It’s said that a country’s true development is measured by the treatment meted out towards its women.
People from different walks of life at one point or other, have experienced discomfort or felt unpleasant by the repulsive behavior or by the objectionable actions of some of the morally corrupt persons.
The safety of women and children is today, one of the main-concern of a welfare state. There is a need to curb the offence by giving the required legal support to enable her take the harasser to task for committing an unlawful act.
Laws under Indian Penal Code (IPC) 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 impris¬onment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 209: Obscene acts in any public place, singing obscene songs to the annoyance of others (Punishment: Imprisonment for a term of up to 3 months or fine, or both).
Section 509: Uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman. (Punishment: Imprisonment for 1 year, or fine, or both.)
The Sexual Harassment at The Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013: Under the Act, sexual harassment includes:
a) Physical contact and advances
b) A demand or request for sexual favours
c) Making sexually coloured remarks
d) Showing pornography
e) Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Under the Act, the below five also count as sexual harassment:
a) Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment.
b) Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment
c) Implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status
d) Interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive work environment for her
e) Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
The history of the legislation vest in Bhawari Devi case who in the year 1992 was appointed as an agent of change to curb child marriages when she met with resentment and harassment from the men in the community and seeking justice for her invoked filing of PIL titled Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan which provided legally binding guidelines for three fold actions- prohibition, prevention and redressal for an act of sexual harassment at workplace which later on was transformed into an Act- Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Act”). The Act was enforced from December 9, 2013.
Through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Section 354 was added to the Indian Penal Code that stipulates what consists of a sexual harassment offence and what the penalties shall be for a man committing such an offence.