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
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
- 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;
- 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
- 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:
- Opposing her will.
- without her permission
- With her agreement, after gaining it by making her or anybody else she
is interested in fearful of harm or death.
- 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
- 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.
Rape Punishment (Section 376)
- A medical operation or intervention does not qualify as rape.
- A guy having sex with his own wife, provided that she is over the age of
fifteen, is not committing rape.
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
- 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
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
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
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:
Sexual harassment is a crime under the Indian Penal Code (Section 354A).
- A woman must have been the victim of the assault.
- There must have been a desire to offend the modesty of a lady. 2. The
accused must have used unlawful force on her.
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:
Stripping (Disrobing a Woman) [Section 354B]
- He initiates physical contact with her and advances an unwanted and
explicit sexual act; 2. asks for sexual favours;
- pornographic material is shown against a woman's consent;
- statements with sexual overtones.
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.
Section 354C: Voyeurism
- The accuser must be a man
- There must be the use of unlawful force, an attack, or the facilitation
of such an act.
- A woman must be intended to be stripped-bare or forced to be so.
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.
[Section 354-D] Stalking
- 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.
- 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.
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
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:
- 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;
- 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."
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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