Eve Teasing under Criminal Law
This article is second in a part of a three article series on Eve Teasing by Fazal Ahmad. The first part outlined the description and impact of eve teasing. The second looks at Eve Teasing under Civil Law.
We now look at Eve Teasing punishment in India in Criminal Laws
Very fairly speaking that in the Indian Penal Code, the word ‘eve-teasing’ does not exist. Eve teasing is an attitude, a mindset, a set of behaviours that is construed as an insult and an act of humiliation of the female sex. However, victims of eve teasing could take recourse to certain sections of the IPC.
The non-penetration sexual assault, under the section 354 of the Penal Code, is punishable with a maximum term of two years imprisonment of either description, or with fine, or with both.
Section 354. Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty
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.
Punishment—Imprisonment for 2 years, or fine, or both—Cogniza¬ble—Bailable—Triable by any Magistrate—Non-compoundable.
Section 509– Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman– 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, 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 one year, or with fine, or with both.
III. Section 294– Obscene acts and songs Whoever , to the annoyance of others–
a) Does any obscene act in any public place, or
b) Sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, with fine , or with both.
Being very fair to my readers of this Blog I as a lawyer should clarify that these sections make gestures or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman or acts intrude upon her privacy a, crime, but it is very difficult to exploit these provisions to deal with various expressions of sexual harassment. Eve Teasing punishment in India under provisions of these sections of law and the procedural laws are complex and the type of proof that is required make it very difficult to get the culprit punished.
Eveteasing is a wrong against the honour, dignity and self respect of a woman. It hurts her at the core of soul.We need a strong combating for this fast growing problem.
So, I strongly recommend a strong and tough law either in civil or criminal, for the strong punishment of the Eve teasers.
I would also to say country like India where we are worshipping the woman like Gods, the behaviour is morally unjust. We should learn to respect woman and the Class starts at Home.
~ Fazal Ahmad
Follow him on Twitter @fzlsammy
Update: Since this article was written, there have been efforts to get more stringent laws passed after the Delhi Gang Rape case in which a medical student was brutally gang raped and fatally injured. This is a work in progress for India.