PUNISHMENT OF OFFENCES AGAINST WOMEN UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860
23 Sep 2021
The panorama of offenses against women has not been a new aspect to be considered. It is the thing that
has been carried forward from many eras. Sati Pratha can be seen as evidence of this . women were
enslaved by many customs and traditions As women held a respectable position in ancient times. But in
due course of time women lost their rights and identity.
Let us just change our perspective, in today's scenario, it is not only women who are been harassed or who
have to go through many difficult situations. That is men at the same time who have to suffer a lot. Many
provisions and laws are created in favor of women just for the purpose of safety and not to be misused.
They should be given their proper status in society. All this status includes political status, social status,
and economical status.
As they have been confined in the boundaries of the house. The crime against women was increasing from
time to time .they were prohibited from doing many activities. Women were ill-treated, oppressed, and
exploited. They were not allowed to have their basic education and they were forbidden from taking their
own decisions and having their basic rights. The crime can be imposed directly or indirectly on them in a
mental or physical way. So it became so important that women should be aware of their rights under the
laws and should know the basic actions that they can take against the injustice taking place against them.
Many laws are created for the safety of women and discrimination against them. They are to go from many
evils such as child marriage, dowry death, marital rapes, sexual assaults, molestation, kidnapping,
humiliation, and whatnot. Below mentioned are the punishments for the offenses against women under the
Indian penal code.
1. SECTION 376: Rape
Section 376 provides punishment for committing the heinous crime of rape. This section is divided into two
Section 376(1) provides a minimum sentence of seven years of imprisonment that may extend to life
imprisonment and fine.
Section 376(2) provides punishment not less than ten years of imprisonment but may extend to imprisonment
for life or death or fine.
2. Section 376D: Gang Rape
Section 376D deals with the punishment for gang rape. Where a woman is raped by more than one person
acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of them shall be liable for the offence of rape and shall be
punished with rigorous imprisonment for not less than twenty years which may extend to lifetime imprisonment
3. Section 354: Outraging the Modesty of Women
Section 354, IPC deals with the offence of molestation i.e. assault to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.
If any person uses criminal fore upon a woman with an intention to outrage the modesty of a woman, he is
deemed to be punished with an imprisonment of not less than one year which may extend upto five years with
4. Section 509: Insulting the Modesty of Women
Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or
exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be
seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman,
shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine.
5. Section 354B: Disrobing a Woman (Stripping)
Any man who assaults or uses force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or
compelling her to be naked shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not
be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.
6. Section 354C: Voyeurism
The word ‘voyeurism’ means appeasement derived from observing the genital or sexual acts of others usually
ssecretly. This provision is divided in two different parts. Firstly, when a person watches or captures image of a
woman engaging in some private act and secondly, when the person disseminate or spread such image.
The first offence is punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year which may extend upto three years
with fine. The second offence is punishable with imprisonment of not less than three years which may extend
upto seven years with fine.
7. Section 354D: Stalking
IPC talks about The term ‘stalking’ which generally means the act of following or trying to contact despite
disinterest of woman.
Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a
second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five
years, and shall also be liable to fine.
8. Section 326A & 326B: Acid Attack
As, section 326A,focuses on voluntarily causing grievous hurt by using acid. In the view of this section,
whosoever causes permanent or partial damage or burns, disfigures or disables any part of the body of a person
or causes grievous hurt by throwing or administering acid with an intention to cause such injury or hurt will be
punished with imprisonment of at least ten years which may extend to life imprisonment with fine.
Section 326B,has more legislative focus on the act of throwing or attempting to throw acid with the intention of
causing grievous hurt. The punishment under this section is imprisonment of not less than five years with fine
which may extend upto seven years.
9. Section 304B: Dowry Death
Section 304B (1) defines dowry death whereas clause (2) lays down its punishment which is not less than seven
years and may extend to life imprisonment.
10. Section 498A: Cruelty by Husband or his Relatives
Section 498A deals with the cruelty which is inflicted by the husband and his relatives upon the wife, driving
her to take her life or cause grievous hurt to her limb or health-threatening her life. The torture could be both
mental and physical. Further, any coercive demands in relation to dowry are also cruelty
The punishment for this offence is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years with fine.
11.Section 354A: Sexual Harassment
The punishment for the offences specified under Section 354A (1) (i) to (iii) is the rigorous imprisonment for a
term which may extend to three years or with fine or both and in the case of sub clause (iv), it is imprisonment
for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or both.
12.Section 370: Human Trafficking Prevention
Article 23 of the Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in any form. It prohibits trafficking in human beings
and beggar and other forms of forced labor making provisions for punishment of the contravention of such laws.
a) 363 A (Kidnapping or Maiming a minor for the purpose of begging);
b) Sec 366 A (procuring a minor girl for sexual exploitation);
c) Sec 366 B (importation of a girl from a foreign country for sexual exploitation);
d) Section 3 and 18 of the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956 had provisions for punishment for
taking and procuring of persons for the sake of prostitution;
e) Section 370 (buying or selling of any person as a slave).
And their punishments:
1. Trafficking of persons - 7 to 10 years + Fine
2. Trafficking of more than one person - 10 years to life + Fine
3. Trafficking of minor - 10 years to life + Fine
4. Trafficking of more than 1 minor - 14 years to life + Fine
5. Persons convicted of the offence of trafficking of minor in more than one occasion - Imprisonment of
Natural-life + Fine
6. Public Servant or police officer involved in trafficking of minor
7 -Imprisonment for Natural -Life + Fine.
To be concluded:
All these sections mentioned above penalize the criminals under those acts. The protection to be provided to
women is in need of an hour. Every individual must be protected from an evil eye. Every individual must feel
safe wherever they wish to settle. The laws must be made more strict and the implication of them must be
straightened. The increasing rate of crimes against women my come to an end.