History reveals that women were considered a symbol of respect and also a personification of a goddess. But the various instances at present and even of past specifically the cases of crimes against woman do not reflect this. At the same time it also shows that common woman were ill-treated and were inferior to man except the woman of royal family who enjoyed a luxurious, comfortable and dignified life and high status. We often think that time have changed and with time, the position of women but it is not so. It is just a myth. Instead the crimes against women have increased to a large extent in recent years. Women are just taken to mean an object to use for sex and throw it off. Various laws have been made to protect the women from such inhumane offences and crimes.
The word “woman” is used to refer to a female human being of any age. The word “modesty” is not defined in the Indian Penal Code. However outraging in ordinary sense is used to mean an act of viciousness or cruelty or we can say, to cause profound indignation or anger. So basically outraging the modesty means a cruel act which tends to cause indignation to a woman. There are offences which are considered to be outraging the modesty of woman and these include gestures, words etc. which violate the privacy of a woman.
“Modesty is not only an ornament, but also a guard to virtue…”.
The act of outraging the modesty of a woman is considered to be a crime in India and it is dealt with in the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Case of Mrs. Rupan Deol Bajaj & Anr v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill & Anr,
This case is also called The Butt Slapping Case.
In this case the plaintiff was officer of Indian Administrative Services and filed a suit against K.P.S gill for outraging her modesty under section 354 and 504 of IPC. During the trial of the case, there was a lot of pressure on the plaintiff to withdraw her case as disclosed by her. But she did not take her case back.
The defendant could not prove his innocence and was held guilty for outraging the modesty of a woman who was an IAS officer. Also he was ordered to pay her a compensation of Rs.2 lakhs. Mrs. Deol refused to take monetary compensation. The court ordered it to be given to women’s organizations. But his imprisonment sentence was converted into ‘probation’.
Cause of Action
Essentials of section 509 of IPC
a. the male uttered some words, made some gestures or sounds or intruded upon the privacy of a woman or exhibited any object;
b. the male must have intention that words uttered or the gesture or sound made or the object so exhibited must be heard or seen by the woman;
c. The male thereby have intention to insult the modesty of a woman
Essentials of section 354 of IPC
a. A woman was assaulted or criminal force was used against her;
b. The accused intended to outrage her modesty or knew that her modesty was likely to be outraged.
The Supreme Court brought clarity to section 354 in Ramkripal case. The bench defined modesty as ‘The essence of a woman’s modesty is her sex, and thus giving skeleton to the flesh.’
Remedies in Law
A criminal case can be filed under section 354 and 509 of IPC and a civil suit can be filed in torts for damages on the grounds of mental harassment etc.
a. If the ingredients of section 509 of IPC are fulfilled then this section provides such person with punishment of simple imprisonment which may extend to one year or fine or both.
b. The person who is found guilty under section 354 of IPC shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to two years or with fine or both.
NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN (NCW) has an online complaint registration system (introduced in the year 2005) available on its website: http://ncw.nic.in/onlinecomplaintsv2/frmHome.aspx. This system also provides for speedy and easy registration of complaints on commission’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org from any part of India or the World. The Non-Resident Indians Cell of NCW also registers complaints online on http://ncw.nic.in/frmNRICell.aspx .
Also aggrieved women can register their complaints by e-mailing to the Member Secretary Rachna Gupta of Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) at email@example.com.