Crimes and IPC Sections that every woman must know
Author: Sana Shaikh
Condition of women in India:
The life of a woman in India is not an easy one. It has been tyrannical for centuries. Be it the times when kings and queens ruled or the time when democracy emerged. It is heart-wrenching to see half of the population dragging down half of the population and resultantly both sinking down. A woman has to undergo a number of tests and proofs to prove her innocence. This happens usually in a place where patriarchy has been prevalent since the earth was born.
Evidence of Unethical conduct against Women in India:
A classic example comes from the Khap Panchayat. They have recently banned the western clothing of women. They have even passed controversial decisions in which they have asked women to prove their virginity with the use of white handkerchief immediately after the marriage. This incident brought the Indian community to a boil.
This is the Agnipariksha of modern times. We have historical evidence where distorting a woman’s dignity was considered a symbol of victory and masculinity. When Draupadi was assaulted in the Dyut Sabha amidst her own people, the goosebumps and pain could hardly be controlled. The pain seems comparatively less when an outsider doubts or questions a woman. But the pain is unbearable for ages when her own loved ones put her through this agony. No wonder the war was imminent to set an example before mankind and womankind what can be the result and at the end the innocent wins.
Crimes against women and Subsequent Sections in IPC:
Acid Attack is one of the most heinous crimes committed against women. NCRB data says that523 cases were slated in 2018 as compared to 407 in 2016 and 442 in 2017. While the total number of ‘registered’ cases in a particular year might be on a slight decline but such crimes are heinous no matter the rate of commission. Section 326 (a) in the Indian Penal Code clearly mentions the punishment for acid attacks. The minimum punishment includes imprisonment of 10 years. The punishment is extendable to life imprisonment and a fine.
Rape by Person in Authority
Rape, the biggest fear factor in a girl’s life, is a punishable offense under Section 376. The section addresses and punishes various authorities that may commit this crime.
Section 376(2) (a) says thatif a Police officer commits rape, he is liable for the punishment prescribed. Section 376(2) (b) says thatif a Public servant, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman then he is liable for punishment and imprisonment. Even if he is an official, Indian Law ensures that rule of law is enforced.
Section 376(2)(c) tells that if aperson being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other places of custody or a woman’s/children’s institution misuses his official position and commits rape on an inmate of such jail or a remand home or a place or institution is liable for imprisonment.
Section 376(2)(d) says that if a person being on the management or on the staff of a hospital takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital is liable for punishment under Indian Law. In this way, the protection is getting covered in multiple scenarios.
Section 376(2) (g) says thatWhen a person or group of persons commit gang rape, it shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall more than ten years and which may be for life and also liable to fine. This crime is unforgivable and irreparable even if laws are existing in IPC.
Prostitution is one of the most widely spread plagues in social systems. It has been addressed under Section 373. A Person purchasing a minor under 18 is punished with 18 years of punishment.
Crimes committed by relatives, in-laws, and husband
Crimes committed by relatives and in-laws form a major portion of harassment to women in India. Under Section 498(A), it is said that husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty, 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.
Dowry Death is still prevalent in rural parts of India. Section 304B defines dowry death as punished for more than 7 years and may extend to life imprisonment.
Outraging Woman’s Modesty
Under Section 354, assaults and uses of criminal force onany woman, with the intention to outrage her modesty, will be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or fine or both.
In the case of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment includes situations in which a man commits physical contact or advances with unwelcome gestures or makes a demand or requests for sexual favors by showing pornography against the will of a woman or makes sexually colored remarks. Section 354 mentions that such a man will be guilty of committing a crime called Sexual Harassment.
Disrobing a woman
Any man who assaults or uses criminal force on a woman with the intention to get her disrobed is punished with imprisonment of either a term or more than three years also extendable till 7 years and fine. This crime has been covered under Section 354 (B).
When a man watches or captures the image of the woman is engaged in unshareable situationswith insistence and no consent is liable for imprisonment under Section 354 D.
These are just a few of them to mention. But sincerely speaking, no matter of codes and sections can repair the irreversible damage of the victim in emotional and physical terms. These laws are mere efforts to console the damaged soul. What really should be done in bringing about moral change in the shaping of men and their patriarchal mindset. Maybe parenting the right way can be one of the few answers. But mere law cannot suffice. There are other innumerable harassments happening against women. But the important point is that we should spread awareness about the known ones to the entire woman community in any manner possible.
Legal awareness has become more important in current times. Enactment of law is one part but the consciousness of it is the most vital component of the Indian Judiciary System. Let’s hope for a better future for women. Merely enactment of laws is a hollow commitment if we are not respecting and protecting them on daily basis.