Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights
violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of
geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be
making real progress towards equality, development and peace.
-Kofi Annan (7th Secretary-General of United Nations)
In India, crimes against women are awfully normalized to dangerous levels. We
are used to these crimes to the extent of that, our first response or reaction
is to blame the victim for not being vigilant enough. Despite the constitutional
right to equality since the last 72 years, women still have to fight with all
their guts to get what is normally taken for granted by the men. The paper
focuses on the general provisions of crimes against women which are recognized
under The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and will try to draw a comparative study of
the provisions mentioned therein to those mentioned in the codes of the United
States and U.K.
Fundamental Rights guarantee equality before the law and equal protection of
law, it also prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of
religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a),
39(b), 39(c) and 42 are of specific importance in this regard.
Concept of Crime
Many struggles have been done in clarifying what crime is, but they all failed
to determine as to what kinds of acts constitutes a Crime. Perhaps this is
because of the dynamic nature of crime at different places. In layman language
one could understand it as those acts which are forbidden in a state and whose
contravention amounts to penalization.
Theories of Crime
Natural Law Theory;
According to this theory any act which infringes a certain moral or ethical
conduct is a crime, and which is in assertion of conduct then that said act
cannot be considered as crime. Thus the general consensus is that the basic
moral/ethical code is right and its violation is wrong.
Positive Law Theory;
Under this view, crime is a violation of a state which is sovereign. This view
of crime as a conduct, officially recommended by sovereign authority, carries
the tag of positive law. Hence, crime under positive law consists of those acts
which are prohibited by criminal law under threat of punishment.
Elements of Crime
The first indispensable element of crime is that it must be have been committed
by a human being. He/She must be legally bound to act in a specific way and upon
the infliction of which appropriate punishment shall be rendered. Generally both
the sinner and the innocent are human beings.
It means guilty mind
. One of the key principles of our legal system is to
decide punishment establishing upon the mental condition of the human being. In
other words, criminal liability depends upon the guilty mind, which is known as mens
rea. In India the word mens rea has nowhere been used in I.P.C.
The phrase Actus Reus infers physical act
, which comprises an act or omission
as well. To constitute crime, there must exist a commission or omission of an
illegal act. Hence the criminal intent, in order to be punishable must be clear
in some voluntary act or omission, known as Actus Reus.
Injury means inflicting harm to any person in body, mind, reputation or
property. The Injury must cause the harm to aggrieved person or to the society
in general or to the public at large. According to section 44 of the I.P.C, the
word ‘injury' denotes any harm, or whatever illegally caused to any person, in
body, mind, reputation or property.
Crimes mentioned under I.P.C
Section 8 of I.P.C covers the term gender
as the pronoun he
male and female, unless otherwise mentioned in the specific sense. The Madhya
Pradesh H.C in the case of Girdhar Gopal v. State, held that the pronoun ‘he
used in the section 354 of the Penal Code (he will outrage her modesty
applies to either a man or a woman.
Thus, a man as well as a woman may be held
guilty of the offence of assaulting or using criminal force against any woman
with the intention or knowledge that woman's modesty will be outraged under
section 354 of the Penal Code.
Section 10 of the Penal Code includes the words ‘man', ‘woman'; where the latter
includes female human beings of any age, while the former includes the male
human beings of any age. In a historic case of National Legal Service Authority
v. Union of India
, S.C. has given recognition to members of Transgender
Community, who are neither male nor female, at the time of birth, as ‘Third
Gender for the purpose of safeguarding and administering suitably their
fundamental and other legal, social and economic rights guaranteed under the
Constitution- S.C, 2014.
1. Dowry Death 304B
Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with Dowry Death
304B (1) of I.P.C.,
where the death of a woman is due to any kinds of
burns or bodily injury or, when the death occurs under normal circumstances
within seven years of the marriage and it is concluded that soon before her
death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative
of her husband in connection with any demand for dowry, such death may be termed
as Dowry Death and the husband or relative shall be held liable for her death.
section comes along with two explanations which purports that the term ‘Dowry'
used in this provision shall have the identical meaning as given under section 2
of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; and the punishment of dowry death shall be
up to seven years of imprisonment which might extend for life.
Essential of Dowry Death
- Death of the woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or
otherwise than under normal circumstances;
- Death so witnessed should be within 7 years of her marriage;
- She must've been a target of cruelty by her husband or his relative;
- Cruelty or harassment should have been meted out to the woman soon
before her death;
- Cruelty or harassment should be in relation with the demand for dowry.
Also, in this connection reference should necessarily be made to section 498-A
also subsequently inserted in the I.P.C. which defines Cruelty by the husband
or his relatives.
Section 498A of I.P.C. purports cruelty as whoever, being the husband or the
relative of the husband of a woman subjects her to cruelty shall be punished
with the imprisonment for a term upto to 3 years and shall also be liable to
The explanation of this section provides us with the meaning of the word
- Any deliberate act which is of such a nature which eventually leads the
woman to commit suicide, or to cause serious injury or danger to life
(whether mental or physical) of the woman; or,
- Harassment of the woman with a view of pressuring her or anyone related
to her for fulfilling any illegal demand of any of her valuable possessions,
is done on account of failure by her or anyone related to her for meeting
Cruelty includes both physical and mental torture as per the code.
Dowry Death together with Cruelty is punishable under sections 304B and 498A,
I.P.C. In V.K. Mishra v. State of Uttarakhand and Rahul Mishra v. State of
Uttarakhand the court said that in case of dowry death dealt along with
cruelty and harassment mentioned under 304B & 498A, I.P.C., evidence of father
of deceased regarding making payment to appellants, accused, cogent and
consistent strengthened by bank statements.
Non-mention of details of money paid
to appellants, and demand of dowry and cruelty and harassment dispensed out to
deceased in statement of father do not affect trustworthiness of father. It
cannot be expected from father to recite everything when he himself was in agony
due to death of his own daughter. Discharging the appeal, Apex Court held
prosecution showed that soon before death. Deceased wife was exposed to cruelty
and harassment by appellants, husband and in-laws. Accused failed to deny the
presumption raised under section 113B of Evidence Act.
3. Acid Attack
Section 326A and 326B were introduced in the code vide Criminal Law (amendment)
Act 13 of 2013 having the objective of making specific provisions for punishment
in case of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by the use of acid etc., or
throwing or an attempt of throwing acid voluntarily, which may cause permanent
or partial damage, or any kind deformity or burns or disfigures or disables any
part of the body. In view of the gravity of offence section 326A, I.P.C.
provides punishment of not less than 10 years which may extend to imprisonment
of life and fine.
Here 326A deals with voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc.,
while section 326B deals with throwing or attempt of throwing acid on any person
4. Sexual Harassment
Section 354 of I.P.C. provides us with the provision of assault with an intent
to outrage a woman's modesty, implying that whoever uses criminal force against
any woman, intending to outrage or being fully aware of the fact that the said
act will outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment upto a term
which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and
shall also be held liable to fine.
- A woman must be assaulted;
- The accused must intend to outrage her modesty.
What constitutes an outrage to female modesty is nowhere defined. This will
depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and according to the moral,
social and legal ethos and traditions of the country and the race to which the
Whether a woman has or has not developed modesty is a question of
fact in each case, and there is no abstract conception of modesty that can apply
to all cases.
Sexual Harassment at Workplace
It has been laid down by the S.C that it is the employer's obligation or such
person who is competent enough in work places or any other organizations or
institutes to prohibit and punish the commission of acts relating to sexual
harassment and to provide the procedure of an effective redressing mechanism for
Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan
The judgment was delivered by Chief Justice J.S.Verma as a representative of
Justice Sujata Manihar and Justice B.N. Kripal upon a writ petition which was
filed by Vishaka the victim of this case. The judgment laid down various
guidelines for the employees to follow and avoid sexual harassment of women at
The S.C. specifically underlined the definition of Sexual Harassment,
which included any unwanted or uninvited physical touch, conduct or any sexual
comment or texts will come under the ambit of sexual harassment.
The apex court in Vishaka, has defined, sexual harassment as a form of sex
- Through undesirable sexual advances
- Request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct whether
directly or by implications particularly after the submission or rejection
of such conducts by the female employee
- Unreasonable interference with her work performance; and
- Had an effect of creating a hostile working environment.
It was further said that, sexual harassment of a woman employee at workplace, is
a violation of the ‘right to gender equality' and also the ‘right to life and
liberty', the two of the most valuable fundamental rights guaranteed vide
articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
Section 354A* I.P.C. is the section given for the Sexual harassment and
punishment for Sexual harassment which gives an inclusive idea of acts which
constitute sexual harassment, they are:
- A man who commits any of these acts:
- Physical contact and advances including unwelcomed and explicit sexual
- A demand or request of sexual favors; or
- Showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
- Making sexually colored remarks,
Shall be held liable for the offence of sexual harassment.
- Any man who is guilty of the offence specified in clause (i) or clause
(ii) of sub-section (1) should be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term
which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
- While any man who commits offence mentioned in clause (iv) of sub
section 1 shall face imprisonment which may extend to 1 year or with fine or
Assault against a woman with intent to disrobe her is mentioned under 354-B* I.P.C.
Any man, who uses force or assaults to any woman or abets such act with a mala-fide
intention of disrobing her, shall be punished with upto 3 years of minimum
imprisonment which might extend to 7 and also be held liable to fine.
Voyeurism is mentioned under 354-C which implies that any man who watches, or
clicks pictures of a woman involved in a personal or a private act in situations
where a normal prudent person will think of not being observed either by any
other person shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment 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 on repeating the offence for the second time
then the person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term greater than or
equal to 3 years, but which might be extended to seven years and also be held
liable with fine.
For the purpose of this section, private act includes an act of watching being
done in a place which, in ordinary conditions will rationally be anticipated for
providing privacy and where the victim's genitals, posterior or breasts are
getting exposed or covered only in underclothing, or the target is using a
lavatory, or is involved in a sexual act that is not of a kind that is usually
be done in public as mentioned in Explanation 1.
While the explanation 2 purports the scenario where the victim consents the
capturing of any act, but not to exposing it to any third party and where such
image or act is disseminated, such exposure shall be considered as an offence
under this section.
Stalking is mentioned under section 354-D of I.P.C. as:
1. Any man who-
- 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
- Monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any form of
electronic communication, commits the offence stalking;
Provided that such behavior shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued
- she was being 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
- she was being pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or
requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
- In the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and
Subsection 2 of this section provides us the punishment of the offence of
stalking on first conviction with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3
years, and shall also be liable to fine and on subsequent conviction the person
shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 5 years and shall also
be liable with fine.
Section 509 provides us the provision of outraging a woman's modesty with the
help of words, gesture or an act intended to do the same. Any person intending
to insult the modesty of any woman, with the help of words, sounds or gestures;
or by exhibiting any object intending to make that word or sound be heard, or
that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman or by intruding the
privacy of a woman.
The prime facie objective of this section is to protect the modesty and chastity
of a woman.
This section requires the following essentials:
5. Kidnapping and Abduction
- Intention of outraging a woman's modesty;
- The intention must be caused-
- By uttering words, sounds or gestures or exhibiting any object so as to
be heard or seen by such woman, or
- By intruding the privacy of such woman
Section 366 of I.P.C. provides that, whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with
intent that she may be compelled or knowing it to be likely that she will be
compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be
forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing it to be likely that she
will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and
shall also be liable to fine; and whoever, by means of criminal intimidation as
defined in this code or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion
induces any woman to go from any place with 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 also be punishable aforesaid.
- Kidnapping or abducting any woman;
- Such kidnapping or abducting must be;
- With the intention that the woman may be compelled or might likely that
she will be compelled to marry any person against her will; or
- In order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or
likely to be that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse; or
- By criminal intimidation, or abuse of authority, inducing any woman to
go from any place, with the intent that she may be or likely to be forced or
seduced to have illicit intercourse with somebody.
Girls of age 18 and above can only be abducted and not kidnapped but girls below
the age of 18 can be kidnapped as well as abducted.
Section 366A of the I.P.C provides that whoever, by any means when induces any
minor girl to move from any place for doing any act with the intent of knowing
that it is likely that she will be forced or seduced for having an illicit
intercourse with someone else, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may
extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
This section deals with procuration of minor girl and was inserted in I.P.C. in the year 1923 in
pursuance of the International convention for Suppression in Traffic in women
Importation of girl from foreign country is given under section
366B which provides that whoever imports into India from any foreign country any
girl under the age of 21 having intention or knowing that she may be, or likely
to be forced or seduced for having an illicit intercourse with someone shall be
punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be
liable to fine.
Section 366B along with Section 366A was inserted in the I.P.C in the year 1923
in pursuance of the International Convention for Suppression of the Traffic in
women and children. Section 366B is intended to punish the export and import of
girls for prostitution.
Section 370 of I.P.C. deals with trafficking of person which purports that
whoever, for the purpose of exploitation, (a) recruits, (b) transports, (c)
harbours, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a person or persons, by:
- using threats, or
- using force, or any other form of coercion, or
- by abduction, or
- by practicing fraud, or deception, or
- by abuse of power, or
- by inducement, including the giving or receiving of payments or
benefits, in order to achieve the consent of any person having control over
the person recruited, transported, harboured, transferred, or received,
commits the offence of trafficking.
Subsection (2) purports that the person found guilty of this offence shall be
punished for a term not less than 7 years which may extend to 10 years and shall
also be liable with fine while subsection (3) mentions the punishment for the
offender involving more than 1 victim for the wrongdoing of trafficking, with
rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years and which may extend to
life imprisonment and also be liable to fine.
Similarly, subsection (4) involves
the trafficking of a minor and the punishment of which shall be rigorous
imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years which may extend to life
imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine while subsection (5)
mentions the punishment of trafficking more than one minor girl with rigorous
imprisonment not less than 14 years which may extend to life imprisonment and
shall also be liable to fine.
Subsection (6) provides the punishment of the
offence of trafficking if found being done on more than one occasion or in
layman terms for repeating this offence or on being convicted for the second
time with rigorous imprisonment for life.
Subsection (7) exhibits the punishment
when the offender is either a public servant or a police officer and the
punishment mentioned herein is life-imprisonment and also be held liable to
Explanation 1 gives us the ambit of the expression exploitation which shall
include any act of physical or sexual exploitation, it shall also include
practices of slavery or similar to slavery, or the forceful removal of organs.
Explanation 2 purports that the consent of the victim is immaterial for the
determination of this offence.
Section 370A deals with exploitation of a trafficked person which purports
- Whoever, knowingly or having the reason to believe that a minor has
been trafficked, engages such minor for sexual exploitation in any manner,
shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 5
years, but which may extend to 7 years, and shall be liable to fine.
- Whoever, knowingly or having the reason to believe that a person has
been trafficked, engages such a person for sexual exploitation in any
manner, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than 3 years, but which may extend to 5 years, and shall be
liable to fine.
Section 372 & 373, I.P.C. punish the trade of selling and buying minors for
purposes of prostitution. These sections are in consonance with Article 23 of
the Constitution, which prohibits traffic in human beings and sanctions
punishment for the practice of such acts. Section 372, I.P.C. punishes the sale
of minor girls for the purpose of prostitution, or other unlawful and immoral
purpose. The provision envisages protection of chastity of girls.
applies to both married and unmarried female minors irrespective of cast or
community, including girls belonging to dancing girl caste. Section 373, I.P.C.
is a counterpart of section 372 of the code. The two sections deals with
prostitution of minor girls. This section punishes buyers or hirers of minor
girls for the purpose of prostitution or for unlawful or immoral purposes.
6. Sexual Offence
There is a distinct heading for Sexual Offences, which incorporates sections
375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376R of the I.P.C added vide Criminal law
(Amendment) Act 13 of 2013. Sexual Offences create an altogether different kind
of crime which is the result of irrational mind. This irrationality may result
in rape or in homosexuality.
Section 375 as substituted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013(13 of
A man is said to commit rape if he-
- Penetrates his penis, to any extent, into vagina, mouth, urethra or anus
of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
- Inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being
penis, into vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so
with hum or any other person; or
- Manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration
into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the such woman or makes her to
do so with hum or any other person; or
- Applies his mouth in the vagina, urethra of a woman or makes het to do
so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any
of the following 7 descriptions:
- against her will
- without her consent
- with her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or
any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
- with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that
her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she
is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
- with her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of
unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally
or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable
to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives
- with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years of age.
- when she is unable to communicate consent.
of this section purports that Labia Majora is included
under the ambit of Vagina.
provide us a sense of what consent means pertaining to this
particular section i.e. it should be an unambiguous voluntary agreement where
the woman by any form of communication be it VERBOS or NON-VERBOS, communicates
voluntariness to partake in an explicit sexual act with a proviso that a woman
who does not substantially repel to that act of penetration shall not by the
reason only of that fact, be observed as acceptance to the sexual activity.
proviso further had two explanations in which explanation 1 purports that a
medical procedure or intervention shall not constitute rape, and the explanation
2 says that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife where the wife is not
being under fifteen years of age is not rape.
The section 375 now provides a broader domain and a detailed explanation of this
particular offence. After the amendment act of 2013, a person can be held liable
of this offence not only when he himself contributes or participates in this
offence, but also by triggering a woman to do any of the above mentioned acts
with another person.
Due to a thorough and descriptive nature of the definition of rape now given in
the amended provision, the words vagina
have been explained and given a definite meaning with the support of the newly
added Explanation 1 and 2.
The punishment for rape/sexual assault has been categorized depending upon the
severity of offence. However, the option is left with the court under
sub-section (1) of 376 I.P.C. to mention adequate and special reasons for
imposing a sentence of imprisonment of less than seven years for the offence of
rape has been omitted by the amendment.
Further, for the offenders who fall
within any of the clauses (a) to (n) of sub-section (2) if I.P.C. , because of
their special position by virtue advantage of which they can exert influence
upon the victim, the punishment prescribed is of rigorous imprisonment for not
be less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life.
Sections 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E substituted by the Criminal Law
(Amendment) Act, 2013. Section 376 A prescribes punishment for causing death or
resulting in persistent vegetative state of the victim. Section 376B deals with
Sexual intercourse done by the husband upon his wife during judicial separation.
Section 376C prescribes the punishment for sexual intercourse by a person in
authority. Section 376D deals with the punishment for gang rape and section 376E
deals with punishment for repeat offenders.
Section 377 of The Indian Penal code,1860 deals with Unnatural offence. It runs
as, whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with
any man, woman or animal, shall be penalized with imprisonment for a term, which
may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
In 2018, S.C. ruled a
part of this section as unconstitutional which held that treating consensual
homosexual sex between adults as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights
protected by Indian Constitution. Thus, the verdict in the case of Navtej singh
Johar v. Union of India a 5 Judge bench lead to decriminalization of
consensual Homosexual acts.
7. Crimes related to Marriage
Section 493, I.P.C. is one of the felonies relating to marriage. The section
does not punish mere living together or sexual intercourse with a woman who is
not legally married to him, but foresees the case:
- When a man fraudulently persuades a woman to have sexual intercourse
with him, and
- Causing her to be certain of that she is lawfully married to him
To prove dishonesty, it must be irrefutably established that the petitioner had
dishonest or deceitfully hidden certain facts or made a false declaration
knowing it to be false.
Punishment given under this section is imprisonment of either description for a
term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 496 seeks to punish fraudulent marriages. It applies to those
circumstances where a fake ceremony is performed, pretending it to be a valid
marriage. To establish the offence mentioned, the following conditions are to be
- The accused must have performed the ceremonies of marriage.
- The act of which should not institute a valid marriage
- The accused must be aware of the fact that the marriage so done is not
- The accused must have acted corruptly or deceitfully.
According to section 494, I.P.C. marrying again during the life of husband or
wife is an offence. Bigamy means marrying again during the life time of the
lawfully wedded spouse. However, this provision does not extend to any person
whose marriage with such husband or wife has been stated void by a Court of
To constitute the offence of bigamy the following conditions need to get
- The accused had already been married to some person
- The said marriage was legal
- The person to whom the person got married is alive
- The accused married another person
- The accused when marrying the second time concealed the fact of his
Punishment mentioned under this section is imprisonment for up-to 10 years and
Comparison of Legal Provisions with respect to countries like U.K & The United
As from above one can easily understand that Indian Law punishes only men for an
indecent assault but in U.K. a woman can also be held liable for committing an
offence of an indecent assault. So, both a man and woman under the English law
can be held liable for committing this offence punishment of which may extend to
10 years of imprisonment, as was mentioned under section 14 & 15 of Sexual
offences Act, 1956.
In U.K the both a battery (a touching) and psychic assault, without
touching are included the offence of indecent assault as per Sexual offences
Act, 2003. For the former case the knowledge and the circumstances of indecency
for the victim need nit has to be proved, while in the latter case the victim
must be aware of the assault as well as the circumstances.
There was a case of Beal v Kelley
, where it was observed that a boy of age
14 who declined the accused's invitation to touch his penis, the accused taking
the boy's arms and dragging him towards himself, here, the accused was held
liable of this offence.
Also in the case of R. v H, the use of derogatory words like: Do you fancy
shag (sex) followed by actual touching amounts to sexual assault and comes under
the ambit of section 3 of Sexual Harassment Act, 2003 (U.K.).
Sexual harassment at workplace in The United States
There are two forms of sexual harassment acknowledged by United States:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment which infers that an employee is
obligated for enduring sexual harassment in exchange for employment, a raise
or job benefit.
- Hostile work environment depicts sexual harassment at workplace as an
unpleasant work environment or unreasonably interferes with an employee's
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 added provisions to the Title VII which extended
the rights of women to take legal action and collect compensatory and penal
damages for the offence of sexual harassment.
In India Incest, which in layman language can be interpreted as sexual
intercourse with consent between the parties falling within a specified degree
of consanguinity i.e., related by birth, for example a sexual intercourse by a
man with his grand-daughter or daughter, etc., is not a crime under I.P.C; while
in the united states except Rhode island, Ohio, and New Jersey have a different
statute which vary widely while the other states have penalized this act and
states like Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and Michigan have
the most severe punishment among the rest which consists upto 20 years of
prison while the states mentioned from Nevada to Michigan may deliver the
punishment of Life Imprisonment. In this regard English Law is more practical
and thus it makes incest punishable under Section 64 and 65 of the Sexual
Offences Act, 2003 for both the cases i.e., man or a woman.
It is punishable
with imprisonment for life if the female is below 13 years and in the case of
attempting to commit imprisonment for 7 years; while in other cases the degree
of imprisonment is 7 years and 2 years for attempting to commit.
When we compare unnatural offence mentioned under 377 of I.P.C to that present
under the English law; the common law uses the term buggary for unnatural
offences which consists in intercourse per anus by a man, with a man or a woman
or with an animal whose punishment was as harsh as capital punishment.
the common law was first modified in 1967 by the Sexual Offences Act, 1967
making consensual sodomy, i.e., homosexual act with another man on private
between those who had attained the age of 21 beyond the purview of the law. In
1994, the law was further modified and reduced age to 18 by section 143 of the
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994 while in India, law relating to
sodomy got repealed in 2018.
Laws relating to adultery vary from country to country; it differs according to
their religious, social and political factors. In U.K adultery is not a criminal
offence but when we consider The United States it follows a three tier
formulations based on statutes of different states under it, which are:
- Common law, according to which adultery takes place only when the woman
is married and both the husband and wife are held liable.
- The canon (body of law of a church), according to which adultery is the
voluntary intercourse with a person other than the offender's husband or
wife and here only the married person is held accountable.
- The hybrid view, according to this view which is followed in 20 states
under The United States purports that if either of the spouse has sexual
intercourse with a third party, both the transgressors are accountable for
the offence of Adultery.
In India Adultery was an offence which was mentioned under the penal code under
section 497 got repealed in 2018 by the S.C. as it was apprehended as
unconstitutional though it still continues to be a ground of divorce.
An aggregate of 378,277 cases of crime against women have been testified in the
year 2018 whereas a total of 186,212 cases under crime against women in India
has been reported as pending for investigation by the end of 2018.These figures
are released by the National Crime records Bureau. The national capital New
Delhi remains to hold on to its status of being the most unsafe city in India.
The legislations of India when compared to those present in other foreign
countries lacks deterrent effect.
The penalization present over those countries is much more severe than those
present in our home country not only this but also the inefficiency of our
judicial system also proves to be a downfall for the enforcement of justice.
Although women may be victim of any crimes stated under the penal code like
murder, robbery, cheating etc., but only the crimes directly associated or which
are specifically against women are characterized as Crime Against Women.
These crimes are either mentioned under the Indian Penal code, or if not there
they might be mentioned under the Special and Local laws both having the same
objective of rooting out all the mal-practices against women.
- AIR 1958 MB 147 (148)
- Writ petition No. 400 of 2012 decided on 15 April, 2014
- Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec. 10 (w.e.f. 19-11-1986)
- AIR 2016 SC 882
- AIR 1997 SC 3011
* Ins. by Act 13 of 2013, Sec. 7(w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
- Subs. By Act 13 of 2013, Sec 8, for section 370 (w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
- Subs. By Act 13 of 2013, Sec 8, for section 370 (w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
- Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 76 of 2016
- R. v. Court, (1987) 1 All ER 120 (122) (Crown Court of Appeal)
- (1951) 2 All ER 763
- (2005) 2 All ER 859
- Sexual harassment in workplace in the United States, Available
at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_harassment_in_the_workplace_in_the_United_States Accessed
on 30th April, 2018
- Navtej singh Johar v. Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 76 of
- K.D Gaur, Textbook on Indian Penal Code 1054 (LexisNexis, Haryana, 6th edn.,
- Joseph Shine v. Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 194 of
- National Criminal Record Bureau Report Available at: https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/Crime%20in%20India%202018%20-%20Volume%201.pdf Accessed
on 26th April, 2018