street and sexual harassment

ASSAULT TO OUTRAGE MODESTY

Section 354: Assault or Criminal Force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty

Description:

Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

Punishment:

Imprisonment term between 1-5 Years and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 354 B: Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe

Description:

Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 years but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.

Punishment:

Imprisonment term between 3-7 Years and shall also be liable to fine.

The offence under this section is cognizable, bail able and trial able by any Magistrate.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 Section 354 A: Sexual Harassment and punishment for Sexual Harassment * Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

Description:

  1. A man committing any of the following acts :
    1. Physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
    2. A demand or request for sexual favours; or
    3. Showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
    4. Making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.

 Punishments:

  1. Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  2. Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

However, the offence under this section is cognizable, bail able and trial able by any Magistrate.

STREET SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Section 509: Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

Description:

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman -

  • utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or
  • exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, of that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or
  • intrudes upon the privacy of such woman

Punishment:

Imprisonment term up to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 294 : Obscene acts and songs

Description:

Whoever, to the annoyance of others -

  • does any obscene act in any public place, or
  • sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place

Punishment:

Imprisonment term up to 3 months, or with fine, or with both.

The offence under this section is cognizable, bail able, non-compoundable and trial able by any Magistrate.

VOYEURISM

Section 354 C 

Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or distributes such image shall be punished on first conviction.

Description:

  1. For the purpose of this section, “private act” includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim’s genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
  2. Where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.

Punishment:

Imprisonment term of 1-3 Years and shall also be liable to fine.

In case of a repeat offender, Imprisonment term of 3-7 Years and shall also be liable to fine.

The offence under this section is cognizable, bail able and trial able by any Magistrate for first conviction.
However, for second or subsequent conviction, it is cognizable, non-bail able but trial able by any Magistrate.

STALKING

Section 354 D: * Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 

(1) Any man who—  

  1. 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
  2. monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking;

 Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—

  1. it was 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
  2. it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
  3. in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

Punishment:

Imprisonment up to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.

In case of a repeat offender, Imprisonment term may increase up to 5 years and shall also be liable to fine.

The offence under this section is cognizable, bail able and trial able by any Magistrate for first conviction.
However, for second or subsequent conviction, it is cognizable, non-bail able but trial able by any Magistrate.

POLICE COMPLAIN

  1. Most police stations have a ‘Rapid Response Desk for Women, Children and Senior Citizens’ where at least one lady officer is seated at all times. The victim must approach the officials at this desk. In the off-chance that such a desk is not accessible; the victim may approach the officer on duty.
  2. Officers cannot refuse to file an FIR under any circumstances. A statement will be recorded in the FIR according to the victim’s narration of the incident, in Hindi, English or Marathi. In most cases, the recording officer will translate the statement to Marathi and fill up the FIR form. On the basis of this statement the sections of offence are determined.
  3. The police station that registers the complaint forwards the details to the police station nearest to where the crime was committed (if the two are not the same) and they take over.

 ADDITONAL POINT ON SEXUAL HARRASMNET:

In case there is no lady officer, a lady constable is called to take the statement; in case the latter in also unavailable a lady representative from an NGO is called.

POLICE INVESTIGATION

  1. An investigation is initiated and varies from case to case depending on eye witnesses and the amount of information provided by the victim, after which an arrest is made. Police officers may accompany the victim in civil clothes in an effort to arrest the accused in the act.
  2. Police stations cannot grant bail to such an offender. The courts, however, can grant a conditioned bail under which the accused is to keep away from the victim.
  3. After an arrest, a charge sheet is made and sent to the court. The accused is to be produced before a court of law within a period of 24 hours. This entire procedure takes up a maximum time period of up to 3 months. The Investigation Officer (IO) stays the same throughout the period of the case. In case of transfer or retirement, a new IO is handed over the case. During court hearings, regardless of retirement or transfer: all the IO's dealing with the case must appear before the court to give their statement. The case is fought by the lawyers towards a verdict.