The Changing Rights of Women With Jurisprudencital Point

Offences Relating to Women


Introduction:

In the present time the violence and crime against women are increasing and is witness by everyone in some or the other way. There are legal provisions which punish the culprit who commit crime against women.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides provisions for different crimes like murder, robbery, theft etc. but there are certain crimes which are characterized against women and known as “OFFENCES RELATING TO WOMEN”. With the need of the hour, many new socio-economic offences have been enacted accompanied by various amendments in the existing laws with an objective to combat these crimes effectually.

Crimes against women mentioned under Indian Penal Code, 1860

  • Dowry Death (Section 304B)
  • Cruelty (Section 498A)
  • Sexual Harassment (Section 354A)
  • Outraging the modesty of women (Section 354)
  • Acid Attack (Section 326Aand 326B)
  • Rape (Section 375, 376)

Dowry Death:

Marriages are meant to be forever but the family members but in the present time the marriages are breaking because of the want of Dowry by the groom’s family members. The brides are beaten, tortured, humiliated, forced to commit suicide and even burnt alive because her parents are not able to meet the dowry demands of her in-laws. The law-makers have considered the problem and have made laws to protect the bride and her family. Section 304B of Indian Penal Code deals with the provisions of Dowry Death. Clause (1) of sec 304B defines ‘dowry death’ and clause (2) prescribes the ‘punishment’ for the offence.

According to clause (1) the death of a woman be term dowry death when it is cause:

  • by burns, bodily injury, or occurs otherwise than in ordinary circumstances; and
  • As a result of cruelty, or harassment caused by her husband or her husband’s relatives, or in connection with any demand for dowry.

Clause (2) prescribes a minimum punishment of 7 years of imprisonment which may extend up to life imprisonment.

Cruelty on woman by husband or relatives- Section 498A of IPC:

The word cruelty means both physical and mental torture. It consist of nay willful conduct likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause danger to her life, limb or health or any other person by making an unlawful demand for dowry such as property or any goods.

In the case of Satbir Singh vs. State of Haryana[1] it was mentioned that the prosecution is able to establish the ingredients of sec 304B IPC the burden of proof of innocence shifts on defence. The provisions under sec 304B are more stringent than that provided under section 498 IPC. The offence is cognizable, non-bailable and triable by a court of sessions.

In the case of Rajbir Raju vs. State of Haryana[2] it is mentioned that Dowry Death case are to be charged both u/s 302 and 304B under the existing provision, Dowry Death cases are registered order from the Apex court, a person convicted of dowry death would be charged under section 302 along with section 304B so he can either be granted life imprisonment or death sentence.

Sexual Harassment:

Section 354A IPC mentions the provisions of offence of Sexual Harassment. Aman is to commit sexual harassment in any of the following acts:

  • physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures;
  • a demand or request for sexual favours;
  • showing pornography against the will of the women;
  • making sexually coloured remarks;

Shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.

A man committing anything mention above shall be punish with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or both.

In 2013, the Sexual harassment of Women at workplace was enact to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints regarding the matter of sexual harassment or any such incident thereto.

Outrage the modesty of a woman:

Section354 of IPC deals with the provisions of outrage the modesty of a woman. It aims to protect the women from any sort of incident where a behavior by a man is in a way to derogatory to her modesty.

The accused shall be punish with an imprisonment with not less than a year which may extend up to five years with fine. According to Supreme court, Modesty is an attribute associated with female human beings as a class. Modesty is said to be outraged by such an act of offender which shocks and recognizes as an insult to female decency and dignity.

Essential Ingredients are as follows;

  • The person who has been victim of the assault should be a woman.
  • The accused must have used criminal force on her.
  • An intention to outrage the modesty of a woman must be there.

In the case of Raju Pandurang Mahale vs. State of Maharashtra[3]. The accused brought the victim to the house of co-accused on a false pretext. They confine her in the house and brought liquor which she was force to drink. The victim then disrobe and her nude photographs taken to which Supreme Court passed a judgment in which the accuse guilty under section 354, IPC as their acts were affront on the normal sense of femanine decency.

Rape:

Section 375 IPC1860 mentions the provisions of rape. A man is to commit rape if he-

  • Penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina , mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to 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, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to so with him or any other person; or
  • Manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any other part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
  • Applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person,

Under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:

  • Against her will
  • Without her consent
  • Her consent, when her consent has obtain by putting her or any person in whom she is interest, in fear of death or hurt.
  • With her consent, when the man knows he is not her husband and the consent is given because she believes that he is man to whom she is or believes her to be lawfully married.
  • 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 stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and the consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  • With or without her consent, when she is under 18 years of age.
  • When she is unable to communicate consent.

Sec376 provides the punishment for the heinous offence and is divide into two sections which are as follows:

  • Sec 376(1) provides aminimum sentence seven years of imprisonment that may extend to life imprisonment and fine.
  • Sec 376(2) provides punishment not less than ten years of imprisonment but may extend to life imprisonment.

In the case of Priya Patel vs. State of MP[4] the prosecutrix was returning home after her sports meet and the husband of appellant met her at the railway station and told her that her father has sent him to pick her. He took her to his house and raped. During the commission of rape, appellant entered the room and prosecutrix asked for her. Instead of saving her she slapped her and closed the door and left the place of the incident.

The accused husband was charge u/s 376, IPC whereas the appellant wife was charge under the commission of offence punishable u/s 376(2)(g), IPC. The appellant wife challenged the legality of the charge framed against her under section 376(2)(g). On the ground that since a woman cannot commit rape and so cannot be convicted for commission of ‘gang rape’. The court held that a woman cannot said to have an intention to commit rape. Therefore, the appellant cannot be prosecute for alleged commission of an offence punishable u/s 376(2)(g).

Conclusion:

Notwithstanding anything in the law to protect the women and safeguard them the crime rate against women in the country is increasing day by day and its just not only one crime against women specifically there are many like acid attack, rape, domestic violence, voyeurism etc.

Considering the present the scenario it is require to make more stringent and strict laws to curb. The ugly scenario of our country to create fear in the minds of the people committing this heinous crime.


References

[1]Satbir Singh vs. State of Haryana , AIR 2005 SC 536

[2]Rajbir Raju vs. State of  Haryana, AIR 2011 SC 568

[3]Raju Pandurang Mahale vs. State of  Maharashtra, 2004(2) SCR 287

[4]Priya Patel vs. State of MP, 2006(6) SCC 263


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