ये दाग जो लहू के, आँचल पर पड़े थे,
इस ढेर में बेजान से, अरमान पड़े थे,
वो हूबहू इंसान से, पर इंसान ना थे,
वासना की कामना धर, हैवान खड़े थे…
Right from the time of her birth or even before a girl could become the victim of a crime or a target of a crime.
Foeticide and infanticide:- Where there is an economic or cultural preference for sons, the pregnancy diagnostic tools can lead to female foeticide.
School going age:- Many girls are not given the access to and completion of proper primary and secondary education as compared to boys and otherwise may also suffer from discrimination at the hands of parents and teachers in their upbringing.
Adlosence:-Many adolescent girls become victims of sexual abuse both on the internet and otherwise, exploitation and violence, acid attacks, rape, early marriage, or even HIV/AIDS.
Marriage:- Many women are tortured physically, economically and emotionally after their marriage by their husband and inlaws.
Motherhood:-Women are sometimes not provided proper medical care and healthy food during and after their pregnancy. She is often compelled to abort a female foetus.
Workplace:- Women suffer from exploitation, unequal pay for equal work, lack of promotions despite merit and physical, economic and emotional abuse
In all these stages woman quietly suffers or even if raises her voice it is silenced or suppressed… she neither knows she has the rights to fight these crimes and what remedies are available in law to protect herself. It is time women rise to protect themselves.
The Indian Penal Code, 1860, lays down the provisions to penalise the culprit for the heinous offences against women. Various sections under IPC specifically deals with such crimes
Causing a miscarriage of injuries to unborn children, exposure to infants, and the concealment of births.
Miscarriage includes offences both against the women and the child. Section 312: Causing Mis-carriage
Whoever causes a miscarriage to a woman, not in good faith, to save the life of the woman, is said to commit the offence.
The miscarriage was not done in good faith.
The women did not give consent to the miscarriage.
Section 313: Causing Mis-Carriage without Women Consent:- Whoever commits the aforesaid offence, without the consent of the woman, is punished.
Section 314: Death caused by act done with Intent to cause Mis-carriage:- Anybody who acts in a way with an intent to causes miscarriage to the woman, and such an act causes the death of the woman, is punished.
Section 304 B: Dowry Death:-A dowry may be in cash or kind which the bride’s family gives to the bridegroom on conditions of marriage. It had a great financial burden on the bride’s family. The section reads out that when a woman dies within seven years of her married life and it is proven that she was subject to cruelty and harassment by her husband or any of his relatives for dowry, then they are deemed to be the causators of her death.
The woman should have died within seven years of her marriage.
Bodily injury should be present.
Cruelty and harassment should be established.
Such cruelty or harassment should be done in connection with the demand for dowry.
Kuldip Singh and Anr. Vs. State of Punjab:
It was decided that all ingredients must be satisfied and harassment and cruelty are to be proved, happening soon before death. When the death of a woman is caused by bodily injury or burns within seven years of her marriage caused by her husband or any relatives of her husband with demand for dowry, such death is known as Dowry Death and shall be punished with imprisonment for a minimum period of seven years which may extend to life imprisonment.
Section 354: Assault or Criminal Force to Women: Whoever uses criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman or knows that such an act if done, will outrage the women’s modesty, is said to have committed an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment not less than five years.
The assault must be on a woman.
He must have used criminal force against her.
Criminal force must be used to outrage the modesty of a woman.
Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, AIR 1996
The petitioner was an IAS officer who was called to the IG office, the accused. The accused patted the complainants back. IG was accused under Sec 354 for such an offence.
In-State of Punjab vs. Major Singh, it was held that the accused was liable for outraging the modesty of the child under Section 354, IPC. The court stated that the essence of a woman’s modesty is her sex. Young or old, intelligent or imbecile, awake, or sleeping; women possess a modesty capable of being outraged. Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman (Section 509)
When a person to insult the modesty of a woman by intruding upon the privacy of a woman; or by making any gesture or sound, saying any word or showing any object, it comes under Section 509 of IPC. The person who commits such offence shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a maximum period of three years with fine.
Section 354 A: Sexual Harassment and Punishment for Sexual Harassment:- Any person who does any of the following is said to have committed an offence:
Asks for sexual overtures;
Demands for sexual flavours;
Revenge pornography; and
Makes sexually coloured remarks.
Section 354 B: Assault and use of Criminal force to Women too with intent to Disrobe:- Any person, who uses criminal force on a woman or abets her to be naked or disrobes her, commits an offence.
The accused must be a man.
The intention of the man must be to disrobe a woman with the use of criminal force.
Section 354 C: Voyeurism:-Voyeurism is a sense of satisfaction derived from watching a woman engaged in her sexual activities without her consent. It includes two types of offences.
Watching or capturing a woman engaged in her private activities.
Publicizing the image.
The accused must watch or capture the image of women.
The woman captured must be engaged in her private act.
She must have not wished or consented to be observed by anybody.
The wrongdoer disseminates the image.
Section 354 D: Stalking:- It might be committed physically and through electronic media. It might be contacting or attempting to contact a woman repeatedly despite her disinterest.
The accused must be a man.
The accused should try to contact or contact the woman.
The accused might try to contact the woman through electronic sources too.
The contact must be done without the interest of the woman.
Section 375: Rape
It is carnal penetration of a man’s reproductive organ into a woman by fraud or force, against her will and consent. It violated the right to privacy and right to dignity of a woman.
MENS REA: The element of mens rea must be present. The sexual intercourse must satisfy the seven ingredients under Section 375.
ACTUS REA: There must be sexual intercourse in accordance with the element of mens rea.
Mukesh & Anr vs State For NCT Of Delhi & Ors:
Nirbhaya, a paramedical student and her friend were returning home after watching a movie at PVR, select City Mall Saket. They were forced to get in an empty bus and were assaulted by 6 males including a minor. Nirbhaya was not only sexually violated, but her body was mutilated, pulling out of her intestine causing internal bleeding, her private parts were destroyed. She later died due to cardiac arrest and multiple organ failure.
As a result of this, there were protests and demonstrations in India. Her case changed the laws, recognized women’s rights. The criminal amendment of 2013 was born. The amendment paved the way for all sorts of exploitations of the women to be redressed. The Supreme Court gave the death penalty to 4 men among the six, one committed suicide and the other was given a period of 3 years in a reformatory.
Tuka Ram And Anr vs State Of Maharashtra:
Mathura was a woman between the age of 14- 16. She was a domestic helper who worked with one Ms Nushi. She wanted to marry her nephew which was not accepted by Mathura’s brother. He complained in the local police station that his nephew (Ashok) kidnapped Mathura. The family members of both Mathura and Ashok were asked to leave and Mathura was raped by 2 policemen. It was held by the sessions court that it did not amount to rape and contented that she was used to sexual intercourse and mere sexual intercourse cannot amount t rape. Later the Supreme Court in September contended that Mathura raised no alarm and there were no visible marks on her body. It added that Mathura might have been used to sex and she might have appeased the cops to have sexual intercourse with her. After such a pronouncement, many open letters ran to the Supreme Court written by professors, various committees were formed by the citizens against the judgement of the Supreme Court, protests happened in various parts of the country as a result of which it welcomed an amendment in the Indian Penal Code.
“They all are innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I’m a liar until I’m proven honest”- Louise O’ Neill
Sometimes, rape is said to be committed even if the woman has given consent in various situations like:-
When her consent is obtained by forcing her or the person whom she is concerned about, in the fear of death or hurt.
When she is below the age of eighteen years old.
When she gives consent believing another man as his husband.
When the woman is of unsound mind or intoxicated during giving consent.
Rape is a heinous crime against women which not only affects the women physically but also mentally. Rape is not only an unlawful invasion of the right of privacy and sanctity of a woman but also a serious blow to her honour. It leaves a traumatic and humiliating impression on her conscience, offending her self-esteem and dignity, rape as not only a crime against the person of a woman but a crime against the entire society. It leaves an everlasting scar on the most cherished possession of a woman i.e. her dignity, honour, reputation, and not the least her chastity. It destroys the entire psychology of a woman and pushes her into a deep emotional crisis.
The Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment for rape under two sub-sections.
Section 376(1) provides a minimum sentence of seven years of rigorous imprisonment which may extend to life imprisonment and also fine.
Section 376(2) provides punishment for not less than ten years which may extend to either life imprisonment, or fine, or even the death penalty.
In Ram Kripal vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, the victim had gone to the field to collect grass. On her way back, the accused obstructed and proposed for sexual intercourse. On her refusal, the accused forcibly committed sexual intercourse. It was held that in this case of offence of rape, penetration of male organ in the female organ is a sine qua non which was satisfied in this case, and hence conviction of accused for the offence of rape was proper.
The Criminal Law Amendment was brought in.
It said; if the victim says she did not give consent to the sexual intercourse there will be no rebuttal.
It made provisions like Sec 376A, 376B, 376C, and 376D.
Made custodial rape punishable.
Once intercourse was proved the burden of proof shifted from the accuser to the accused.
Prohibition on the disclosure of the victim’s identity.
Section 509: Word, Gesture or Act intended to Insult Modesty of Women:- A person who intends to insult the modesty of a woman, not physically but through gestures, actions, by uttering any word, intruding the privacy of the woman is said to have committed an offence under Section 509.
The intention of the man must be to outrage the modesty of a woman.
It must be done by intruding upon her privacy by sound, uttering words, gestures etc.
Section 494: Remarriage:- Whoever, either husband or wife remarries, such marriage is void and the wrongdoer is punished.
Section 498: Enticing or Taking Away or Detain a Married Women:- Whosoever detains or conceals with the intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any man, knowing her to be the wife of any other man or any other person who is with her on behalf of her husband, is said to have committed an offence.
The woman must be enticed away by any man from another man ( her husband) or from any man who is with her on behalf of her husband.
The man had the knowledge to believe that she is with other man or wife of another man.
Enticing her with an intention to have illicit intercourse with any other man.
Section 498 A- Dowry Death:- Husband or any relative of her husband commits any cruelty to the woman (wife of the man), commits an offence. Cruelty is defined under the Explanation of Section 498A.
In Russel vs. Russel, it was defined cruelty as the conduct of such a character as to have caused danger to life, limb, or health, bodily or mental, or a reasonable apprehension of it. Cruelty implies and means harsh conduct and of such intensity and persistence which would make it impossible for the spouse to operate the marriage and to live with agony, torture, or distress or that the mental or physical health of any of the parties. Cruelty means “reasonable apprehension” that it will be harmful or injurious for the spouse to live with the other.
Section 299: Culpable Homicide:- Whoever causes death to another, with an intention and does an act knowing that it might cause the death of the intended person or any bodily injury, is said to have committed culpable homicide and is punished.
There must be a presence of Mens Rea.
Actus Reus must be present.
There must be sufficient knowledge. Knowledge is different from intention. A person knowing that his act will kill a person and knowingly doing that act.
Section 300: Murder:- Whoever does any act with an intention to if the death is caused with an intention to causing death, and if the bodily injury caused is sufficient in causing the death of a person, it is said to be murder and as per Section 302, the offender is punished with life imprisonment for life and is liable to pay fine.
There must be Mens Rea.
There must be Actus Rea.
The intent and the act must be done simultaneously.
The act and intent must work together.
The act must cause the harm intended.
Section 326A: Voluntarily Causing Grievous Hurt by use of Acid:- Anybody who disfigures anybody causing grievous hurt with acid, or any other means, with an intention of causing grievous hurt is punished.
Section 326B Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw Acid:- Anybody who attempts to throw acid, or by any other means, causing the deformity or knowing that such an act might cause deformity is said to have committed an offence and been punished.
Section 361: Kidnapping from Lawful Guardianship: Taking away a minor girl below 18 years, a girl of unsound mind, forcibly without her or her guardian’s consent is considered to be an offence.
The person must be kidnapped.
The accused had reasonable foreseeability to know that the victim by him or by any of his act kidnapped.
The accused had knowledge of the kidnap, actively conceals the person kidnapped.
Section 366: Kidnapping, Abducting or Inducing a Women:- Anybody who kidnaps and abducts a woman and compels her to marry against her will or forces her to have intercourse, or kidnaps knowing that she will be forced to get married, or have intercourse with anybody, both against her will is said to have committed an offence.
Section 366A: Procuration of Minor Girl:- Whoever induces any minor girl to go to a place and do any work, knowing that it might force her to do illicit intercourse any other person, shall be punished.
Section 366B: Importation of Girl from Foreign Country:-Whoever imports any girl in India or outside India, any girl below 21 years, knowing that such importation shall force her to have illicit intercourse commits an offence.
Section 372: Selling Minor for Purpose of Prostitution:-Whoever sells, employs, hires, let to hire, any woman below 18 years of age, knowing that she might be used for prostitution or for any illicit purposes, said to have committed an offence.
The above discussed are all the offences against women framed in the Indian Penal Code. There are also special laws framed to protect the women from the sinful activities of the society. The below mentioned are some of the special laws framed for protecting women and recognizing their rights:
Protection of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
Special Marriage Act of 1954.
Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961.
Indian Divorce Act of 1969.
Maternity Benefit Act of 1861.
The Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
A woman crosses all stages of her life through the intemperate, hot-headed society. From pre-birth, birth, childhood, adolescent, adulthood, till her death. There are women who suffer ill-treatment in their own homes where it is considered to be a place of the natural reserve. Offences against women are still alive in our society. It implies that only laws are not responsible to regulate and control the augmentation of the crimes against women in our society. The suppression of evil eyes on women and inculcation of social ethics, morals and values, respect and honor in every human being towards women is the need of the hour and is a supplement factor that can equally contribute in reducing the number of crimes against women. However, there is an exigency of more strict and stringent laws so that any person intending to commit such crimes couldn’t screw up the courage to act in furtherance of his intention.