Nowadays we have seen a rapid increase in cybercrimes. We came across many
disgraceful crimes against women. Almost every woman in society faces sexual
harassment sometimes even from a very younger age but most such cases go
At present, we are living in the era of the internet where the transfer and
misuse of any sort of content, videos, or photos is just a matter of seconds.
Voyeurism is a crime that simply invades the privacy of the person. So we must
know about the provisions in the Indian laws to prevent these kinds of crimes
and punish the convicted.
Origin and Definition
This word originated from the French words, Voyeur, and Voir, which means one
and to view
respectively, and from the Latin term videre
means to see
Voyeurism is a noun that refers to the act of gaining sexual pleasure from
watching people in their sexual situations or other words observing their
private life or activities. People who are voyers gain sexual gratification by
watching people while they are engaged in their sexual or private activities.
An important element of Voyeurism is that the person or people who are being
observed or watched are under the belief that they have some sort of privacy.
A causal term for voyeurism is also peeping tom�. Sometimes voyeurism can also
turn into paraphilic disorders involving sexual fantasies that cause distress.
Development of laws on Voyeurism in India
Before 2013, there were not any stringent laws for offenses like stalking, rape,
or acid attacks but after the Nirbhaya rape case in 2012, Justice Verma
Committee introduced Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013, this amendment introduced
voyeurism as an offense in India under section 354(c) of Indian Penal Code, 1860
along with some other amendments but the offenses of voyeurism and stalking
IPC were not introduced in a gender-neutral way, these offenses can only be
committed by a man towards women.
Provisions under IPC prescribed for the offense of Voyeurism
According to the wording of Section 354(c) of IPC, any man who watches or
captures the images of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where
she would usually have the expectations of not being observed either by a
perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or
disseminates such images shall be punished on the first conviction with
imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 1
year, but which may extend to 3 years, and shall also be liable for fine, and be
punished on second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either
description of the term which shall not be less than 3 years, but may extend to
7 years, and shall be liable for a fine.
For this section, private act
includes an act of watching carried out in a
place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide
privacy and where the victim's genitals, posterior and breasts, and exposed or
covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is
doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
where the victim consents to the capture of the image or any act, but not to
their dissemination to a third person and where such image or any act, but not
to their dissemination to the third person and where such image or act is
disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offense under this
If anyone is accused and convicted under this section then:
- He will be detained for either description of a minimum of one year
which can be extended up to three years and also liable for a fine if he is
convicted for the first time.
- But on second or subsequent conviction, the person will be detained for
either description between the range of three years to seven years, and the
person will be liable for the fine also.
Voyeurism and Electronic voyeurism, both cover a similar topic but the major
difference is that electronic voyeurism covers much more areas than Voyeurism
mentioned in section 354c of IPC,1860. Unlike voyeurism under section 354c of
IPC, electronic voyeurism is mentioned in section 66E of the IT Act, 2000.
Initially, this concept was not included in the realm of the IT Act, but it had
been added to it through an amendment done in the year 2008.
This amendment played a vital role because at that time the usage of electronics
was growing rapidly and also the publication of sexually explicit content on the
internet was rising and there was a need for punitive punishments for the same.
There have been many circumstances where there had been a confrontation between
the punishments for the offense there in IPC as well as the IT Act the major
distinction being the type of media IPC being an offline media whereas the IT
Act being an online media. Although the punishment for the offense there in IPC
is imprisonment for a term not less than one year, it could also go up to seven
years, where a fine can also be applicable. whereas in the case of the IT Act,
punishment is described as imprisonment which might extend up to 2 lakh rupees.
So there are differences between the punishments in both in case of any
conflict, the IT Act will prevail as it is a special law, IPC being a general
law as this was the only legislative intent of the lawmakers.
In India, voyeurism is day by day becoming a sex crime, and the use of
technology in the performance of such crimes had made the matter terrible. As
cyberspace is booming every day, which increases the potential for abuse because
just in a matter of seconds, an image could be seen by millions of people,
damaging their reputation. For both the victim and their families, voyeurism
causes some unforgettable wounds, which harms their reputation in society.
It is also observed that many of the victims of voyeurism suicide. So that is
why India's law ought to be strong enough to protect victims and prevent such
crimes so that no life will be devasted by any of these maniacs. The government
must act swiftly to prevent voyeurism.