354 of the IPC. This section tries to defend women against any kind of immodest or filthy action on the part of others that is insulting to her modesty. This crime not only violates the rights of the individual, but also of society and public morality. Therefore, if a person intentionally offends a woman's modesty by using illegal force against her, they are deemed to be penalised with a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of five years in addition to a fine.

IPC does not provide a clear definition of what constitutes an offence to a woman's modesty. But the court has applied diverse interpretations to it cases. According to the Supreme Court, modesty is a quality that is exclusive to feminine humans. Such an offence, which shocks and is recognised as an insult to female decency and dignity, is said to outrage modesty.

Important Elements of Section 354
The following constitutes the crime under Section 354 of the IPC:
  1. A woman must have been the victim of the assault.
  2. There must have been a desire to offend the modesty of a lady. 2. The accused must have used unlawful force on her.

Sexual harassment is a crime under the Indian Penal Code (Section 354A).
This new rule was created as a result of a Supreme Court decision that addressed the problem of workplace sexual harassment. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 added Section 354A to the IPC, which defines the act of "sexual harassment" and lays out the associated penalties.

In accordance with Section 354A, a person is guilty of sexual harassment against a woman if any of the following occur:
  1. He initiates physical contact with her and advances an unwanted and explicit sexual act; 2. asks for sexual favours;
  2. pornographic material is shown against a woman's consent;
  3. statements with sexual overtones.
Stripping (Disrobing a Woman) [Section 354B]
A violation of Section 354B is punishable by a sentence of at least three years, which may go up to seven years, plus a fine, for attacking or using unlawful force against a woman or for aiding in such an act with the goal to strip or force her to be naked. Only a male can be punished in accordance with this clause because it is a gender-specific offence.

Important components:
  1. The accuser must be a man
  2. There must be the use of unlawful force, an attack, or the facilitation of such an act.
  3. A woman must be intended to be stripped-bare or forced to be so.
Section 354C: Voyeurism
Voyeurism can be defined as a fascination with watching unaware individuals while conviction, a sentence of imprisonment of either kind that must not be less than three years but may go as high as seven years, as well as being subject to a fine.
  1. For the purposes of this section, a private act includes a watching act that takes place in a location where privacy would reasonably be expected and where the victim's genitalia, posterior, or breasts are exposed or covered only by knickers; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is engaging in sexual activity that is not typically performed in public.
  2. When the victim gives permission for the act or the taking of the pictures, but not for their distribution to third parties, and The dissemination of such an image or act is considered a crime under this section when it occurs.

[Section 354-D] Stalking
The act of following or making contact with a lady despite her lack of interest is referred to as "stalking," in general. Two offences are listed in this section. In the first instance, when a guy persistently pursues, contacts, or makes attempts to contact a woman despite her blatant lack of interest, and in the second instance, when a man observes how a woman uses the internet, email, or any other kind of electronic communication.

Sections 326-A and 326-B of the Acid Attack Act
With the intention of introducing particular punishment provisions for acid attack cases, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, inserted Sections 326A and 326B.

The use of acid inflicting serious harm is the subject of Section 326-A. According to this section, whoever, by throwing or administering acid with the intent to cause such injury or hurt, causes permanent or partial damage, burns, disfigures or disables any part of a person's body, or causes grievous hurt, will be punished with imprisonment for at least ten years, which may extend to life imprisonment with a fine.

The act of throwing or attempting to hurl acid with the intent to cause great bodily harm receives more legislative attention in Section 326-B. According to this clause, the maximum sentence is seven years in prison and a fine, with a minimum sentence of five years.

Important Components of an Acid Attack:
The conditions for an acid assault are as follows:
  1. To burn, deform, disfigure, or disable any part of a person's body permanently or partially; 2. To cause grievous injury by throwing acid; or 3. To use any other method;
  2. There must be a purpose to harm or create harm.
The majority of the acid assaults are the reason this section is included under the title "offences relating to women."

Case Law:
Laxmi v. Union of India and Others [2014 4 SCC 427]
Lakshmi, who was only 16 years old at the time of the id assault, was the victim in this instance. This attack was brought on by a rejection of a marriage proposal. The Supreme Court created new rules in response to this case. According to the regulations, nobody under the age of majority should ever be sold acid. Anyone wishing to acquire acid was required to present a photo ID.

Death from Dowry [Section 304-B]
Bride burning and dower killings are wicked practises that are still common in Indian society. It is an unfortunate development in our culture and a sign of a certain social sickness. Section 304B of the IPC, which addresses dowry deaths, has a unique provision for this grave issue.

According to Section 304-B, dowry death occurs when a woman dies from burns, a physical injury, or under unusual circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it can be proven that she was treated cruelly or harassed by her husband or a relative of her husband in connection with any dowry demand just before she passed away.

Despite the numerous laws designed to defend and protect women's rights and interests, the prevalence of crime against and victimisation of women is skyrocketing. It means that the rise in crimes against women in our society is not solely under the authority of the law

For women to be treated with the respect and equality they deserve, society has to awaken and the general public's attitudes to alter. It's time to honour women as they deserve. This awakening can be sparked by a youth education campaign that informs them about the social ills that exist and how to combat them. Suppression of discrimination against women and instillation of societal values, morals, and respect for women in all people is known as

the utmost importance and is an additional component that can similarly help lower the frequency of crimes against women. However, more and more restrictive regulations are required in order to prevent anyone planning to commit such crimes from gathering the courage to carry out his plan.

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