Sexual harassment is a serious offense that violates an individual’s dignity and rights. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) provides comprehensive provisions to address and penalize Sexual harassment.
Types of sexual harassment:
- Verbal harassment – Catcalling , Sexual comments or jokes ,Unwanted sexual advances through words
- Non-verbal harassment – Staring or leering , Displaying explicit visuals or materials , Sending explicit messages
- Physical harassment – Inappropriate touching or groping and Sexual assault
- Section 354A – Section 354A of the IPC deals with Sexual harassment and provides a broad definition of the offense. According to this section, any unwelcome physical contact or advances, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography against the will of a person, or any other such act that is intended to or is likely to violate the modesty of a person, is considered Sexual harassment.
- Section 354B – Section 354B focuses on the offence of assault or use of criminal force on a woman with the intention of Disrobing or Compelling her to be naked. This provision recognizes the severity of such acts and aims to protect the dignity and integrity of women.
- Section 354C – Section 354C addresses the issue of Voyeurism, which involves capturing or recording the image of a woman in a private act without her consent. This provision recognizes the privacy rights of women and ensures legal consequences for those who violate them.
- Section 354D – Section 354D deals with the offence of Stalking, which has become a pervasive problem in today’s digital age. It covers acts such as following, contacting, or attempting to contact a woman despite clear indications of disinterest or explicit refusal. This provision aims to protect women from persistent and unwanted attention, both online and offline.
The IPC recognizes the seriousness of Sexual harassment offenses and imposes stringent punishments for the same. These punishments can range from imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine, to higher penalties for repeat offenders of aggravated offences. The severity of the punishment is determined by the specific provisions of the IPC that have been violated. The provisions related to sexual harassment under the Indian Penal Code are designed to ensure the safety, security, and dignity of individuals. It is crucial for society to understand and respect these provisions, empowering victims to come forward and take legal action against their perpetrators.