File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Comparative Study of Legislations on Crime Against Women in India, The United States and UK

Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.-Kofi Annan (7th Secretary-General of United Nations)

In India, crimes against women are awfully normalized to dangerous levels. We are used to these crimes to the extent of that, our first response or reaction is to blame the victim for not being vigilant enough. Despite the constitutional right to equality since the last 72 years, women still have to fight with all their guts to get what is normally taken for granted by the men. The paper focuses on the general provisions of crimes against women which are recognized under The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and will try to draw a comparative study of the provisions mentioned therein to those mentioned in the codes of the United States and U.K.

Constitutional Provisions
Fundamental Rights guarantee equality before the law and equal protection of law, it also prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a), 39(b), 39(c) and 42 are of specific importance in this regard.

Concept of Crime
Many struggles have been done in clarifying what crime is, but they all failed to determine as to what kinds of acts constitutes a Crime. Perhaps this is because of the dynamic nature of crime at different places. In layman language one could understand it as those acts which are forbidden in a state and whose contravention amounts to penalization.

Theories of Crime
Natural Law Theory;
According to this theory any act which infringes a certain moral or ethical conduct is a crime, and which is in assertion of conduct then that said act cannot be considered as crime. Thus the general consensus is that the basic moral/ethical code is right and its violation is wrong.

Positive Law Theory;
Under this view, crime is a violation of a state which is sovereign. This view of crime as a conduct, officially recommended by sovereign authority, carries the tag of positive law. Hence, crime under positive law consists of those acts which are prohibited by criminal law under threat of punishment.

Elements of Crime
Human being
The first indispensable element of crime is that it must be have been committed by a human being. He/She must be legally bound to act in a specific way and upon the infliction of which appropriate punishment shall be rendered. Generally both the sinner and the innocent are human beings.

Mens Rea
It means guilty mind. One of the key principles of our legal system is to decide punishment establishing upon the mental condition of the human being. In other words, criminal liability depends upon the guilty mind, which is known as mens rea. In India the word mens rea has nowhere been used in I.P.C.

Actus Reus
The phrase Actus Reus infers physical act, which comprises an act or omission as well. To constitute crime, there must exist a commission or omission of an illegal act. Hence the criminal intent, in order to be punishable must be clear in some voluntary act or omission, known as Actus Reus.

Injury means inflicting harm to any person in body, mind, reputation or property. The Injury must cause the harm to aggrieved person or to the society in general or to the public at large. According to section 44 of the I.P.C, the word ‘injury' denotes any harm, or whatever illegally caused to any person, in body, mind, reputation or property.

Crimes mentioned under I.P.C
Section 8 of I.P.C covers the term gender as the pronoun he designates both male and female, unless otherwise mentioned in the specific sense. The Madhya Pradesh H.C in the case of Girdhar Gopal v. State[1], held that the pronoun ‘he used in the section 354 of the Penal Code (he will outrage her modesty) applies to either a man or a woman.

Thus, a man as well as a woman may be held guilty of the offence of assaulting or using criminal force against any woman with the intention or knowledge that woman's modesty will be outraged under section 354 of the Penal Code.

Section 10 of the Penal Code includes the words ‘man', ‘woman'; where the latter includes female human beings of any age, while the former includes the male human beings of any age. In a historic case of National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India[2], S.C. has given recognition to members of Transgender Community, who are neither male nor female, at the time of birth, as ‘Third Gender for the purpose of safeguarding and administering suitably their fundamental and other legal, social and economic rights guaranteed under the Constitution- S.C, 2014.

1. Dowry Death 304B[3]
Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with Dowry Death;
304B (1) of I.P.C., where the death of a woman is due to any kinds of burns or bodily injury or, when the death occurs under normal circumstances within seven years of the marriage and it is concluded that soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband in connection with any demand for dowry, such death may be termed as Dowry Death and the husband or relative shall be held liable for her death.

This section comes along with two explanations which purports that the term ‘Dowry' used in this provision shall have the identical meaning as given under section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; and the punishment of dowry death shall be up to seven years of imprisonment which might extend for life.

Essential of Dowry Death
  1. Death of the woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances;
  2. Death so witnessed should be within 7 years of her marriage;
  3. She must've been a target of cruelty by her husband or his relative;
  4. Cruelty or harassment should have been meted out to the woman soon before her death;
  5. Cruelty or harassment should be in relation with the demand for dowry.
Also, in this connection reference should necessarily be made to section 498-A also subsequently inserted in the I.P.C. which defines Cruelty by the husband or his relatives.

2. Cruelty
Section 498A of I.P.C. purports cruelty as whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with the imprisonment for a term upto to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.

The explanation of this section provides us with the meaning of the word Cruelty which is:
  1. Any deliberate act which is of such a nature which eventually leads the woman to commit suicide, or to cause serious injury or danger to life (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or,
  2. Harassment of the woman with a view of pressuring her or anyone related to her for fulfilling any illegal demand of any of her valuable possessions, is done on account of failure by her or anyone related to her for meeting such demands.
Cruelty includes both physical and mental torture as per the code.

Dowry Death together with Cruelty is punishable under sections 304B and 498A, I.P.C. In V.K. Mishra v. State of Uttarakhand and Rahul Mishra v. State of Uttarakhand[4] the court said that in case of dowry death dealt along with cruelty and harassment mentioned under 304B & 498A, I.P.C., evidence of father of deceased regarding making payment to appellants, accused, cogent and consistent strengthened by bank statements.

Non-mention of details of money paid to appellants, and demand of dowry and cruelty and harassment dispensed out to deceased in statement of father do not affect trustworthiness of father. It cannot be expected from father to recite everything when he himself was in agony due to death of his own daughter. Discharging the appeal, Apex Court held prosecution showed that soon before death. Deceased wife was exposed to cruelty and harassment by appellants, husband and in-laws. Accused failed to deny the presumption raised under section 113B of Evidence Act.

3. Acid Attack
Section 326A and 326B were introduced in the code vide Criminal Law (amendment) Act 13 of 2013 having the objective of making specific provisions for punishment in case of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by the use of acid etc., or throwing or an attempt of throwing acid voluntarily, which may cause permanent or partial damage, or any kind deformity or burns or disfigures or disables any part of the body. In view of the gravity of offence section 326A, I.P.C. provides punishment of not less than 10 years which may extend to imprisonment of life and fine.

Here 326A deals with voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc., while section 326B deals with throwing or attempt of throwing acid on any person voluntariy.

4. Sexual Harassment
Section 354 of I.P.C. provides us with the provision of assault with an intent to outrage a woman's modesty, implying that whoever uses criminal force against any woman, intending to outrage or being fully aware of the fact that the said act will outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment upto a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be held liable to fine.

  1. A woman must be assaulted;
  2. The accused must intend to outrage her modesty.

What constitutes an outrage to female modesty is nowhere defined. This will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and according to the moral, social and legal ethos and traditions of the country and the race to which the woman belongs.

Whether a woman has or has not developed modesty is a question of fact in each case, and there is no abstract conception of modesty that can apply to all cases.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace
It has been laid down by the S.C that it is the employer's obligation or such person who is competent enough in work places or any other organizations or institutes to prohibit and punish the commission of acts relating to sexual harassment and to provide the procedure of an effective redressing mechanism for the same.

Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan[5]
The judgment was delivered by Chief Justice J.S.Verma as a representative of Justice Sujata Manihar and Justice B.N. Kripal upon a writ petition which was filed by Vishaka the victim of this case. The judgment laid down various guidelines for the employees to follow and avoid sexual harassment of women at workplace.

The S.C. specifically underlined the definition of Sexual Harassment, which included any unwanted or uninvited physical touch, conduct or any sexual comment or texts will come under the ambit of sexual harassment.

The apex court in Vishaka, has defined, sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination projected:
  1. Through undesirable sexual advances
  2. Request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct whether directly or by implications particularly after the submission or rejection of such conducts by the female employee
  3. Unreasonable interference with her work performance; and
  4. Had an effect of creating a hostile working environment.

It was further said that, sexual harassment of a woman employee at workplace, is a violation of the ‘right to gender equality' and also the ‘right to life and liberty', the two of the most valuable fundamental rights guaranteed vide articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

Section 354A* I.P.C. is the section given for the Sexual harassment and punishment for Sexual harassment which gives an inclusive idea of acts which constitute sexual harassment, they are:
  1. A man who commits any of these acts:
    1. Physical contact and advances including unwelcomed and explicit sexual proposals; or
    2. A demand or request of sexual favors; or
    3. Showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
    4. Making sexually colored remarks,
      Shall be held liable for the offence of sexual harassment.
  2. Any man who is guilty of the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (1) should be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
  3. While any man who commits offence mentioned in clause (iv) of sub section 1 shall face imprisonment which may extend to 1 year or with fine or with both
Assault against a woman with intent to disrobe her is mentioned under 354-B* I.P.C.

Any man, who uses force or assaults to any woman or abets such act with a mala-fide intention of disrobing her, shall be punished with upto 3 years of minimum imprisonment which might extend to 7 and also be held liable to fine.

Voyeurism is mentioned under 354-C which implies that any man who watches, or clicks pictures of a woman involved in a personal or a private act in situations where a normal prudent person will think of not being observed either by any other person shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and on repeating the offence for the second time then the person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term greater than or equal to 3 years, but which might be extended to seven years and also be held liable with fine.

For the purpose of this section, private act includes an act of watching being done in a place which, in ordinary conditions will rationally be anticipated for providing privacy and where the victim's genitals, posterior or breasts are getting exposed or covered only in underclothing, or the target is using a lavatory, or is involved in a sexual act that is not of a kind that is usually be done in public as mentioned in Explanation 1.

While the explanation 2 purports the scenario where the victim consents the capturing of any act, but not to exposing it to any third party and where such image or act is disseminated, such exposure shall be considered as an offence under this section.

Stalking is mentioned under section 354-D of I.P.C. as:
1. Any man who-
  1. Follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
  2. Monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any form of electronic communication, commits the offence stalking;
Provided that such behavior shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued proves that:
  1. she was being pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the state; or
  2. she was being pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
  3. In the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

Subsection 2 of this section provides us the punishment of the offence of stalking on first conviction with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, and shall also be liable to fine and on subsequent conviction the person shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 5 years and shall also be liable with fine.

Section 509 provides us the provision of outraging a woman's modesty with the help of words, gesture or an act intended to do the same. Any person intending to insult the modesty of any woman, with the help of words, sounds or gestures; or by exhibiting any object intending to make that word or sound be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman or by intruding the privacy of a woman.

The prime facie objective of this section is to protect the modesty and chastity of a woman.
This section requires the following essentials:
  1. Intention of outraging a woman's modesty;
  2. The intention must be caused-
    1. By uttering words, sounds or gestures or exhibiting any object so as to be heard or seen by such woman, or
    2. By intruding the privacy of such woman

5. Kidnapping and Abduction
Section 366 of I.P.C. provides that, whoever kidnaps or abducts any woman with intent that she may be compelled or knowing it to be likely that she will be compelled, to marry any person against her will, or in order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or knowing it to be likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever, by means of criminal intimidation as defined in this code or of abuse of authority or any other method of compulsion induces any woman to go from any place with intent that she may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall also be punishable aforesaid.

  1. Kidnapping or abducting any woman;
  2. Such kidnapping or abducting must be;
    1. With the intention that the woman may be compelled or might likely that she will be compelled to marry any person against her will; or
    2. In order that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse, or likely to be that she may be forced or seduced to illicit intercourse; or
    3. By criminal intimidation, or abuse of authority, inducing any woman to go from any place, with the intent that she may be or likely to be forced or seduced to have illicit intercourse with somebody.
Girls of age 18 and above can only be abducted and not kidnapped but girls below the age of 18 can be kidnapped as well as abducted.

Section 366A of the I.P.C provides that whoever, by any means when induces any minor girl to move from any place for doing any act with the intent of knowing that it is likely that she will be forced or seduced for having an illicit intercourse with someone else, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

This section deals with procuration of minor girl and was inserted in I.P.C. in the year 1923 in pursuance of the International convention for Suppression in Traffic in women and children.

Importation of girl from foreign country is given under section 366B which provides that whoever imports into India from any foreign country any girl under the age of 21 having intention or knowing that she may be, or likely to be forced or seduced for having an illicit intercourse with someone shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 366B along with Section 366A was inserted in the I.P.C in the year 1923 in pursuance of the International Convention for Suppression of the Traffic in women and children. Section 366B is intended to punish the export and import of girls for prostitution.

Section 370[6] of I.P.C. deals with trafficking of person which purports that whoever, for the purpose of exploitation, (a) recruits, (b) transports, (c) harbours, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a person or persons, by:
  1. using threats, or
  2. using force, or any other form of coercion, or
  3. by abduction, or
  4. by practicing fraud, or deception, or
  5. by abuse of power, or
  6. by inducement, including the giving or receiving of payments or benefits, in order to achieve the consent of any person having control over the person recruited, transported, harboured, transferred, or received, commits the offence of trafficking.
Subsection (2) purports that the person found guilty of this offence shall be punished for a term not less than 7 years which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable with fine while subsection (3) mentions the punishment for the offender involving more than 1 victim for the wrongdoing of trafficking, with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years and which may extend to life imprisonment and also be liable to fine.

Similarly, subsection (4) involves the trafficking of a minor and the punishment of which shall be rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years which may extend to life imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine while subsection (5) mentions the punishment of trafficking more than one minor girl with rigorous imprisonment not less than 14 years which may extend to life imprisonment and shall also be liable to fine.

Subsection (6) provides the punishment of the offence of trafficking if found being done on more than one occasion or in layman terms for repeating this offence or on being convicted for the second time with rigorous imprisonment for life.

Subsection (7) exhibits the punishment when the offender is either a public servant or a police officer and the punishment mentioned herein is life-imprisonment and also be held liable to fine.

Explanation 1 gives us the ambit of the expression exploitation which shall include any act of physical or sexual exploitation, it shall also include practices of slavery or similar to slavery, or the forceful removal of organs. Explanation 2 purports that the consent of the victim is immaterial for the determination of this offence.

Section 370A[7] deals with exploitation of a trafficked person which purports that:
  1. Whoever, knowingly or having the reason to believe that a minor has been trafficked, engages such minor for sexual exploitation in any manner, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years, but which may extend to 7 years, and shall be liable to fine.
  2. Whoever, knowingly or having the reason to believe that a person has been trafficked, engages such a person for sexual exploitation in any manner, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 years, but which may extend to 5 years, and shall be liable to fine.

Section 372 & 373, I.P.C. punish the trade of selling and buying minors for purposes of prostitution. These sections are in consonance with Article 23 of the Constitution, which prohibits traffic in human beings and sanctions punishment for the practice of such acts. Section 372, I.P.C. punishes the sale of minor girls for the purpose of prostitution, or other unlawful and immoral purpose. The provision envisages protection of chastity of girls.

This section applies to both married and unmarried female minors irrespective of cast or community, including girls belonging to dancing girl caste. Section 373, I.P.C. is a counterpart of section 372 of the code. The two sections deals with prostitution of minor girls. This section punishes buyers or hirers of minor girls for the purpose of prostitution or for unlawful or immoral purposes.

6. Sexual Offence
There is a distinct heading for Sexual Offences, which incorporates sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376R of the I.P.C added vide Criminal law (Amendment) Act 13 of 2013. Sexual Offences create an altogether different kind of crime which is the result of irrational mind. This irrationality may result in rape or in homosexuality.

Section 375 as substituted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013(13 of 2013),
A man is said to commit rape if he-
  1. Penetrates his penis, to any extent, into vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
  2. Inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being penis, into vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with hum or any other person; or
  3. Manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the such woman or makes her to do so with hum or any other person; or
  4. Applies his mouth in the vagina, urethra of a woman or makes het to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following 7 descriptions:
  1. against her will
  2. without her consent
  3. with her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
  4. with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  5. with her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  6. with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years of age.
  7. when she is unable to communicate consent.

Explanation 1 of this section purports that Labia Majora is included under the ambit of Vagina.

Explanation 2 provide us a sense of what consent means pertaining to this particular section i.e. it should be an unambiguous voluntary agreement where the woman by any form of communication be it VERBOS or NON-VERBOS, communicates voluntariness to partake in an explicit sexual act with a proviso that a woman who does not substantially repel to that act of penetration shall not by the reason only of that fact, be observed as acceptance to the sexual activity.

The proviso further had two explanations in which explanation 1 purports that a medical procedure or intervention shall not constitute rape, and the explanation 2 says that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife where the wife is not being under fifteen years of age is not rape.

The section 375 now provides a broader domain and a detailed explanation of this particular offence. After the amendment act of 2013, a person can be held liable of this offence not only when he himself contributes or participates in this offence, but also by triggering a woman to do any of the above mentioned acts with another person.

Due to a thorough and descriptive nature of the definition of rape now given in the amended provision, the words vagina and consent have been explained and given a definite meaning with the support of the newly added Explanation 1 and 2.

The punishment for rape/sexual assault has been categorized depending upon the severity of offence. However, the option is left with the court under sub-section (1) of 376 I.P.C. to mention adequate and special reasons for imposing a sentence of imprisonment of less than seven years for the offence of rape has been omitted by the amendment.

Further, for the offenders who fall within any of the clauses (a) to (n) of sub-section (2) if I.P.C. , because of their special position by virtue advantage of which they can exert influence upon the victim, the punishment prescribed is of rigorous imprisonment for not be less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life.

Sections 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E substituted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. Section 376 A prescribes punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of the victim. Section 376B deals with Sexual intercourse done by the husband upon his wife during judicial separation.

Section 376C prescribes the punishment for sexual intercourse by a person in authority. Section 376D deals with the punishment for gang rape and section 376E deals with punishment for repeat offenders.

Section 377 of The Indian Penal code,1860 deals with Unnatural offence. It runs as, whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be penalized with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In 2018, S.C. ruled a part of this section as unconstitutional which held that treating consensual homosexual sex between adults as a crime is a violation of fundamental rights protected by Indian Constitution. Thus, the verdict in the case of Navtej singh Johar v. Union of India[8] a 5 Judge bench lead to decriminalization of consensual Homosexual acts.

7. Crimes related to Marriage
Section 493, I.P.C. is one of the felonies relating to marriage. The section does not punish mere living together or sexual intercourse with a woman who is not legally married to him, but foresees the case:
  1. When a man fraudulently persuades a woman to have sexual intercourse with him, and
  2. Causing her to be certain of that she is lawfully married to him
To prove dishonesty, it must be irrefutably established that the petitioner had dishonest or deceitfully hidden certain facts or made a false declaration knowing it to be false.

Punishment given under this section is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 496 seeks to punish fraudulent marriages. It applies to those circumstances where a fake ceremony is performed, pretending it to be a valid marriage. To establish the offence mentioned, the following conditions are to be satisfied:
  1. The accused must have performed the ceremonies of marriage.
  2. The act of which should not institute a valid marriage
  3. The accused must be aware of the fact that the marriage so done is not lawful.
  4. The accused must have acted corruptly or deceitfully.

According to section 494, I.P.C. marrying again during the life of husband or wife is an offence. Bigamy means marrying again during the life time of the lawfully wedded spouse. However, this provision does not extend to any person whose marriage with such husband or wife has been stated void by a Court of competent jurisdiction.

To constitute the offence of bigamy the following conditions need to get satisfied:
  1. The accused had already been married to some person
  2. The said marriage was legal
  3. The person to whom the person got married is alive
  4. The accused married another person
  5. The accused when marrying the second time concealed the fact of his previous marriage.
Punishment mentioned under this section is imprisonment for up-to 10 years and also fine.

Comparison of Legal Provisions with respect to countries like U.K & The United States

As from above one can easily understand that Indian Law punishes only men for an indecent assault but in U.K. a woman can also be held liable for committing an offence of an indecent assault. So, both a man and woman under the English law can be held liable for committing this offence punishment of which may extend to 10 years of imprisonment, as was mentioned under section 14 & 15 of Sexual offences Act, 1956.

In U.K the both a battery (a touching) and psychic assault, without touching[9] are included the offence of indecent assault as per Sexual offences Act, 2003. For the former case the knowledge and the circumstances of indecency for the victim need nit has to be proved, while in the latter case the victim must be aware of the assault as well as the circumstances.

There was a case of Beal v Kelley[10], where it was observed that a boy of age 14 who declined the accused's invitation to touch his penis, the accused taking the boy's arms and dragging him towards himself, here, the accused was held liable of this offence.

Also in the case of R. v H[11], the use of derogatory words like: Do you fancy shag (sex) followed by actual touching amounts to sexual assault and comes under the ambit of section 3 of Sexual Harassment Act, 2003 (U.K.).

Sexual harassment at workplace in The United States
There are two forms of sexual harassment acknowledged by United States[12]:
  1. Quid pro quo sexual harassment which infers that an employee is obligated for enduring sexual harassment in exchange for employment, a raise or job benefit.
  2. Hostile work environment depicts sexual harassment at workplace as an unpleasant work environment or unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance.
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 added provisions to the Title VII which extended the rights of women to take legal action and collect compensatory and penal damages for the offence of sexual harassment.

In India Incest, which in layman language can be interpreted as sexual intercourse with consent between the parties falling within a specified degree of consanguinity i.e., related by birth, for example a sexual intercourse by a man with his grand-daughter or daughter, etc., is not a crime under I.P.C; while in the united states except Rhode island, Ohio, and New Jersey have a different statute which vary widely while the other states have penalized this act and states like Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and Michigan have the most severe punishment among the rest which consists upto 20 years of prison while the states mentioned from Nevada to Michigan may deliver the punishment of Life Imprisonment. In this regard English Law is more practical and thus it makes incest punishable under Section 64 and 65 of the Sexual Offences Act, 2003 for both the cases i.e., man or a woman.

It is punishable with imprisonment for life if the female is below 13 years and in the case of attempting to commit imprisonment for 7 years; while in other cases the degree of imprisonment is 7 years and 2 years for attempting to commit.

When we compare unnatural offence mentioned under 377 of I.P.C to that present under the English law; the common law uses the term buggary for unnatural offences which consists in intercourse per anus by a man, with a man or a woman or with an animal whose punishment was as harsh as capital punishment.

However, the common law was first modified in 1967 by the Sexual Offences Act, 1967 making consensual sodomy, i.e., homosexual act with another man on private between those who had attained the age of 21 beyond the purview of the law. In 1994, the law was further modified and reduced age to 18 by section 143 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, 1994 while in India, law relating to sodomy got repealed in 2018[13].

Laws relating to adultery vary from country to country; it differs according to their religious, social and political factors. In U.K adultery is not a criminal offence but when we consider The United States it follows a three tier formulations based on statutes of different states under it, which are:
  1. Common law, according to which adultery takes place only when the woman is married and both the husband and wife are held liable.
  2. The canon (body of law of a church), according to which adultery is the voluntary intercourse with a person other than the offender's husband or wife and here only the married person is held accountable.
  3. The hybrid view, according to this view which is followed in 20 states under The United States purports that if either of the spouse has sexual intercourse with a third party, both the transgressors are accountable for the offence of Adultery[14].
In India Adultery was an offence which was mentioned under the penal code under section 497 got repealed in 2018[15] by the S.C. as it was apprehended as unconstitutional though it still continues to be a ground of divorce.

An aggregate of 378,277 cases of crime against women have been testified in the year 2018 whereas a total of 186,212 cases under crime against women in India has been reported as pending for investigation by the end of 2018.These figures are released by the National Crime records Bureau[16]. The national capital New Delhi remains to hold on to its status of being the most unsafe city in India. The legislations of India when compared to those present in other foreign countries lacks deterrent effect.

The penalization present over those countries is much more severe than those present in our home country not only this but also the inefficiency of our judicial system also proves to be a downfall for the enforcement of justice. Although women may be victim of any crimes stated under the penal code like murder, robbery, cheating etc., but only the crimes directly associated or which are specifically against women are characterized as Crime Against Women.

These crimes are either mentioned under the Indian Penal code, or if not there they might be mentioned under the Special and Local laws both having the same objective of rooting out all the mal-practices against women.

  1. AIR 1958 MB 147 (148)
  2. Writ petition No. 400 of 2012 decided on 15 April, 2014
  3. Ins. by Act 43 of 1986, sec. 10 (w.e.f. 19-11-1986)
  4. AIR 2016 SC 882
  5. AIR 1997 SC 3011
    * Ins. by Act 13 of 2013, Sec. 7(w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
  6. Subs. By Act 13 of 2013, Sec 8, for section 370 (w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
  7. Subs. By Act 13 of 2013, Sec 8, for section 370 (w.r.e.f. 3-2-2013)
  8. Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 76 of 2016
  9. R. v. Court, (1987) 1 All ER 120 (122) (Crown Court of Appeal)
  10. (1951) 2 All ER 763
  11. (2005) 2 All ER 859
  12. Sexual harassment in workplace in the United States, Available at: Accessed on 30th April, 2018
  13. Navtej singh Johar v. Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 76 of 2016]
  14. K.D Gaur, Textbook on Indian Penal Code 1054 (LexisNexis, Haryana, 6th edn., 2016)
  15. Joseph Shine v. Union of India [Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 194 of 2017]
  16. National Criminal Record Bureau Report Available at: Accessed on 26th April, 2018

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly