Offenses Against Women

INTRODUCTION

Women have to face many hardships and have to face many problems in this evil growing world. Violence is increasing against women and is witnessed in each and every corner of the world. Many dreadful crimes are taking place against women such as molestation, rape, eve-teasing, rape, harassment at the workplace, kidnapping, abduction, fraudulent marriage, dowery deaths, and many more. But, causing serious pain is the trauma that is backed by all of these crimes, it leaves a severe impression on the minds of the victims which makes it hard for them to cope up with life and the fact that the accused is not being properly punished. These incidents are also a matter of grave concern to society and thus, to protect women the Indian Penal Code has constituted some laws.

CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

Some heinous crimes that take place against women are as follows:

Words, gestures, or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman. (u/s 509)
Importation of girls up to 21 years of age. (u/s 366B)
Voyeurism (u/s 354C)
Stalking (u/s 354D)
Assault on women with intent to disrobe a woman. (u/s 354B)
Sexual harassment (u/s 354A)
Outraging the modesty of a woman. (u/s 354)
Cruelty by husband or his relatives. (u/s 498A)
Murder, dowery death, abetment of suicide, etc. (u/s 302, 304B and 306)
Kidnapping and abduction for different purposes. (u/s 363-373)
Rape (u/s 375, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E)
Acid attack (u/s 326A and 326B)

RAPE

Rape is considered to be a very grievous offense which is constituted against all the women disregarding their age. A four-year-old girl can also be a victim of rape and a 90-year-old women can also be a victim of rape. The Supreme Court of India while showing concern for rape which is considered to be the most heinous crime observed,
“ Rape is a crime not against the person of a woman; it is a crime against the entire society. It destroys the entire psychology of a woman and pushes her into a deep emotional crisis. Rape is therefore the most hated crime. It is a crime against basic human rights and is a violation of the victims’ most cherished rights, namely the right of life which includes the right to live with human dignity contained in Article 21. Rape for a woman is a deathless shame and must be dealt with as a gravest against human dignity; it is a violation of violence on the private person of a woman.”

Section 375, 376, and 376A to 376D of IPC are related to the offense of rape, which is amended by Criminal law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

SECTION 375 – RAPE

As defined in section 375 of IPC,
“A man is said to commit rape if he-
Penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
Inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
Manipulates any part of the body of a woman to cause penetration into the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or
Applies his mouth to the vagina, mouth, urethra, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions-
First – against her will

Secondly – without her consent

Thirdly – 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 hurt.

Fourthly – with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and her consent is given because she believes her to be another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly – 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 unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly – with or without her consent, when she is under the age of 18 years

Seventhly – when she is unable to communicate consent.

Exception 1 – A medical procedure or intervention shall not constitute or rape.

Exception 2 – sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, does not constitute rape.”

So basically definition of rape consists of two essential ingridients:

Sexual intercourse by a man with a woman, and
The sexual intercourse must be under circumstances falling under any of the seven clauses of section 375.

The supreme court in the case law of Dileep Singh v. State of Bihar , observed that, “the will and consent often intolerance and an act done against the will of the person can be said to be an act done without consent, the Indian Penal Code categorises these two expressions under separate hands in order to make it as comprehensive as possible.”

SECTION 376 – PUNISHMENT FOR RAPE

As defined under section 376 of IPC,

“Whoever, except in the cases provided for in sub-section 2, commits rape shall be punished with rigrous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Whoever –

Being a police officer, commits rape –

Within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed; or
In the premises of any such house; or
On a woman in such police officer’s custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to such police officer; or

Being a public servant, commits rape on a woman in such public servant’s custody or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to such public servant; or

Being a member of the armed forces deployed in area by the Central or a State Government commits rape in such area; or

Being on the management or on the stuff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s institution, commits rape on any intimate of suh jail, remand home, place or institution; or

Being on the management or on the staff of the hospital, commits rape on a woman in the hospital; or

Being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman; or

Commits rape during communal or sectarian violence; or

Commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
*
Commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent; or

Being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman; or

Commits rape on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability; or

While commiting rape causes grivious bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a woman; or

Commits rape repeatedly on the same woman,

Shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of the person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.

1Explanation - For the purpose of this subsection -

“Armed forces” means the naval, military and air forces and includes any member of the armed forces constituted under any law for the time being in force, including the parliamentary forces and any auxiliary forces that are under the control of the central government or the state government.

“Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of the persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation;

“Police officer” shall have the same meaning as assigned to the expression “police” under the Police Act, 1861 (5 of 1861)

“Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected women or children or a widow’s home or in an institution called by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of women or children.

Whoever, commits rape on a woman under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of the person’s natural life, and shall aslo be liable to fine:

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim:

Provided further that any fine imposed under this subsection shall be paid to the victim.”

SECTION 376A – PUNISHMENT FOR CAUSING DEATH OR RESULTING IN PERSISTENT VEGETATIVE STATE OF VICTIM

As per section 376A of IPC,

1“Whoever, commits an offence punishable under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 376 in the course of such commission inflicts  an injury which causes the death of the woman or causes the woman to be in a president vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death.”

SECTION 376B – PUNISHMENT FOR THE RAPE ON WOMAN UNDER TWELEVE YEARS OF AGE.

As per section 376B of IPC,

1“Whoever has sexual intercourse with his owns wife, who is living separately, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise, without her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation – in this section “sexual intercourse” shall mean any of the acts mentioned in clauses (a) to (d) of section 375.”

SECTION 376C – SEXUAL INTERCOURSE BY A PERSON IN AUTHORITY

As per section 376C of IPC,
“whoever , being –

In a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship; or
A public servant; or
Superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force, or a women’s or children’s institution; or
On the management of a hospital or being on the staff of a hospital,

Abuses such position or fiduciary relationship to induce or seduce any woman either in his custody or under his charge or present in the premises to have sexual intercourse with him, such sexual intercousre not amonting to the offence of rape, shall be punished wiht rigrous imprisonment of either description for a term while shall not be less than five years, but which may not extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation 1 – in this section “sexual intercourse” shall mean any of the acts mentioned in clause (a) to (d) of section 375.

Explanation 2 – for the purpose of this section explanation 1 to section 375 shall also be applicable.

Explanation 3 – “superintendent” , in relation to a jail, remand home or other places of custody or a woman’s husband or children’s institution by the virtue of which such person can exercise any authority or control over its inmates.

Explanation 4 – the expression “hospital” and “women’s or children’s institution”shall respectively have the same meaning as in Explanation to subsection (2) of section 376.”

SECTION 376D – GANG RAPE

As per section 376D of IPC,

1“ where a woman is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with rigrous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine:

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expression rehabilitation of the victim.”

SECTION 376DA – PUNISHMENT FOR GANG RAPE ON WOMAN UNDER SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE

As per section 376DA of IPC,

1“ where a woman under sixteen years of age is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine:

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical exception and rehabilitation of the victim:

Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victims.”

SECTION 376DB – PUNISHMENT FOR GANG RAPE ON WOMAN UNDER TWELEVE YEARS OF AGE.

As per section 376DB of IPC,
“ where a woman under twelve years of age is raped by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of rape and shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine, or with death.

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical exception and rehabilitation of the victim:

Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victims.”

SECTION 376E – PUNISHMENT FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS

As per section 376E of IPC,

1“ whoever has been previously convicted of an offence punishable under section 376 or section 376A or section 376B or section 376D or section 376DA or section 376DB and is subsequently convicted of an offence punishable under any of the said section shall be punished with imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for life remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death.”

SECTION 509 – WORDS, GESTURES, OR ACTS INTENDED TO INSULT THE MODESTY OF A WOMAN
Section 509 of the IPC states that –

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine.”
Chhattisgarh State Amendment
After Section 509 of the Penal Code, the following shall be inserted, namely: —
“509A. Sexual harassment by relative.–Whoever, being related to a woman through blood, adoption or marriage, and not being her husband, takes the advantage of his proximity and induces, seduces or threatens such woman with intent to insult her modesty by word, gesture or act shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years and shall also liable to fine.
509B. Sexual harassment by electronic mode.–Whoever, by means of telecommunication device or by any other electronic mode including internet, makes creates, solicits or initiates the transmission of any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image or other communication, which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy or indecent with intent to harass or cause or having knowledge that it would harass or cause annoyance or mental agony to a woman shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.”

SECTION 366B – IMPORTATION OF GIRLS UP TO 21 YEARS OF AGE
Section 366B of the IPC states that-

“Whoever imports into India from any country outside India or from the State of Jammu and Kashmir any girl under the age of twenty-one years with intent that she may be, or knowing it to be likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine”.

SECTION 354C – VOYEURISM
Section 354C of the IPC states that-
“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 disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description 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 be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”

SECTION 354D – STALKING
Section 354D of the IPC states that-
“ (1) Any man who–
(i) 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
(ii) 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–
(i) 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
(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
(iii) in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.]”

SECTION 354B – ASSAULT OR USE OF CRIMINAL FORCE ON A WOMAN WITH INTENT TO DISROBE

Section 354B of the IPC states that-
“Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

SECTION 354A – SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Section 354A of the IPC states that-
“A man committing any of the following acts
physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
a demand or request for sexual favours; or
showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.
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.
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.”

SECTION 354 – OUTRAGING THE MODESTY OF A WOMAN
Section 354 of the IPC states that-
“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 may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

SECTION 498A – CRUELTY BY HUSBAND OR HIS RELATIVES
Section 498A of the IPC states that –
“Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.”

SECTION 304B – DOWRY DEATH
Section 304B of the IPC states that –
“Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. Explanation.—For the purpose of this subsection, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).
Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprison­ment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.”

SECTION 326A – VOLUNTARILY CAUSING GRIEVOUS HURT
Section 326A of the IPC states that –
“Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or bums or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine;”

CONCLUSION

Even though there are plethora of laws and Acts to protect the women then also the crime rate is increasing rapidly which clearly denotes that only laws are not responsible to make the society free from these evil acts but what also needs to be done is to change the thinking of the people around us by suppressing the evil eyes on the women and to lead the society on the path of ethics, morals and values and make them understand the value of women which can help to reduce the crimes also by imposing strict rules and laws so that people think twice before committing those heinous crimes.

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