The fear of being stalked, that fright of getting groped in pubic, and those disgusting comments by random people – it’s not easy to be a woman in India. One has a lot of obnoxious experiences, and these could be at a park, during a walk, at the workplace or a movie. There are laws that protect us. How many of us are even aware of the existing laws on Sexual Harassment in India? It’s time we know about our constitutional rights.
Section 354 (IPC) : Under this section, a person who tries to assault or use criminal force against woman intending to outrage her modesty shall be punished. The punishment could vary extending to two years or shall be fined or both.
Section 354D (IPC) : A person shall be prosecuted under this act if he or she is found guilty of following a women or contacting her despite her resistance. It also includes harassing a woman by stalking her on social media or through other electronic medium. The convict will then be imprisoned for upto 3 years or fined. On second conviction, he may be imprisoned for five years and fine.
Section 376 (IPC) : Within this section, anyone who commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment for minimum seven years which may extend to life imprisonment. However, if raped by her husband, the husband will only be imprisoned for minimum 2 years or fined or both.
Section 509 (IPC) : A women can filed a case under this section if any word,gesture or act are made against her intended to insult her modesty. If convicted the individual shall be punished with an imprisonment extending to one year or with fine or both.
Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: Much to the relief of working women, this law was promulgated to protect women from getting sexually harassed at workplace. The act creates a mechanism for women to seek redressal of their complaints. Under this act, a woman can file a complaint against her employee ,in which case action will be taken against them under Section 354 if found guilty.
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (1987) : Though this law does not directly deal with sexual harassment , certain provision in the act are set to protect woman modesty. For instead under this act if a woman is harassed by an individual with books, photographs, paintings, film containing indecent representation of women, they are liable to be punished for minimum of 2 years.
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