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

Sexual Offences And Their Punishments

The topic which I have chosen deals with sexual offences and their punishments. The main essence of this project is to know in the deal about Section 375 which defines RAPE, Section 376 which defines Punishments for Rape, and Section 377 which discusses Unnatural Offences.

Apart from these, there are some other Sections also in IPC, which describes sexually violent acts done against women. This mainly discusses Section 354 to 354D. These Sections cover other aspects such as Sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism and disrobing of a woman. Also, there is Section 370 which briefly gives an idea about human trafficking.
Each of the above-mentioned Section and topic also established the punishments which are awarded to the convicted persons. Section 376A to 376E very clearly laid down the punishments to be awarded for the convicts.

In some of these cases, these punishments are amended too, based on the previous judgments. For each of the topic covered, there are even landmark judgments which much more broadly laid down the principles of rape, its essentials, what criteria amounts to rape, its punishments, and also other types of sexual activities done.

Overview About Sexual Offences:

As per the Indian penal code, 1860 (IPC), Sections 375 to 377 deals with the offence 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Inserts any object into any body part of the women the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person.
  3. Manipulates any of the body parts of women, which causes penetration into the anus, vagina, or any other body part of the women forcefully.
  4. Man applying a mouth to a women's vagina, anus, urethra of women or forces her to the same with any other person.

Essentials Of Rape:

  1. Opposed to her will
  2. Where the consent is absent
  3. When her consent is obtained by putting her under the fright of death or hurt
  4. With her consent, under the misconception that she was lawfully married to that person
  5. Consent is given her under intoxication or due to unsoundness or due to unwholesome substance
  6. If a girl is a minor, the consent given isn't considered
  7. Girl is not in a position to provide her consent.

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, that 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 point, this talks about the consent which is invalid. 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.

Reference To Marital Rape:

When the sexual intercourse is done by a man to his married wife, who isn't below the age of 15 years as per law, even though the consent isn't given by the married wife, then also such intercourse doesn't amount rape. This particular law states that it doesn't punish the husband even though he commits the rape i.e forcefully or against the will of the wife or without her consent3.

Marital rape isn't covered under Section 375, but it covered under domestic violence. Another exception would include that any medical procedure or intervention shall not be termed rape. In the recent case N.B.Desai vs the State of Gujarat. In this, the main issue raised was whether a husband under Section 376 can be proSectionuted for the offence of raping his own wife? After a clear analysis, it was declared by the court that under Section 377 a wife has every authority to instigate legal proceedings against the husband stating for unnatural sex. The Bench however strongly stressed that marital rape is not merely a concept and stated that, It is time to jettison the notion of implied consent in marriage 4.

Gang Rape:

In past, there was no specific Section for the concept of gang rape. Later in yea 2013, a separate Section was created. Section 376D defines gang rape as: Intercourse by any member of the management or staff of a hospital with any woman in that hospital.:

Whoever, being on the management of a hospital or being on the staff of a hospital takes advantage of his position and has sexual intercourse with any woman in that hospital, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

It is to be explained that when more than one person rapes a woman it is to be defined as gang rape. the main element to be proved in such cases include, Common intention among the group. In this case, the law holds everyone to be liable in furtherance of joint liability.

The main case which deals with the element of Gang Rape is the Delhi gang-rape case: Nirbhaya. This case was termed as rarest of rare case. There was a young woman who was gang-raped by 5 people on a bus. Due to this, the victim had multiple organ damages and serious damages to her private parts and also to other body parts. The accused were sentenced to death.

Rape Of A Minor:

Due to many minor rape cases, in the year 2018 there were amendments made. Section376AB, Section 376DA, and Section 376DB were included in the Indian penal code. A case which deals with the rape of a minor Kathua Rape Case In the year 2018, an 8-year-old girl who was a minor was gang-raped and murdered. Out of 6 accused persons, three of them were held liable for rape and were awarded life imprisonment, the rest three accused were held liable for damaging evidence, and were awarded 5 years of imprisonment.

Victim Of Rape: Identity And Assistance:

Under Section 228A, the victim of a rape case, shall be protected, her identity wouldn't be disclosed in order to protect her modesty and dignity. This Section was added through an amendment in the year 1983. The case Delhi Domestic Working Women vs UOI has discussed the parameters for determining rape.

Section 376: Discusses The Punishment Awarded For Rape:

Punishment for rape is defined under article 376 of IPC,1860. Punishments for different nature of the sexual offence is further defined under Section 376A to 376E of IPC. In the end, discretion would lie upon the court and judges to apply which particular Section and award the punishment accordingly. Section 376A deals also deal with a sexual offence, but when there are any numbers of rape cases that lead to rape and then murder, the punishment would be tedious for such offence.

As per Section 376E if a person repeat keeps on committing the same crime then he would be termed as a repeat offender. The Section would provide harsh punishment to the accused and he wouldn't be left free and liberal in the society. Court states that repeating of an offence is much more graver than the offence itself. The punishment for Rape will be not less than imprisonment of a minimum of 7years, which may even extend to imprisonment for life along with a fine. In the rarest of the rare case, even a death sentence shall be awarded for the accused.

Section 376:
  1. includes Rigorous imprisonment of a minimum of 7years, which may extend to even life imprisonment.
  2. Rigorous imprisonment for a minimum of 10years, which can also further extend to life imprisonment.

Section 376A:
This Section discusses the punishment which leads to death, resulting in the vegetative state of the victim. The punishment awarded is a minimum of 20years of rigorous imprisonment which can even extend to life imprisonment.

Section 376B:
This Section after amendment talks about forceful intercourse by a husband with his wife after separation, against her will. Accused is awarded 2years of minimum punishment which may extend up to 7years too.

Section 376C:
Forceful sexual intercourse is done by a person who holds a dominate position or authority. Rigorous punishment up to 5years of imprisonment may even extend to 10years.
Section 376D:
Defines the term gang rape, rigorous imprisonment for a minimum term of 20years, which may even extend up to a lifetime. In the rarest of rare cases, even a death sentence can be awarded to the accused.

Section 376E:
This Section talks about the punishment for repeat offenders who commit the same mistakes. The punishment awarded shall be life imprisonment or may even extend till the death sentence.

Section 377:
This Section talks about un-natural offences, that is whoever has carnal intercourse, which is against nature with a man, women or any animal shall be punished with a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment, which may even extend to life imprisonment, and also the accused shall be held liable to pay fine too. In order to constitute carnal intercourse, penetration is sufficient.

Recently there were amendments made in this Section. LGBTQ individuals are now given authority to engage in consensual intercourse. The court further decided that as per this Section unnatural offences which are performed on animals are criminalized. Navtej Singh vs UOI is a landmark case which deals with the amendment made in this Section. The verdict stated that it had decriminalized homosexual acts which involve proper consent of both the adult parties.

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 a battery or criminal force against women with the intention to destroy their modesty. Such acts committed is 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 house, she was sexually assaulted when she was left alone in her room.
  • Sexual Harassment:

    Under Section 354A of IPC a man committing any of the following acts would constitute sexual harassment:
    1. Unwanted sexual contacts, and advances involving explicit actions.
    2. Demanding sexual favours.
    3. Showing pornography content against women will.
    4. 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 have 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 act, a minimum amount of imprisonment is of 3years and the maximum amount of imprisonment is of 7years, which may even include a fine.
  • Voyeurism:

    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 women while she is engaged in a private act. No women 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.
  • Stalking:

    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.
  • Human Trafficking:

    Section 370 of IPC defines human trafficking. It is defined as an act that involves transporting people illegally without their consent. Human is exported in order to make them work as labour or forcefully indulge them in prostitution. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, a total of 5264 cases was 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.

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Naga Snigdha Nemani
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: MA107291899652-13-0321

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