Overview About Sexual Offences:
As per the Indian penal code, 1860 (IPC), Sections 375 to 377 deal with the offense called rape.
Section 375: Section 375 of IPC defines what is rape and also explains the punishment for the same. Rape is originated from a Latin word known as RAPIO which means TO SEIZE. In literal meaning, the term Rape means Forceful seizure. The definition of rape is derived from a case which is the ravishment of a woman against her will or without her consent or with her consent obtained by force, fear or fraud, or the carnal knowledge of a woman by force against her will1.
As per Section 375, a man is said to commit rape, if he:
- When a man penetrates his penis to any extent into the vagina, or mouth, or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or with any other person.
- Inserts any object into any body part of the woman the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person.
- Manipulates any of the body parts of women, which causes penetration into the anus, vagina, or any other body part of the women forcefully.
- Man applying a mouth to a women’s vagina, anus, urethra of women or forces her to the same with any other person.
Various Situations Covered Under
Lawmakers have discussed detailed circumstances which fall under the ambit of the term rape. 2
- Opposed to her will:
When a victim is subjected to rape, it can be concluded that there is no free consent given by the women. It can be said that this act is committed even when the victim forcefully opposed and despite her continuous resistance, she was subjected to rape. This was proved in the case State of Maharashtra vs M.N.Mardikar. In this case, it was held that the moment when a woman opposes the sexual activity it would be termed as Rape.
- Where consent is absent:
This Section requires consent, which is voluntary, and willingness to accept any kind of passive submission during sexual intercourse. When consent is given by women, it must be proved either by gestures given or by her verbal communication.
- Invalid consent:
As stated above in the 3rd and 4th points, this talks about invalid consent. It states that even though the consent is given that consent is termed as invalid as per law. Consent was given under pressure, or under misconception is termed to be invalid consent.
- Who all are eligible to give consent:
In the above-stated 5th,6th and 7th points it is stated that who all are eligible to give their consent and who all are not. It stated that a person who gives consent under intoxication or if the person is unsound mind, then this consent wouldn’t be termed as valid as per law. Some people aren’t able to communicate their consent, and if at this time sexual intercourse occurs, that amounts to rape. Consent given by a minor wouldn’t also be termed as valid. This was held in the case Tulsidas vs the State of Goa, the court, in this case, decided that the accused had repeated sexual intercourse with a mentally challenged woman and he was held guilty.
- Circumstances not amounting to rape:
Some of the consents given wouldn’t fall under the purview of Section 375 and it becomes consensual sexual intercourse. In some other cases, the victim might be the wife of the accused person. These cases don’t amount to rape.
Other Sexual Violence Laws Which Are Covered Under IPC:
Assaulting A Women:
Section 354 of IPC criminalizes any such acts which amount to the use of battery or criminal force against women to destroy their modesty. Such acts committed are punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to 2years or may include a fine too. Sexual assault can be in any form which includes, visual, verbal, or any other form that forces a person to do unwanted sexual attention or contact. Recently there was an incident that happened in Delhi. A 33year old man was arrested in Delhi for sexually assaulting a 12year girl. A case was registered under POCSO. The accused person entered the minor girl’s house, she was sexually assaulted when she was left alone in her room.
Under Section 354A of IPC a man committing any of the following acts would constitute sexual harassment:
- Unwanted sexual contacts, and advances involving explicit actions.
- Demanding sexual favors.
- Showing pornography content against women will.
- Making sexual remarks.
This Section also includes any unwanted verbal or gestures which might lead to sexual harassment of any kind. The punishment for this is of two types: one is simple imprisonment which may extend to one 1year along with a fine, or the court may even award rigorous punishment which may extend to 3years along with a fine.
In the case, Vishaka vs the State of Rajasthan, this case has been held as a landmark case which deals with sexual harassment in the workplace. A lower caste social worker was raped by 5 men during her work time. The main issue raised was do employer has any responsibility in such cases? SC held that as per article 14,15,19 and 21 of the Indian constitution would be violated if any women are sexually harassed in her workplace.
Intention To Disrobe:
Section 354B of IPC penalizes any kind of assault or criminal force which creates an intention to disrobe a woman and her modesty. This includes an intention of forcing a woman to be naked or deprive her of her clothes. For causing such an act, a minimum amount of imprisonment is of 3years and the maximum amount of imprisonment is of 7years, which may even include a fine.
This is explained in Section 354C, this term defines an act done by a man where he indulges himself in watching or capturing an image of a woman while she is engaged in a private act. No woman would expect to be observed while she is being engaged in such acts. Punishment includes, if the accused is convicted for the first time, then he would be awarded imprisonment of 1year which might extend up to 3year. If the same accused person is convicted for the second or more time, he would be imprisoned for a term of a minimum of 3years which might even extend to 7years.
Section 354D prohibits stalking of a woman by men. This includes continuous contacting or following of a woman by a man, this also includes when a man continuously tries to contact a woman even though when she clearly denies making any contact with him. Also, many of them reported that they are even being stalked via social media. Punishment for the first time a convicted person is imprisonment up to 3years, and if a person is convicted more than once, then the imprisonment would extent to 5years. Recently India has reported a stalking case every 55 minutes.
Section 370 of IPC defines human trafficking. It is defined as an act that involves transporting people illegally without their consent. Human is exported to make them work as labor or forcefully indulge them in prostitution. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, a total of 5264 cases were reported in India in the year 2018. out of the 48% of them were below 18years of age. The punishment awarded for this crime is a minimum of 7years imprisonment which may even extend to 10 years.