Molestation is a sexual crime over someone as a sexual force without consent, irrespective of age and gender. Acts like sexual contact,showing pornography to any person without consent, passing sexual verbal words for someone are included in Molestation and are offence in the eyes of law. The Indian laws do not properly define molestation but it has provisions for the punishment for such offence. Section 294,354, 355 and 509 of Indian penal code,1860 contains provisions regarding the Molestation.

Legal Provisions:-

Section 294 of IPC:-

Section 294 of Indian Penal Code lays down the Punishment for obscene acts or words in Public place. There are many other sections like 292 and 293 in the IPC which deal with the obscenity.

Temple art or Nakedness of sadhus are not included as an offence under this section.

Whoever, to the annoyance of others ; 

  • Does an obscene act in public place ,or 
  • Sings or recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or abusive words, in or near any public place,

Shall be punished with imprisonment of either for a term which may extend to three months or  fine or with both.

Dismissing a complaint that Richard Gere acted obscenely by kissing Shilpa Shetty in Public.The Supreme Court of India has observed that in this issue no case was made out.

Also the Kerala high court observed that the cabaret dance was devoid of nudity, and according to standards it was not liable to be banned.

Section 354 of IPC:-

According to section 354 of Indian Penal Code, whoever assaults or uses force on any women, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which maybe extend to five years ,and shall also be liable to fine.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court  in the case of Vidyadharan vs. State of Kerala (2004) 1SSC 215, held that the existence of intention and knowledge has to be deciphered from various circumstances, since they cannot be determined like physical objects.Intention was not the sole criterion of the offence punishable under Section 354 IPC, and it can be committed by a person assaulting or using criminal force to any woman, if he knows that by such act the modesty of the women is likely to be affected.

Section 355 of IPC:-

According to section 355 of Indian Penal Code, whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person , intending to dishonour that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

In Ashok Sharma Petitioner VS Gurmail Singh, the court held that so far as the offence under section 355 IPC was concerned, the complaint was silent,nor any evidence had been led in this regard. The acquittal of the respondent under section 355 IPC.Both the parties are practising lawyers at Kharar. Learned appellate court has observed that there was nothing on record to Sabina, Gurmail Singh had faced trial for an offence under sections 323, 355,504, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Section 509 of IPC:-

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.

In the case of Emperor vs Tarak Das Gupta(1925), the accused sent a letter to an unmarried nurse. The letter contained indecent words. The accused was held liable for outraging the modesty of a woman . The court held that it was not necessary that the offender themselves should exhibit the object.An agent such as the post office,can also be employed for this purpose.

In the case of State of Punjab vs. Major Singh (1966),the offender indulged into an act of unnatural lust. He ruptured the hymen and caused a tear inside the vagina of a seven and a half months old female child .The Supreme Court in this case , held that act of outraging the modesty of a woman is not restricted by the age of victim.

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