Sexually assaulting someone and abusing them is called molestation. Molestation is a gender-specific crime and is considered as an offence against women. When a person uses criminal force or assaults a woman with the intention to outrage or with the knowledge that his conduct is likely to outrage her modesty, he is said to commit the offence of molestation. Such person may be punished with imprisonment up to the time period of two years or with fine, or with both. Molestation need not be result of an act only. Obscene words and gestures may also amount to the offence of molestation. When a person says something, produces a sound or makes any gesture towards a woman with the intention to humiliate the modesty of such woman, he commits the offence of molestation. Interfering with or encroaching the privacy of a woman also amounts to molestation. It may lead to an imprisonment for one year or fine, or both. “Modesty” is not defined in IPC. The Supreme Court in 2007 defined modesty as “The essence of a woman’s modesty is her sex.” Intention is an essential element to constitute the offence of molestation. The element of intention should be accompanied with the fact that insult was actually caused. It is a cognisable and bail able offence which means that the police official can arrest n accused without a warrant and can start an investigation with or without the permission of a court. And the accused can ask for a bail as a matter of right.
Cause of Action:
Grounds for filing a case of molestation:
(i) Use of assault or criminal force against the woman.
(ii) Intention to humiliate the modesty of woman or knowingly doing an act which may lead to humiliation.
(iii) Use of words, gestures, sounds etc. which are explicit in nature with the intent to insult the humility of a woman.
(iv) Intruding upon the privacy of a woman.
(v) Such words, actions, gestures or assault should be directed towards a woman or a group of women.
Remedies in Law:
(i) Section 354 of IPC talks about use of assault or criminal force and outraging the modesty of a woman. This section also provides for the punishment of the offence. Under this section, the offence is non-compoundable i.e. no compromise can be made between the complainant and respondent.
(ii) Section 506 of IPC explains the use of words, gestures and act in case of molestation. It also mentions the punishment for the same. The offence is compoundable by the woman who suffered the insult, with the permission of the Court.
Details to be mentioned in the complaint:
a) Details of the complainant which includes name, address, email address, phone number and sex of the complainant.
b) If the complainant is not the victim, then details of victim are to be given.
c) Details of respondent i.e. the person against whom complaint is to be filed.
d) Details of complaint which includes category of complaint, department of complaint (if applicable) and date of incident.
e) Complete details of the incident are also to be given.