Legal Consequences of Eve Teasing in India under IPC
This article explains the legal ramifications of teasing in India from the perspective of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Various provisions of the IPC have been applied along with the legal precedents.
An American abolitionist once said: “The whole story confirms that man has subjected women to his will, used them as a means to enhance his satisfaction, nurture his sexual pleasures and contribute significantly to the advancement of his well-being. but he never wanted her to be raised to the rank for which she was made. “[i]
Eve teasing can be understood that way Sexual harassment of women in public places such as streets, public transportation, workplaces, etc. A naughty look, a sly whistle, a well-timed clap, a legitimate bump, a seemingly casual touch, the hum of a suggestive song, and an unwanted phone call are some of the common ways to tease . [ii] A woman falls victim to such obscene behavior from men on a daily basis. Studies show that faced with such a situation, most women remain silent and unaware of their remedies. According to social norms, women should be submissive, passive and obedient. Retribution is not her characteristic, and when she dares to take revenge the effect is daunting.
Meaning of Eve Teasing
Eve Teasing is one of the forms of gender crimes against women. It is one of the methods of enjoyment by men who regard women as mere objects. What makes teasing more insidious than any other form of violence is that it is often viewed as a harmless crime. But that remains the truth sexual harassment of women by men in India is ubiquitous. This practice is apparently so routine that it has a special name: “Teasing Eve”.[iii]
It is believed that Eve was the first woman God made on earth. All women are therefore commonly referred to as eve.
The literal meaning of teasing is to make fun of a person in a playful, rude, or annoying manner.
Sociologist Pratikha Bakshicalls teases a euphemistic phrase that lives in post-colonial India and mainly refers to sexual harassment of women in India public placesand thus depict women as the evening before, seductresses who provoke men to a sexual thrill. She goes on to say that the way in which sexual harassment is perceived among the population belittles the phenomenon as a joke where women both tease and deserve to be teased. [iv]
Supreme Court in Vishakha versus State of Rajasthan [v] describes acts that constitute sexual harassment.
1. When there is directly or indirectly undesirable sexually determined behavior.
2. Any kind of physical contact or advancement,
3. Any request or request for sexual favors
4. Sexually colored comments,
5. Any other type of physical, verbal, or non-verbal behavior that is sexual will result in sexual harassment.
Laws That Deal With Eve Teasing
IPC does not define Eve-Teasing as such. But the code has the meanings of teasing in several sections.
Section 294 IPC [vi]
The section punishes certain profanities in public places, ie whoever sings, recites, speaks obscene songs, ballads or words to the annoyance of others is made a criminal offense.
Punishment – Three months in prison or a fine or both.
It is up to the prosecution to prove that the accused committed an obscene act or recited or uttered obscene songs, ballads and words, and that this happened in or near a public place. It is often difficult to prove these facts in court.
Section 354 IPC [vii]
This section prescribes punishment for those accused acts that not only offend or outrage a woman’s modesty, but also cause physical harm or threaten her.
The offense is not punishable recognizable and not composable.
punishment– One to five years imprisonment and a fine.
Section 509 IPC [viii]
This section punishes any act intended to upset and offend a woman’s modesty.
- Anyone who invades a woman’s privacy through words, gestures, noises or any object AND
- Is it a punishable offense to act with the intention that such a word or sound may be heard or seen by some women?
The prosecution must prove that the accused uttered words or made such a gesture that invaded her privacy. It is very difficult to find out. Complaints are filed, files have been forgotten for years and those involved move freely and with impunity.
Section 509IPC is a recognizable and punishable act. The punishment is a simple three-year imprisonment, or a fine, or both.
India witnessed national outrage following the Nirbhaya incident in December 2012. Justice Verma Following this outrage, a committee was formed to strongly discourage crimes against women.
Under the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013, stalking and voyeurism became a criminal offense if repeated a second time.
Section 354A [ix]
- Any man who shows pornography to a woman against her will,
- Makes sexually tinged remarks,
- Demands or requests for sexual favors, etc. He is said to have committed the offense of sexual harassment.
Punishment- Maximum of 3 years or a fine or both
In the case of a sexually tinted remark, the penalty is 1 year imprisonment or a fine or both. The offense is punishable.
Section 354B IPC – Undressing [x]
If a man uses criminal violence against a woman, either to strip her or to force her to be naked, he will be punished.
Punishment- Three to seven years imprisonment and a fine. It is a criminal offense.
Section 354C – Voyeurism [xi]
- Any man who watches or captures a woman’s picture
- Anyone who is either intimate or undressing, sexually active or classified as private will be held liable under this act.
First conviction – The punishment can range from a minimum of one year to three years and a fine.
Later conviction – The punishment ranges from a minimum of three years’ imprisonment, which can last up to seven years, and a fine, which is not a criminal offense.
Section 354D – Stalking [xii]
- Any man who follows a woman and tries to contact her or
- repeatedly monitors their use of the Internet, e-mail, or electronic communications
- Despite a clear indication of disinterest, she commits the offense of stalking.
First conviction – Up to 3 years + fine, criminal act
Subsequent conviction – Up to 5 years + fine, criminal offense
That being said, it is always advisable for women to call 100 (which is the police control room) or 1091 (which is the helpline number for women) at the time of the incident.
give a complaint
The victim or the complainant should immediately go to the nearest police station to register an FIR.
The once registered FIR has to be numbered and should take the registration number or the receipt for it.
It is also important to note that no police station can refuse to register FIR on the basis of jurisdiction issues. According to the Verma Committee report that led to the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment Act, the provision was zero FIR[xiii] came up, which requires that FIR must be filed in each police station and that this can later be transferred to the corresponding police station.
The prompt filing of FIR is vital to the efficient investigation and rapid apprehension of the accused.
The effects of teasing are severe. The offense initially begins as an attempt to attract a girl’s attention, so it appears harmless. However, it can later lead to kidnapping, kidnapping, rape, and murder. Evil must therefore be nipped in the bud. Eve Teasing is a traumatic experience that can leave deep psychological scars on the victims’ women. It also leaves negative consequences for the entire community. There is no specific legislation as such that deals with teasing. In the absence of a law, the previous evening’s offense was usually dealt with in Sections 294IPC and 509 IPC. The 2013 Criminal Law Amendment Act recognizes crimes such as stalking, undressing, voyeurism, etc., thus expanding the scope for punishment for teasing.
Dr. Samuel Johnson says that nature has given women so much power that the law has given them very little.[xiv] Our laws have so far failed to contain the threat. Eve Teasing laws in India require an overwhelming antidote. Stricter punishment, better enforcement mechanisms, gender awareness and public education could be some of the effective ways to contain the evil.