offences against women under ipc


Women are victims of crimes such as rape, murder, robbery, cheating, etc. Which are not specially directed at them, there are designated as crimes against women, which are directed specifically against them. Crimes against women are not considered from the only physical point of view but also a sociological aspect. There are records of women raped, beaten, abducted, and given humiliating treatment. Women have been subjected to socioeconomic and cultural deprivations for such a long time that there are a general indifference and lack of awareness of crimes against them. The World Health Organisation has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners. 1 crime is committed against women every three minutes.1 molestation case every 15 minutes.1 sexual harassment case every 53 minutes.1 kidnapping and abduction case every 23 minutes.1 rape case every 29 minutes. Four out of 10 women in India have experienced violence in the home. According to the NCRB, approximately 6,000 women are killed in India every year because of dowry. 

The Indian Penal Code, 1860, provides the penal provisions for acts that would constitute a criminal liability. Those provisions are stated below-

  • Causing grievous hurt intentionally by the use of acid (Section 326A and Section 326B).
  • Provision for rape and other related offences  (section 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D, and 376E).
  • Attempt to commit rape (Section 376/511).
  • Kidnapping and abduction for different purposes (Sections 363–373).
  • Dowry death (Section 304B).
  • Cruelty by husband or his relatives (Section 498A).
  • Outraging the modesty of women (Section 354).
  • Sexual harassment (Section 354A).
  • Use of criminal force on women with intent to disrobe a woman (Section 354B).
  • Voyeurism (Section 354C).
  • Stalking (Section 354D)
  • Importation of girls up to 21 years of age (Section 366B)
  • Insult to the modesty of women  by the means of word, gesture, or action (Section 509)


These judgements opened up scope for changes in the pre-existing laws which either were not partially or completely sufficient to protect women from offences against their body or dignity.

Tukaram v. the State of Maharashtra

In this case, the prosecution alleged that she was raped by the accused 1 and accused 2 who fondled her private parts, in the police station. She was there because her brother filed a report against her husband and in-law family members. As per her statement, the police constable accused 1 sent her family members away and then raped her multiple times.

It was held, by the Supreme Court that Rape under section 375 of IPC could not be proven under this case. The reasoning behind it given by the court was that there was no direct evidence to prove any bodily harm or consent under threat as she was taken by the accused peacefully in front of her family. Also, she changed her statement numerous times during the trial which made her statement unreliable. Therefore, an acquittal was granted to the accused.

Following this case, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 was passed. The Act amended section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act, which stated that consent won’t be presumed until given clearly.

Section 376 of the IPC was also amended, and the punishment for custodial rape was extended to 7 years, also, the onus of proof was put on the accused once sexual intercourse is proven.

Vishaka & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan

This case was filed as a batch of PIL, to protect women from workplace sexual harassment. The Court recognized that under Article 14(2), 19(1)(g), and 21 of the Constitution, the fundamental rights also include the right to a safe working environment. Court also issued various important guidelines for employers to follow so that a healthy and safe working environment for women could be created. Directives were given to the state and the central government to enforce those guidelines via enactments in parliament to enforce those guidelines.

Supreme Court defined the ambit of sexual harassment and its extent. Court mentioned that physical touch or conduct, displaying pornography, any unpleasant taunt or misbehaviour, or any sexual desire towards women or sexual favour will fall under sexual harassment. The court under the guidelines given made it clear for setting up a redressal mechanism for any complaint of sexual harassment in the work environment.

Ritu Kohli Case

In 2001, the first case of Cyberbullying was reported in India. The case was reported by Ms Ritu Kohli against the illegal act of Manish Kathuria for stalking her on the internet using some social chatting website. He misused her name and often used obscene and offensive language. He invited individuals to chat with her on the phone and disturbed her at her residence. After some time, she started receiving calls from different states and foreign countries, in which, people were talking salaciously with her. She reported the case to Delhi Police after not being able to find a solution herself. Her case was filed by the Police under section 509 for Insult to the modesty of women by the means of word, gesture or action. This law brought an Amendment to the Information Technology Act under section 66E because section 509 of IPC could not deal with such cases.

Mukesh & Anr vs State For NCT Of Delhi (Nirbhaya Rape Case)

In this case, a girl was gang-raped while returning from a movie theatre with a friend. She was assaulted and gang-raped by 6 men one of whom was a 17 years old minor. Her friend, when he tried to protect her, was also assaulted and beaten up by the convicts. Nirbhaya was gang-raped and they caused damage to her body of diabolic nature. They pulled out her intestines and mutilated her private parts. After almost a month of treatment, she died due to cardiac arrest, multiple organ failure and internal bleeding on December 29th 2012.

The Supreme Court’s 3 judges bench, recognised the inhuman act of the accused. The court after taking into account the nature of their activities, how they mutilated her body and destroyed her dignity, awarded the death sentence while recognising it a ‘rarest of the rare case.

Following this case, Indian Criminal law underwent a multi-dimensional change. The most critical change was the enactment of the Criminal law Amendment, 2013.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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