Section 354

Section 354, 354A, 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

In a country like India where women are worshipped in the form of goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, women are subjected to atrocities by people. There is no point inn bosting our history, traditions and culture, if we still believe that a women is meant to be house maker and nothing more. Our progress can only be seen in figures but the ground level situation is saddening. The women, who form almost half of the total population, are made to go through physical and psychological damage every other second.

Women are subjected to obscene remarks, sounds and gestures by people. Such an act is considered to be outraging the modesty of a women. The Section 509 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the offence of outraging the modesty of a women.

Section 509 states that, “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 The offence under this section is cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by a Magistrate of first class.” The main purpose of this section is to safeguard the modesty and chastity of a women. The essentials of this section are:

  • There must be intention to outrage the modesty of a women
  • The insult must be caused by:
    1. Any song, picture, remark or gesture
    2. Intruding the privacy of the women

Thus, any person who does any act to insult or outrage the modesty of a women must be dealt with Section 509, which is a more stricter and comprehensive form of  Section 354.

Section 354, states that, “Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by 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.” The essential ingredients of this section are:

  • There is use of physical power to assault a women
  • The accused has an intention to outrage the modesty of a women or has the idea that such an act will amount to the same.

Section 354A: Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is believed to violate the constitutional rights of women under Article 14 and 15. The Article 21 which guarantees right to life and to live with dignity is also curbed by such an act. The women are entitled to a free and safe professional environment for working, which at times is disturbed by the acts of person.  Feeling the need for protection of Women
After the Nirbhaya Case (Delhi Gang Rape, 2102), the Justice Verma Committee put forth their views about the required amendments in the law. The Act states that Sexual Harassment, means includes either one or any of the following activities done either directly or any implied way, such as:

  • Physical contact or advances
  • Showing pornography
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Making sexually coloured remarks.
  • Any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual manner

The offence of Sexual Harassment is punishable under this section with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both.
Moreover, if a person makes sexually coloured remarks, he must be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Section 354D: Stalking
The Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code describes Stalking as;

  • Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the offence of stalking: Provided that the course of conduct will not amount to stalking if the person who pursued it shows
    1. that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the person accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the state; or
    2. That it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
    3.  That in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.
  • Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.



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