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Offences Against Women In India And IPC Provisions To Safeguard And Uphold The Dignity Of Women

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Written by: Sejal Kaul

There is no possibility for this family and world, where there is no estimate of women living in sorrow. They must be raised first for this purpose. The legendary saint, Swami Vivekananda, has quoted this. The status and well-being of men and women continue together, along with the status of a society.


These two sexes are like two packs of a balancing beam, where, without one, the other doesn't matter. In India over all these years, festivals and deities are very piously adorable to women. However, their standing is always maintained at a menacing position when it comes to upholding the integrity of our real people. For decades, women have been succumbing to insecurity and virile muscle.

Throughout all these years, the government has worked tremendously on closing the gap between the two sexes by launching various economic plans and programmes to raise women. Unfortunately, the only solution to any woman's dilemma is not economic emancipation. Reservations in many portfolios of government will of course enhance their economic standing, but their personal and social integrity is also not unrestricted. Many women remain prey to their employers' hungry clutches. In 2017, 70 percent of women did not complain about sexual assault in their workplaces because of the consequences, according to a study carried out by the Indian Bar Association.


In 2019, on average 87 rape cases were registered in our country every day. In the course of the year, there were 4,05,861 incidents of women's abuse, up 7 percent as of 2018.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compilation showed that in 2018 there have been 3,78,236 violations of women. Of all, 33,356 were rape occurrences in our own country's territories.

We read more about the Indian Penal Code crime as a lot in these cases. The major portion was owned by cruelty by the husband or his family (30.9%). This led to an attack on women to outrage their moderation (21.8%) and the recruitment and abduction of women (17.9 percent). In 2019, the NCRB disclosed these details.


A total of 32,033 rape cases were submitted in India in 2019 as well. This accounted for 7.3% of all women's offences in the year. We, therefore, see that there has been an exponential increase in cases of violence against women in a country like ours.[i]


However, to curtail these horrific atrocities against women, the Indian penal code has played an important part. The author of these atrocious offences has several provisions to punish. These IPC parts were listed below.


Acid Attack (Section 326A & 326B)


It's an odd crime that scares a woman's reputation. The acid not only destroys the victim's image but also blocks her confidence. There were 1483 acid assault occurrences in our country between 2014 and 2018. One of the main reasons for this is that India remains a patriarchal culture, where both sexes do not have a mutually sound relationship. The weights of 'consent' are not just Indian citizens. He never thinks of a second way of attacking her with acid when he gets a rejection from a woman he wants.[ii]


The Criminal Law Amendments Act in 2013 incorporated Sections 326A and 326B to get those suspects to justice. These clauses imposed penalties.


Under Section 326 A, a jail term of at least 10 years, which may stretch further to life imprisonment with a fine, shall be punishable for someone who permanently or partly harms or distorts, disfigures, disabilities, burnt or causes serious injuries to any part or sections of their bodies by applying acid to a person to injure that person. This penalty is to be paid to the survivor, on its treatment costs, in this provision.


Section 326 B states that tossing or trying to throw acid would be charged with at least five years imprisonment, plus a fine and up to seven years imprisonment.


Rape (Sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376D)


Rape is one of the worst and most horrible acts a person might imagine. It denotes the integrity of a woman and her chastity. Around 91 rape cases were reported every day in 2018. Of all, 94.2 percent were directly connected with those who committed the crime.


Rape literally entails the insertion or penetration in a woman's vagina, throat, urethra, or anus of some sort or the application of the mouth of sexual organs, with power, deception or with the creation of a sense of terror, of any kind of material or the male reproductive section or any other part of the body. It also includes every other act of sexual intercourse according to Section 375 under seven grounds.


The penalty for violation of Sections 376(1) and 376(2) has been laid down. Article 376(1) shall include at least seven years' jail and require a life sentence and a fine.


The penalty includes a minimum term of ten years in such aggravated cases that may apply to life imprisonment, death sentence, or fines covered by Article 376(2).


Gang Rape is included in Section 376(D). When more than one man rapes a woman, each of whom is working for a shared purpose is called gang rape. Gang rape offenders are typically sentenced to at least 20 years in jail and life imprisonment.


Outraging the modesty of a woman (Section 354)


Modesty is a feature that comes with a woman's sex. More than 88,000 women's assaults were registered in 2019 with the aim of outraging their privacy. This segment was added to defend a woman from degradation. It contains different types of perverted acts referred to in the Indian Penal Code.

According to this clause, anyone that uses or attacks a woman in an attempt to outrage her modesty, or with the clear awareness that this would contribute to the outrage of her modesty, shall be sentenced to two years of jail, or with a fine or to all. It includes some other sexual acts, properly referenced in the IPC.


Sexual Harassment (Section 354A)


48 percent of our country's total population is female. Around 20.7% of women are working as of 2019. The crimes against women have grown by leaps and bounds since the women population entered their workplaces. This section is being introduced by the Criminal Act Amendment Act 2013, aimed at preventing sexual harassment at work, to check and improve women's working conditions.

This segment punishes men for lewd acts such as making sexual advances, making comments of sexual colour, pornography, etc. The penalty referred to clauses (i) to (iii) of Section 354 of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, shall be strict jail time, which can be extended to a maximum of three years with a penalty or both. In contrast, a sentence according to sub-clause (iv) provides for imprisonment for one year or a fine or both.


The legislature, however, was well-conceived to inaugurate, to address the increasing incidents of female abuse in the workplace, a new Act called Sexual Harassment (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. In addition, this Act paved the way for a landmark case of Vishaka v the state of Rajasthan[iii] of this specific scenario.


Diverse directives have been issued by the Supreme Court and the government has been asked to make laws accordingly. These guidelines were based on the convention to eliminate discrimination against women in all respects of these (CEDAW) guidelines. The Posh Act thus provides for the Guidelines and the Convention. It was decided to examine the security of the working class of women. The law sets out particular ways to alleviate women who are subjected to such sexually unsuitable work experience.


Disrobing a woman (354B)


It includes attacking or inflicting a woman with illegal force to disrupt her or cause her to stay naked. It penalises the wrongdoer by three years' imprisonment, with a penalty of seven years.


Voyeurism (Section 354C)


According to this clause, anybody who allows a woman, who is involved in some particular private act, to take pictures knowing that she or some other individual does not see it and, in this section, the perpetrator is often considered to be holding the picture.

The defendant is fined for catching the photograph, with a one-year jail sentence that is extended to three years. Moreover, once the defendant has captured the photograph, he can be convicted by three years in jail and up to a fine of seven years.


Stalking (Section 354D)


This segment mostly highlights the act of stalking a woman or attempting to touch her, although she is reluctant to do so. It essentially entails two types of acts, firstly when a man attempts to obey a woman or to contact her, even after she has shown her desire for it and secondly when a guy wants to use the Internet as a media to train or to follow women's online practices.


The first instance sentence can include up to three years in jail and a fine, while the second example may include a fine of five years. But it must be observed that the same shall not be regarded under that very provision as an injustice if an individual follows a woman to avoid, investigate and fulfil his or her duties as a criminal offender.


Selling of minor for prostitution (Section 372)


Someone who hires or disposes of any minor girl to engage with anyone or to engage in sex or to conduct illegal or unethical acts is convicted under this provision for ten years of imprisonment and also liable to a fine.


Insulting the modesty of a woman (Section 509)


If any person makes a sound, utters any words, or makes any kind of gesture or displays any object to humiliate the modesty of a woman, for the purpose that the sound should be heard, any action should be seen, or the matter should be shown, or a woman's privacy should be infringed, a simple imprisoned term is held liable under this section, approximately


Crimes Related To Marriage:


Cruelty caused by husband or relatives of husband (Section 498A)


After an uptick in the number of cases of cruelty against women, Section 498A was revealed in 1987. In 2012, the National Crimes Bureau reported 8,233 dowry deaths and 1, 06,527 cruelty cases by a husband or his family were reported under the same section. This report was released in 2012.[iv]


This bears witness to the rising trend in marriage crimes in India. This section is thus intended to limit the growing threat of brutality against married women, in which she ultimately dies.

According to this section, any married woman or widow who, concerning dowry or any willing actions on behalf of a husband, is cruelty-prone or causes serious injury or suicides by his husband or relatives is a victim of the husband or his relative, as specified by Section 498A of the code. Such injuries can either be physical or psychological.


Dowry Death (Section 304B)


Dowry is a kind of consideration paid to the bride or his family as a marriage arrangement on behalf of the bride or her family. India has the world's most dowry deaths. In 2015, in India, about 7,634 women were killed because of dowry abuse.

Twenty-one dowry deaths are registered every day throughout the territory and just 34.7 percent are convicted. The law forbidding requests, payments, or acceptances of dowry was adopted in 1961 to serve as verification. Section 304B of the IPC on the other side addresses dowry-related deaths.[v]

According to section 304(1), a wife has to surrender to the death of her husband or any relative of his husband concerning dowry and not in relation to burns or other body accidents which would otherwise not exist in normal circumstances, within seven years of marriage, if the person has been subjected to cruelty. Shortly after her death, certain barbarity must be shown.


Conclusion


Our country's condition has degenerated every day. The prejudiced and oppressive mentality undermines the moral concepts of freedom. We also learn about cases like Nirbhaya, Laxmi Aggarwal, and Aruna Shanbaug in our country, where we commemorate the contributions of women, like Malala Yousafzai, Kiran Bedi, and Mary Kom, that fill our eyes with wear and leave traces of despondency.

The world was dystopian for these victims. Women remain undermined to this day even after a multitude of legislation and statutes for empowerment and defence. It is time to discipline these extortionists and criminals in such a rigorous manner that anyone cannot commit the same crime. Legal consciousness in all parts of the world should make women aware of their rights and be able to raise a voice whenever necessary.


The judiciary, the bureaucrats, and the civilians will make a transition that we have been dreaming of for so many decades now with proper coordination and consciousness. Everybody must realise that women's safety and inclusive culture are essential to the progress of the world. Even in the darkest hour of the night, the day our Indian women could go peacefully on the streets, we would legitimately rejoice the souls of a free country, the dream our ancestors had created.

End Notes: [i] Dipu Raj, "No country for women: India reported 88 rape cases every day in 2019" India Today, Sep 30, 2020. [ii] Shilpa Dubey, "Understanding The Vicious World Of Acid Attacks And How To Help Survivors" Femina, July 2, 2020. [iii] Visakha v the state of Rajasthan & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 3011. [iv] National Crime Records Bureau’s Report, 2012. [v] Chayyanika Nigam, "21 lives lost to dowry every day across India; conviction rate less than 35 percent" India Today, April 22, 2017.

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