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TBI Blogs: From Eve Teasing to Stalking, There Are Laws to Counter Any Form of Sexual Harassment in India
by LawRatoJanuary 19, 2017, 3:42 pm
Eve teasing and molestation are problems that women all over the world, especially in India, grapple with everyday. Often, many women are unaware of the laws and regulations that give them protection against such acts. Here are some of the key legal sections dealing with sexual offences against women that all women must know about.
On 1st January 2017, the nation was shocked at the event that took place at the third safest city in India, Bangalore. The girls on the street were touched and grabbed, groped, catcalled, and abused without any hesitation and reluctance. Despite as many as 1,500 policemen being present on the streets, they were not able to avoid an incident of this nature. This shameful display of sexual violence took place when women were leaving the pubs after celebrating on New Year’s Eve, where they ran into drunken hooligans who allegedly tried to molest them.
It is true that it is not the first time an incident of this nature has happened in a city. But for the first time ever, a molestation of this nature has happened at such a large scale. From time immemorial, we have only tried to hide this ghastly and sickening mentality by brushing such crimes under the carpet and blaming the victims, thereby normalizing the existence of “rape culture”.
It is sad to see that despite there being CCTV footage, countless eyewitnesses, and newspaper and news channel coverage on the subject, the police is still unable to help the 756 cases reported in one night. Significantly, the police themselves took suo moto action against the molestation that took place in a deserted lane in Kammanahalli.
One of the witnesses to the night shared her despair, stating, “They grabbed women’s hair and pulled at their clothes. I saw a woman weeping. She was bleeding and had scratches. It was very scary. Even after years of protesting and fighting for women’s safety, this was a stark reminder that India hasn’t learnt its lesson still.”
However, there are legal options against eve-teasing which women should be informed about.
First, remember the offence is not one where an out-of-court settlement can take place. Being a cognizable offence, the police has the authority to arrest the accused without a warrant, and start an investigation with or without the permission of a court.
Always remember the police has to register an FIR in all situations. A lot of times, it has happened that the police refuses to register a case, specially in a case of molestation. In such a case, you can file a private complaint before the Magistrate under Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, along with a Section 156(3) application.
A case of molestation needs to be registered where the ‘cause of action’ has taken place. As per section 468 (2)(c) of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, you have a limitation of three years, i.e. you can file an FIR within three years of the event occurring.
Here are some sections of the Criminal Procedure Code one should always keep in mind that will help and aid in getting justice:
Section 294: This section gives protection to a girl from men who annoy her by committing any act of obscenity in public. This section also gives protection to women from men who pass cheap comments or sing obscene songs to bother her. This offence is a bailable one, but the punishment is for a maximum period of three months.Section 354: This section deals with the offence popularly known as molestation. Section 354 applies when the acts of the accused go beyond causing insult or annoyance to the modesty of a woman, and there is a clear threat of physical harm to her, which also shocks the sense of modesty. It is a non-bailable offence, and the term for imprisonment extends from 1-5 years. So if a man tries to touch or grope a woman, he can be charged under this section.Source: By U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSection 354 A: This section gives you protection from sexual harassment. If a man tries to make physical contact, or a request for sexual favors, or makes a sexually coloured remark, or shows you pornography, then he has committed the offence of sexual harassment. A person cannot try to solve the issue out-of-court and can be punished with imprisonment up to three years.Section 354 B: Section 354 B can be applied if any man assaults or uses criminal force against any woman, or abets her in such a manner that his intention is of disrobing or compelling her to be naked. If any person forces a woman to strip naked, #eveteasing#eveteasing