Crimes against Woman and Children

Posted on May 4, 2006

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Crime against woman and children : Obscenity

Crime against woman has been an ever expanding subject with the society inventing new ways to suppress a woman. It is ironical that while some of the offences were defined in the Indian Penal Code way back in 1870, with the advancement advent of 21st century woman, advancement in science and technology, rise in economy, we have seen advent of new forms of crime against woman forcing the legislature to draft new legislations like Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Indecent Representation Of Woman (Prohibition) Act, The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation And Prevention Of Misuse) Act, 1994 and many more. As humanity progresses we have new crimes and new laws to curb those crimes

Provisions in Indian Penal Code

Dowry – Section 304 B and Section 498 A (to be read with Section 113 A of Indian Evidence Act)

Section 304 B
(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation- For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning. as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
Under ordinary circumstances in criminal jurisprudence the accused is presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty by the prosecution. The relevance of this particular section lies in the fact that it shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution on the accused in the following circumstances.

  • Death of wife in unnatural way
  • Death within 7 years of marriage
  • Before death there have been incidence of cruelty and harassment
  • Such cruelty and harassment was related to demands for dowry

In such circumstances the court shall presume that the husband or relative have caused the death.

Section 498 A
Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation- For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means-

(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

The demand for dowry is the required mens rea to constitute this crime.
In a case where the newly wed wife died due to burning the facts and circumstances of the case couldn’t prove either murder or abatement to suicide under section 306, the guilty party were caught under this Section.

The offence under section 498 A is non bailable and non compoundable.

Rape – Section 375 and 376
Section 375 A man is said to commit “rape” who, except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-

First – Against her will.

Secondly – Without her consent.

Thirdly – 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.

Fourthly – 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.

Fifthly – 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.

Sixthly – With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

Explanation- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the

offence of rape.

Exception- Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape

Section 376
1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by subsection (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which cases, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both:
Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years.

Custodial Rape by Police Personnel – Severe punishment

(2) Whoever,-

being a police officer commits rape-

(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is appointed; or
(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or
(iii) on a woman in his custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or

(b) being, a public servant, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him; or

(c) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s institution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or

(d) being, on the management or on the staff of a hospital, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or

(e) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or

(f) commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age; or

(g) commits gang rape,

shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine:
Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than ten years.

Explanation 1- Where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape within the meaning of this sub-section.

Explanation 2- “Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an

orphanage or a home for neglected woman or children or a widows’ home or by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of woman or children.

Explanation 3- “Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring, medical attention or rehabilitation.
Rape by husband when punishable

376A. Intercourse by a man with his wife during separation

Whoever has sexual intercourse with his own wife, who is living separately from him under

a decree of separation or under any custom or usage without her consent shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

Sexual intercourse when punishable

376B. Intercourse by public servant with woman in his custody
Whoever, being a public servant, takes advantage of his official position and induces or seduces, any woman, who is in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him, to have sexual intercourse with him, 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.

376C. Intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand home, etc
Whoever, being the superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a woman’s or children’s institution takes advantage of his official position and induces or seduces any female inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution to have sexual intercourse with him, 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.

Explanation 1- “Superintendent” in relation to jail, remand home or other place of custody or a women’s or- children’s institution includes a person holding any other office in such jail, remand home, place or institution by virtue of which he can exercise any authority or control over its inmates.

Explanation 2- The expression “women’s or children’s institution” shall have the same meaning as in Explanation 2 to sub-section (2) of section 376.

376D. 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 hem. 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.

Explanation- The expression “hospital” shall have the same meaning as in Explanation 3

to sub-section (2) of section 376.

Offence under section 376 is cognizable and non bailable

Trial should be in Camera

Prohibition on publication of pictures or names of the victim.

Molestation

Section 354. Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Sexual harassment

Section 509. Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Kidnapping of child for various immoral activity

366. 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 ten 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 be punishable as aforesaid.

366A. Procuration of minor girlWhoever, by any means whatsoever, induces any minor girl under the age of eighteen years to go from any place or to do any act with intent that such girl may be, or knowing that it is likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

366B. Importation of girl from foreign country

Whoever imports into India from any country outside India or from the State of Jammu and Kashmir] any girl under the age of twenty-one years with intent that she may be, or knowing it to be likely that she will be, forced or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

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