Crimes Against Women – A Legal Perspective
The difference between a man and a woman has certainly taken a form of a monster which is now feeding on the female strata of society. There would be no women in India if we do not act now. The National Crime Records Bureau has recently published the figures of crimes against women. Acc to the figures 100 women are subjected to rape each day approximately. The most numbers are in the state of Madhya Pradesh. In M.P. there is a rise of 358% in rape against women during 2013-14 i.e., 14 crimes each day. On the other side Uttar Pradesh excels in murder and kidnapping of which 300 murders were due to love affairs. Delhi excels in theft. In India nearly 2.5 lac matters were reported of kidnapping in 5 years, most of which did not demand extortion but was for marriage purpose.
Crimes against women (Glimpses of India Penal Code,1860)
- Kidnapping (Sec 359,360,366)
- Eve Teasing (Sec 509)
- Chain snatching (Sec 378)
- Rape (Sec 376,376A,376B,376C,376D)
- Sexual Harassment (Sec 354A)
- Domestic Violence (Sec 498A)
- Honor Killing
- Cyber Crimes (Bullying, Abuse, Violence, Pornography)
- Dowry deaths
- Acid Attacks (Sec 326A,326B)
- Stalking (Sec 354D)
- Assault to outrage modesty (Sec 354,354B)
- Women trafficking (Sec 370,370A,372,373)
The term kidnapping refers to either kidnapping from India or kidnapping from lawful guardianship. Sec 360 of the IPC states that whoever conveys any person beyond India without his consent is said to kidnap that person from India and whoever takes a away a minor (16yrs in case of male and 18yrs in case of female) without his consent or the guardian’s consent is said to kidnap that person from lawful guardianship (Sec 361). The punishment for this purpose is upto 7 yrs and fine. Sec 366 of IPC defines kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage and forceful sexual relations for which the offender can be punished with imprisonment upto 10 yrs and fine.
Eve Teasing is a euphemism used for public sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. It is a problem in the current youth. It is a form of sexual aggression that ranges in severity from sexual remarks, brushing and catcalls to groping. Sec 509 of the IPC states that whoever intending to insult the modesty of any women, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture or exhibits any object which intrudes upon the privacy of such woman shall be punished with imprisonment upto 3 yrs and fine.
Theft against women confines to chain-snatching and other valuables. This is a common problem of modern society. Old-age women are the most affected class of these crimes. The offenders also disguise themselves as police officials and ask women to give their valuables for the purpose of safety. It is subjected to Sec 378 of IPC.
Rape is a much broader term to be defined and its scope is of wider perspective. It is the most common crime against women and the Indian society and system has failed to end this heinous crime. The world is seeing India as a nation of rapists. The numbers have increased tremendously. The law system has failed purely. The offence can be categorized in various aspects as a rape of a minor girl, rape of a woman (Sec 376), rape with murder (Sec 376A), rape in families, rape by public servants (Sec 376C) , gang-rape (Sec 376 D), marital rapes (Sec 376B). The punishments for these offences range from imprisonment upto 7yrs to 20 yrs or Life imprisonment and also fine.
Sexual harassment can be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of sexual nature. It includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or sexual assault, showing pornography to women against her will etc. Acc to Sec 354A of IPC if any person commits an act of sexual harassment, he shall be rigorously imprisoned upto 3yrs and fine.
Domestic Violence is yet another term which is common in our country as women were and are considered to be the inferior strata of human society. The psychology was that the man earned and worked outside so he had the right to do anything with his wife. But with time, the trend changed and now women equally work. These acts of violence include beating, rape, forced sex etc. Sec 498A of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines 1yr punishment and fine.
A spate of murders and dishonourable crimes in the name of ‘honour’ whether of a family or caste or community are continuing to be reported. Though most of these killings and crimes are being reported from various states of India. A crime in the name of ‘honour’ is one of a range of violent or abusive acts including emotional, physical, and sexual
abuse and other coercive acts. The panchayats or associations, through various kinds of coercive and punitive actions, want to create terror and stop marriages and associations on the basis of choice from taking place. These actions are also violative of certain fundamental rights in the Constitution of India, including the right to life, and liberty which includes the right to bodily integrity, and the right to choose whom to associate with.
In the world of technology, India too had advanced itself in technology and the women are an equal part of it. But the diseased minds have not left any chance to offend women in the cyber world too. There are several cyber crimes such as bullying, abusing, pornography etc which are happening each day against women. These crimes have several punishments under the Information Technology Act, 2000 which ranges from imprisonment upto 3yr to L.I. and fine.
The evil practice of taking dowry in marriage is still common in the rural areas of India which if opposed results to deaths of women gradually. The number of such deaths has increased in the recent years.
However sale of acids without proper information have been banned by the government of India, Acid attacks are still in trend to threaten women and hurt them. Sec 326A and 326B of IPC states that whoever voluntarily throws acid for grievous hurt or an assault shall be punished with imprisonment upto 7yrs to L.I. and fine.
Stalking is a new crime in trend against women. Stalking means breaching the privacy of women by following or regular contacts or monitoring on internet or any other electronic communication. Whoever does so shall be punished with imprisonment upto 3yrs to 5yrs and fine.
Assault to outrage modesty
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force intending to outrage her modesty (1yr-5yrs imprisonment) or disrobing her or compelling her to be naked (3yrs-7yrs imprisonment) are liable under Sec 354 and Sec 354B respectively.
The concept of women trafficking started in the late 20th century in India and is still in existence. Sec 370 describes various modes of trafficking which includes trafficking of minor girls, trafficking for the purpose of exploitation etc. Sec 372 and 373 states the buying and selling minor for the purposes of prostitution. The imprisonment term varies in each offence and ranges from 3yrs to L.I. and also fine.
Note–Sections 326A, 326B, 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D, 370, 370A, 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D and 509 have been amended and inserted by The Criminal Law(Amendment) Act, 2013.
These were several offences and their punishments under Indian Penal Code related to women. The government of India have made efforts in favor of women by bringing several act like Sexual harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013 ; Protection of children against sexual offences Act, 2013 etc recently. It has also amended the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The government is keen to bring laws for Dowry related offences and for Honor Killing. Cyber crimes would be tackled sooner or later. In the recent years due to changes in society, women are now, ready to fight for themselves and they are getting a huge support. We wish to change our society but first we have to change our thinking.