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Crime Against Women

In today's digital world, technology has made us feel that the world is in our hands yet certain things in society against women remain the same. In ancient days women were considered as a most powerful and respectful person who is considered as meaningful contributors to every person's life so only we call our nation as mother nation still violence against women is not new, though sati was abolished there are still many crimes against women for which we need rigid laws to deal with it. Women are considered a vulnerable part of society who are often victimized for the deeds of society.

The major reason for most crimes is ideological differences and the existing norms of society. The violence not only includes physical, psychological, and sexual but there are many other forms too. Generally, Rape and dowry death are considered serious offenses against women but there are many other crimes such as kidnap, female foeticide, domestic violence, forced marriage, verbal abuse, marital rape, voyeurism, stalking, eve-teasing, cyberbullying Acid attack, Honour killing, etc. Nowadays from infants to old age women, everyone goes through a certain way of abuse or harassment.

In the recent survey conducted it was found that more than 2000 rape cases are recorded each year and for every 22 minutes a girl child is raped. Rape was considered a heinous offense only after the barbaric nature of the rape case which shook the whole world in 2012. Only after the Nirbhaya case, Criminal Amendment Act was brought in and the amendment stated that a child below the age of 18 but above the age of 16 can be considered as an adult based on the offense committed. Though there have been many penal laws to protect women still women are victimized to a larger extent and law alone cannot prevent all the crimes against women, responsibility is equally on society to protect and develop a healthy environment.

Research Problem
The problem with crimes against women is it cannot be compressed into one section as it has been differing from time to time moreover the Indian Penal code has been amended several types to provide rigid punishments for such crimes against women and there are other supplementary acts such as Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Pre Natal diagnostic techniques act 1994, etc crimes against women are further classified as domestic violence, workplace crime, cybercrime, etc.

However, the application of the existing laws for all the crimes harmoniously poses several challenges as there is a conflicting provision that does not deal exactly with crime or punishment. Further, to combat the upsurge in these crimes such as voyeurism or cyberstalking, or bullying we need new laws and strict penal provisions.

This study is undertaken to address and clarify the abovementioned concerns.

Existing Legal Situation:
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Constitution of India
  • Indian Evidence Act,1872
  • The Immoral Traffic ( Prevention) Act,1956
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act,1961
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace 2013
  • The Criminal (Amendment) Act, 2013
  • Pre Natal Diagnosis Techniques ( Regulation ) Act of 1994
  • Domestic Violence Act,2005
  • Information Technology Act, 2000

Recommendations of the Verma Committee (2013)
  • Rape: 10yrs to Life Imprisonment
  • Gang Rape: 20 yrs to Life Imprisonment
  • Rape and Murder: 20 yrs to Life Imprisonment
  • Rape of Minor: Minimum 10 yrs to Life Imprisonment

Literature Review:
Wrongdoing can be characterized as an infringement of a law in which there is a physical issue to the general population or an individual from general society and a term in prison or jail, as well as a fine or punishments.
  • Thorsten Sellin (1970: 6) has depicted wrongdoing as an infringement of direct standards of the regulating gatherings. Wrongdoing has likewise been characterized in social or non-lawful terms. The social meaning of wrongdoing is that it is conduct or action that annoys the social code of a specific network. Trimmer (1959) has characterized it as an enemy of the social act.
     
  • Caldwell (1956: 114) has clarified it as:
    A demonstration or an inability to act that is viewed as so adverse to the prosperity of general public, as decided by its overall guidelines, that activity against it can't be endowed to a private activity or heedless techniques however should be taken by a coordinated society by tried methods
     
  • Marshall Clinard (1957: 22) has, notwithstanding, kept up that all deviations from normal practices are not wrongdoings.
    He discusses three kinds of deviation:
    1. Endured deviation,
    2. deviation which is gently objected to, and
    3. deviation which is unequivocally objected to.
    He sees the third kind of deviation as wrongdoing.
This paper deals with the deviant behavior of certain individuals against women and the ways to rehabilitee the deviant behavior of these people with law.

The above-said author's words have been taken as a base on which my paper has explained.

Scope and Objective:
Scope:

The paper focuses on the crimes against women and the critical analysis of the existing legal framework and the legal implications therein. Following this, the paper will discuss the need for the emergence of new laws to deal with cybercrimes done against women along with the existing statutes. Lastly, the paper will discuss how this updated legal framework will benefit and protect women as they are an integral part of the growth of India. This paper limits itself to the above-mentioned legislation.

Objective:
  1. To preach and pursue about Equality of women
  2. To analyze the challenges about the applicability of existing legislations
  3. To identify and create awareness regarding women�s right
  4. To establish Fast Track Courts
  5. Stringent laws to punish offenses done against women
  6. To ensure the victim is not abused at any point of a trial
  7. Enactment of new laws to treat cyber threats made against women

Methodology:
The methodology followed in this paper is 'Doctrinal Method of Research' as research is based on legal statutes and case laws to arrive at conclusions. Also, it follows content analysis methodology as secondary sources such as journals, news articles, blogs, and interviews are referred to.

Research Questions:
  1. What are the challenges of existing legislation?
  2. What is the need to frame new laws to deal with cyber threats when there is existing legislation?
  3. What role does the new Law should have while dealing with cyber threats?

Hypothesis:
It is hypothesized that the Information Act 2005 and Indian Penal Code 1860 are pioneers in establishing legal standards for securing cybersecurity but both need provisions to deal with certain cybercrimes done against women or done with help of technology to abuse women psychologically or physically.

Major Causes For A Crime Against Women

  1. Lack of education
  2. Poverty
  3. Broken childhood
  4. Unemployment
  5. Psychological problems
  6. Family issues

Crimes Against Women And The Challenges In Applying Indian Penal Code

Rape ( s.376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D)

Rape is the most hated crime and most serious offense committed against women. It is a crime that violates human rights as well as the moral values of society. The Supreme court has rightly pointed out that Rape for a woman is a deathless crime. Rape is defined u/s.375 as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will and without her consent.[1]

Rape is further classified into:

  • Custodial Rape (s.376)

    In this case, offenders are the ones who must act and abide by the law violates and misuses the law
     
  • Minor Rape

    In recent times children are the one who faces more abuse and sexual harassment. Right from Ranga and Billa[2] case to Kathua case[3] sexual offenses against children have been increasing rapidly which lead to the enactment of the POSCO Act 2012.[4]
     
  • Gang Rape (376D)

    These are considered a most heinous crime done against not only women but to the entire society. Rape is committed by more than one person against the will of a woman.

    Delhi Gang Rape Case( 2012):
    This case lead to the Criminal Amendment Act 2013

    Mathura Case and Bhanwari Case are some of the landmark cases which shook the whole country.

    Though we have provisions and strict punishments to deal with these offenses still we cannot control and prevent these offenses. Only after Nirbhaya Case, it was amended that child below the age of 16can be tried as an adult if he commits a serious offense.
     
  • The outrage of women's modesty (s.354)

    Using criminal force on women intending to outrage her modesty will be found guilty under this section. Even using force to threaten a woman or harming her modesty is commonly known as molestation is punishable with fine and 5yrs imprisonment.
     
  • Domestic Violence (S.498A)

    In this case when a woman has been subject to cruelty by her husband or his relatives then it shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to 3yrs along with a fine.
     
  • Dowry death

    If a woman dies within seven years of marriage due to injury or harm caused by her husband or in-laws in demand of dowry then they are punishable under S.304B with 7 yrs to life imprisonment

    These are some of the common crimes yet there are many cybercrimes done against women for which we lack a definite section to deal with it.

Need for new laws
Laws must be framed to maintain law and order and to prevent crimes but in the current scenario only after the occurrence of crime or after the huge loss law has been initiated to enact.
  • For instance only after the Nirbhaya case[5] Punishment for Rape has been increased and the Criminal Amendment Act 2013 was enacted. Similarly, there is no specific law to deal with the acid attack in IPC, After the enactment of the IPC Criminal Amendment Act 2013 now it is dealt with under S.326A as a separate offense, an Acid attack is the most heinous crime and the punishment is given in section 326A is minimum 10 yrs to life imprisonment.
     
  • Indian Penal code doesn�t contain all the provisions to deal with current crimes and thereby innocents are suffering and criminals are escaping from loopholes.
     
  • As the crime rate increases law must also be framed stringently to maintain the law and order of the society. Every time we cannot wait for someone to suffer or lose a life and then make a law that is not fair to the development of a good nation.
     
  • Speedy trial must be initiated, and fast track courts must be formed to deal with crimes against women.
     
  • Though several supplementary acts in addition to IPC still cannot control crime.
     
  • So like gulf countries punishments for crimes done against women must severe so that the same crime won't be committed in the future.
     
  • In case of the Death penalty given suddenly some starts protesting in the name of Human rights, its very clear that death sentence is given only in rarest of rare cases even in such time if people start to justifying accused right then what about victims human right?
     
  • Yes, I agree that IPC is reformative but it does not apply to crinoids or criminals who have committed brutal offenses.

Cyber Crimes

Crimes committed with help of the internet and technology are generally defined as cybercrime. A major issue of cybercrime is crime can be done at any place with help of technology without physical presence and there is no specific jurisdiction to deal with criminals. A most terrorist attack is done with the help of technology, for example, Mumbai's 24/7 attack. Data privacy issues, cyber abuse, stalking, morphing, voyeurism are some of the common crimes done against women.

In general most of the crimes are dealt with under the Indian Penal code but even IPC lacks provisions to deal with cybercrimes done against women.

Cybercrimes Against Women

In this technological era for every 10 mins, one woman becomes a victim of cyber abuse. Online platforms have become an inevitable part of life. Cyber attacks can be done through email, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms.[6] In India, there is no awareness about the cyber scam and every woman is afraid to inform about the threat they face as they do not know the exact forum to report, Most of them suppress the issue due to social embarrassment and family status.

In most of these cases, criminals are the ones who are known to the victim through social media. In most of the case, criminals misuse the photos of a person with whom they are closely associated. Example: In the Pollachi issue where girls were abused through friendship introduced on Facebook. All the accounts in social media need not be original, in most cases, Fake accounts play a major role in these criminal activities.

The base reason for all these things is non awareness about cyberspace, and perpetrators do these things to extort money.

Common Cybercrimes Against Women

  • Cyber Stalking
    Stalking generally refers to harassing one person by other people. Traditional stalking done with the help of the internet is called cyberstalking.
     
  • Kinds of cyberstalking
    1. Email Stalking:
      Sending unsolicited emails or obscene mails to harass others
       
    2. Social media Stalking:
      Sending obscene messages through an online platform or threatening of sharing morphed images of those profiles to extort money.
    3. No effective law to deal with cyberstalking
    4. Stalkers are more advanced in using cyber technology and the cyber cell is weak is tracing the accused
    5. Police generally do not take immediate actions in cyber issues
    6. There is no specific forum or department to deal with cyber issues
    7. IT ACT 2000 does not have separate sections to deal with specific cybercrimes done against women.

Laws related to Cyber Stalking Challenges

Earlier there is no specific provision in I.P.C after the 2013 Criminal Amendment Act it is dealt with under S.354D.

Generally, S.67 of the Information Act penalizes any person for transmitting obscene messages or any activity which affects other person's privacy and this section was applied in case of cyberstalking too.

Secondly, S.72 is used to penalize disclosure of information through electronic mode without obtaining the consent of the required person and this act is punishable with imprisonment up to 2 years and a penalty up to one Lakh rupees.

Cyber Morphing

One of the major cyber threats is the Morphing of images. Perpetrators generally download images of females and morph them and upload in the online platform to extort money and harass them[7]. Offender generally merges pic of one person with a naked photo of others.

Laws related to cyber morphing

Punishment is provided under s.66 IT ACT 2000 which imposes damages or compensation for the victim. In IPC it is dealt with under S.292 of IPC for obscenity.

Voyeurism

It is generally defined as the habit of spying on people doing actions that are generally regarded as private, and in cases, it involves capturing or engaging in sexual activity or undressing. In voyeurism, the person may not have any connection with the voyeur in any way. This is another form of stalking which is uploaded on the internet to threaten or extort money

Legal Provisions
Earlier there was no specific provision to deal with voyeurism only after the Nirbhaya case Criminal Amendment Act 2013 was enacted in which Voyeurism was considered as a separate offense under s.354C of IPC. It is punishable with imprisonment from 1 year to 3 years and a fine.

Suggestions For New Law
As existing IPC concerned it does not deal with all the crimes related to women, As the crime rate has been increasing day by day every crime cannot be suppressed into the available sections moreover in case of crime related to women in cyberspace needs a specific law and remedy.
  1. In addition to IT ACT 2000 and IPC there must separate provisions and remedy for cybercrimes related to women
  2. There must separate cyber cell police unit
  3. Case filed under cyber law must be tracked and FIR must be filed within 24 hrs
  4. If a criminal can use technology then the same Police officials must be given proper training to deal with cyber crimes
  5. Proper jurisdiction to report and strict punishments must be predetermined

Case Analysis:
  1. Mathua Rape case[8]

    This rape case of Mathura in the late-1970s was one of the landmark cases which lead to amending the law on rape. Mathura was a 16-year-old tribal girl from Maharashtra and she was raped by a policeman within a police station in name of investigation. When the case went to the lower court, the accused police constable was acquitted on grounds that Mathura had eloped with her boyfriend she was used to sexual intercourse and hence could not be raped.

    The court further held that Mathura had consented to have sexual intercourse with the policeman because she was not of good moral character. On the Appeal filed in the high court, the court convicted the policeman and held that mere submission or helpless surrender by threats or fear could not be equated with consent. The Supreme Court acquitted the policeman again. It held that since Mathura did not object and there were no visible marks of injury on her body and said she had indeed consented to have sex.

    Women's association and human rights groups all across India criticized this arbitrary judgment of the Supreme Court, and this campaign for law reform resulted in custodial rape being added to the law on rape in the IPC, and the burden of proof is shifted to the accused in cases of custodial rape occurring within institutions like jails, remand homes or observation homes.
     
  2. State of West Bengal v Animesh Box, [9]

    This case is the first case in which conviction was given for the first revenge porn case in India,

    Here both the victim and the defendant were in a relationship during which the defendant got hold of some private photographs, later started blackmailing her that he would post them and posted them online as revenge for ending their relationship. Then offender was charged under S.66E, 66C, 67, and 67A of IT Act and S.354A, 354C, 354, and 509 of IPC.
     
  3. Suhaskatti v.State of TamilNadu [10]

    In this case, the woman who was a divorcee rejected a marriage proposal from a man, So he created a fake account in the yahoo mail in the name of the women and sent her obscene images and defamatory messages to her mail and she received various calls in which people alleged that she was a sex worker.
     
  4. Saddam Hussain V State of M.P[11]

    In this case, the accused had sexually abused the woman and had recorded it to blackmail her. After some time he started blackmailing the victim with those videos. Then he was convicted under S. 354D and S. 507 IPC as well as S. 66A of the IT Act. The apex court refused the stop the proceedings even after a compromise had been reached between the two parties stating that personal compromise will not stop the proceedings of crime that has been committed against the public at large if it is not rectified or punished it would set a bad precedent.
     
  5. Ritu Kohli Case [12]

    This is the first case registered under cyberstalking. In the given case perpetrator was using the identity of Ritu Kohli to chat over the internet and she received calls at odd hours and received obscene messages and even her address was leaked by the perpetrator. So police filed case u/s/509 of IPC for outraging her modesty but cyberstalking did not come under the ambit of s.509 of IPC which lead to enactment of amendment in IT ACT 2000 thereby inserting S.66A which prescribes punishment for sending offensive messages.
     
  6. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh [13]

    In this case, the Supreme court held that even if a victim girl is accustomed to sex even then the court should not describe her to be loose.

Conclusion
In this paper, it has been clearly explained that the existing situation against women is not safe and I have clearly explained how cyberspace affects women's rights. Its high time that the Indian criminal justice system must advance along with the technological development to deal with cybercrimes done against women by establishing cyber tribunal or cyber courts.

Moreover, media must be utilized in a proper way to create awareness about cyber issues along with rights available for women. Moreover right from school gender equality must be taught so that women will no longer be treated as a vulnerable group.

Only law alone cannot protect women, it is a responsibility which society must teach about gender equality and sex education to avoid most of the crimes done against women. Women empowerment can be achieved only when a woman or child feels safe to live in a society without any abuse.

End-Notes:
  1. Indian Penal Code 1860
  2. Ranga and Billa case,1990
  3. Kathua Case Jan 2018
  4. Protection of Children from Sexual offenses Act 2012
  5. Nirbhaya Case, 16th December 2012.
  6. Information Technology laws 2000- Vakul Sharma
  7. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/significant-increase-in-cyber-crimes-against-women-during-lockdown-experts-2222352, Dec26,2020
  8. 26th march 1972
  9. Stae of West Bengal V. Aminesh Boxi GR: 1587/17
  10. Suhaskatti v. State of Tamilnadu,11th July 2020
  11. Saddam Hussain V.State of M.P GR: 1587/17
  12. 1st August 2018.
  13. State of Punjab v. Gurmeet Singh 1996,2 SCC, 384.
Also Read:
  1. Crimes Against Women
  2. Violence Against Women
  3. Crime Against Women & its Impact on Them
  4. Crime Against Women Who Is To Be Blamed?
  5. Crimes Against Women Under Indian Penal Code, 1860
  6. Laws To Curb The Increased Crimes On Women In India
  7. An Overview Of Crimes Against Women And Available Remedies
  8. Violence against women in India and the remedies as per the Indian Constitution - A Critical Analysis
  9. Offences Against Women In India And Various IPC Provisions To Safeguard And Uphold The Dignity Of Women
     
    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.R. Surekha
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: DE136413478459-30-1221

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