Any man who witnesses or photographs a woman performing a private act in circumstances where she would typically expect that she would not be observed, either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the perpetrator’s direction, or who distributes such an image, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term that shall not be less than one year but that may extend to three years, as well as with fine.
Explanation1-For the purposes of this section, a “private act” is any act of watching that is performed in a location where, under the circumstances, it is reasonable to expect privacy and in which the victim’s genitalia, posterior, or breasts are exposed or covered only by underwear; or when the victim is using the restroom; or when the victim is engaging in sexual activity that is not typically performed in public.
Explanation 2-When the victim gives their approval to the taking of the photos or performing of the act, but not to their distribution to third parties, and where such photo or act is distributed, such distribution shall be deemed to constitute an offence under this section.
The French term voyeur, which means “one who sees,” is the root of the English word “voyeurism.” It describes the behavior of any man surreptitiously eyeing a woman. It is an act that violates another person’s privacy and personal space. It is horrible to put someone in a situation where you get to decide whether or not you want to view their body or their private life. It is also harmful to their emotional health more than their physical health. This can happen either by unauthorized observation, such as the placement of a camera in the courtroom, or through the public release of recordings or photographs against the victim’s will and desire, such uploading naked or partially-naked photos online. Today’s media are stuffed with quotes exposing the reality of rising crime against women in India. Women are nonetheless victims of these crimes despite having access to the same basic rights as males, as well as some particular protections that permit positive discrimination to advance their standing and combat stereotypes that are negative against them. Voyeurism is one such crime against women
The IT Act of 2000 includes a provision for voyeurism.
According to the IT Act of 2000, the penalty for violating privacy is described as follows: “Section 67– Punishment for infringement of privacy. If someone violates someone’s privacy by purposefully or deliberately taking, publishing, or transmitting a picture of a private region without that person’s permission, they might be sentenced to up to three years in jail or fined a maximum of two lakh rupees, or both.
What is attainable?
The victim might file a FIR. Only a female police officer may file a complaint of a crime like rape, stalking, or sexual harassment. She can either voice her dissatisfaction vocally or in writing. The officer in charge must file a written copy of the report. Following a crime, it is best if the FIR is submitted as quickly as possible. The information in the FIR ought to be “as plain and exact as practical.” Anyone found guilty of this crime faces the possibility of a fine, a first-time sentence of confinement of either kind for a term that must not be less than one year but may go as high as three years, and a second- or subsequent sentence of confinement of either kind for a term that must not be less than one year but may go as high as three years, type for a time that must be at least three years long but might be up to seven years, with the potential of a fine as well. Bail is available for the first conviction of this exact offence; it is not for the second.
that occasionally serves as the catalyst for further serious crimes. Voyeurism incidents are on the rise in India on an annual basis. The number of cases reported in 2019 was 2419, up from 1393 in 2018, according to the NCRB data. Most instances were reported in Maharashtra, then in Delhi. 144 voyeurism complaints were made to the National Commission for Women in the year 2020.
Case laws relating to Voyeurism
1-Justice Susheel Bala Dagar determined in the 2019 case of State v. Shailesh that while voyeurism is a silly kind of amusement for males, it traumatizes women’s minds. Women’s right to privacy is violated by these actions, and as a result, they experience hazardous conditions in locations that are often designed to be safe for them. In this case, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its 1995 decision in R. Rajgopal v. the State of Tamil Nadu, stating that the right to privacy includes the “right of being left alone.”
2-Rahul v. State (2020) included an appeal brought by the defendant who had been found guilty by the trial court of violating Sections 376(2) (n), 354C, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.The High Court, however, affirmed the lower court’s judgement, and the accused was found guilty of rape and of recording the crime while taking nude pictures of the victim.
3-In a recent incident, a male nurse at the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopedics was charged with violating Section 354C of the IPC after it was discovered that he was filming other nurses as they changed into their operating gowns in the changing area. The issue is still under discussion.
4-In the 2017 case of Kalandi Charan Lenka v. State of Orissa, the defendant was accused of violating Sections 354-A, 354-D, 465, 469, 506, 507, and 509 of the I.P.C. in conjunction with Sections 66-C, 66-D, 67, and 67-A of the Information Technology Act.
The defendant allegedly threatened the girl, created a false profile in her name to sexually exploit her, in all of the cases, the accused was determined to be guilty on the surface and was convicted.
Voyeurism, offline stalking, and online stalking may all be somewhat prevented by the general public being aware of their surroundings and utilizing the internet sensibly. To avoid voyeurism-related crimes, people should use caution when becoming intimate with any nearby foreign item. Only when the legal system gives police some latitude can they carry out an efficient investigation. Revising India’s present criminal code, which was drafted in the colonial era and is out of date, is urgently necessary. Numerous changes have been made to Indian criminal law to better serve the interests and goals of the populace. But in order for the police and other investigative agencies to efficiently look into crimes, it is important to implement some fresh changes. Creative concepts, such as while still being constrained in terms of power and freedom, community policing should be given priority. Police patrols in deserted urban and rural areas need to be stepped up. To make sure that police personnel always respect the law, the misuse of authority, even by police officers, should be frequently observed.
“Voyeurism” (Voyeurism) <https://legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-3010-voyeurism.html> accessed November 4, 2022
“IPC 354C Section of Indian Penal Code – Voyeurism” (Indian Constitution, IPC) <https://indianconstitution.guru/ipc/ipc-354c/> accessed November 4, 2022
“Expert Talk: Section 354C On Voyeurism, Explained” (femina.in, October 21, 2020) <https://www.femina.in/trending/opinion/section-354c-on-voyeurism-explained-174903.html> accessed November 4, 2022
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