VOYEURISM: An Act Which Destruct The Modesty Of The Women And Its Lacuna In Conviction

voyeurism
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About the author:
Kushagra Gahlot is a law student of CMR University School of Legal Studies

INTRODUCTION

INDIA, where equality of every citizen irrespective of gender, caste is guaranteed in our constitution but the prima facie of the reality doesn’t seem so to exists. During the previous and present decades in India where hatred crimes towards women are predominantly increasing where heinous crimes like rape, voyeurism, sexual assault, domestic violence etc. In a survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) where India stand on 133rd out of 166th in women, peace index.[1]

This article emphasis on voyeurism, voyeurism can simply be defined as ‘peeping hole’, watching a woman inappropriately for his personal satisfactory pleasure. voyeurism is a concept where the victim negligently or has no idea when she been watched by perpetuator for his personal pleasure. Voyeurism is a non-contact sexual assault, such as breaching privacy of a victim when she is in her personal place, being watched by the perpetuator by spying, when the victim is the washroom, laying naked on her bedroom without having conscience of being watched by another person. This act not only his malicious act by grossly violating fundamental rights and possess a menace towards the society.

Voyeurism under Indian penal code Act:

Voyeurism under Indian legal context which is stated under section 354-C of Indian penal code was incorporated in 2013 which was recommended by the justice Verma committee which was set up after brutal horrific incident which was popularly called ‘Delhi gang rape’. which is stated as :

354 -C : Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but 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 shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine[2].

Section 354-C of Indian penal code as any man who ‘deliberately ‘watches or capture women which is affianced in a ‘private act’, where the women has no knowledge that she is been observed by the perpetrator or any person who has been associated with the perpetrator, with a apprehension of crime for the first attempt is of  minimum of one year and less than 3 year,  second apprehension up to 7 years .

The crime committed under section 354 C is heinous as compare to the other crime, but the punishment prescribed under section 354 C is not as stringent which should have been , considering this loop hole many people with younger age can easily get away with it which could result to less punishment been and due to recidivism of the perpetrator. Hence, he is likely to commit the same act or more grievous act again in the future.

But the question arises, section 354-c which deals with voyeurism in a practical manner, when the perpetrator intentionally breaches the privacy of another person i.e. victim without having being aware, the offender should have been in present in a person.

Voyeurism under the information of technology Act,2000:

From the above discussed we can perceive that section 354- C deals with ‘men who is a perpetrator’ observing realistically the victim. During the course of time the heinous and obnoxious crime of voyeurism is has been committed through the surface of internet leading to exposing and humiliating the modesty of a person irrespective of the gender, which led to the incorporation of the information of technology Act, 2000 to curb misconduct the abuse of the internet leading to malicious act committed by the perpetrator.

There is comparable provision which is enacted under Indian penal code and Information of technology act which states any person deliberately posting a obscene picture of women online, without having knowledge that she’s been observed by the perpetrator which results in violation of privacy of the victim, the section 365 A deals with gender specific which deals with women while the 66E of the IT act deals with every person irrespective of the fact.

Th offence committed of voyeurism by the perpetrator are been prima facie observed are of the juvenile, adolescents and adults which involve college going students which are being involved in breaching of privacy due to various reasons like enmity, egoistic, hormonal imbalance, voyeuristic disorder etc.

The classic example of ‘BOYS LOCKER ROOM’, which led to public outrage by sharing of explicit pictures of women majority of them which were adolescents who were the victim and surprisingly the perpetrator were also adolescents or minor, this incident created a huge uproar where the various groups called for stringent actions against the boys. Cases which would shudder the consciences of a human being, when a husband was caught red handed by his wife who was filming her and his daughter while they were undressing their clothes[3]

There are also been observed in some cases, where the accused proposed to marry victim due to certain difference or circumstance she refused to marry the perpetrator, the perpetrator then went to leak the victims obscene picture on social media and even created fake social media account by using her identity and even tried to manipulate her and threatened her but due to non-framing of her charges the accused was granted bail on certain conditions [4]

Voyeurism which has been committed against the women and has been unprecedently increasing every year and making it vulnerable for women’s living in the society and moreover its committed by minor and adolescents . According to data provided by NCRB it was been observed that even there is a stringent punishment in place the cases are rising.

It was also been observed that metropolitan cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai has peaked with regards toward voyeurism and every year since enactment, as well as below 18 years of age there are about 27 male and zero female apprehended, age between 18-30 is about 736 male, age between 30-45 around 465 male, age between above 45-60 and age above 60 year old is one male and zero female [5].

According to the current figures 89 rape cases are being registered every single day amid which 27.8 percent are minors. In spite of the pain that the woman goes through during rape or any kind of sexual harassment, the society stills blames a woman but not a man. Where the voice of the victim is been muzzled.

Although even there is a stringent punishment placed for committing grievous offences against women, so why there is absurd rise in crime every year? Well there are many factors in place, as in an interview given by Ranjana Kumari who is a social activist director at Centre for Social Research. “first stage taken is voyeurism, second stage is taken stalk and third stage which results in rape “[6].

The punishment prescribed under the act is also five years under the apprehension under section 66E IT act and 3 years in IPC which is not been as stringent as it should  have been with the contravention of crime committed, even if the perpetrator is been apprehended the release of the perpetrator convicted is likely to happen due to the fact of provision in place such as section 6 of the probation and offender’s act where the right to bail is default if the person convicted is below the age of 21 years of age and has not committed a crime, which is of life imprisonment or capital punishment .

Apart from this the right of release of the prisoner on bail or parole cannot be denied but can be denied only if there is high chances of recidivism or any other factor which is deemed appropriate by an judge of a particular court or the parole board which is set up under the act . this makes offender escapes his quantum of his punishment provided by the court, refutes his rehabilitation process henceforth high chances of recidivism of the offender

Conclusion

Even though there are various legislation in enacted there is predominant increase in crime against the women which are such as rape, outraging the modesty of a woman, sexual harassment, dowry deaths, etc.).Voyeurism as in first wouldn’t sound so heinous as rape, but the voyeurism is the first step or prompting factor for the perpetrator for committing rape of the victim.

From the quantum of punishment stated under the Indian penal code and information technology act is not as stringent even after the amendment and various cases which would derelict his rehabilitation could poses a threat to the society.

As I conclude on opinion that there should be a separate act for the protection of women with higher quantum of punishment with a proper rehabilitation process which includes psychiatrist which could help the offender rehabilitate, so it would help the authorities under the act to eradicate the problem, as well as make him a better person for the society for the future.

References


[1]https://yourstory.com/herstory/2019/11/india-ranking-countries-women-peace-security-index#:~:text=Women%20Rights-,India%20ranks%20133%20out%20of%20167,Women%2C%20Peace%20and%20Security%20Index&text=Georgetown%20University’s%20Institute%20for%20Women,like%20inclusion%2C%20justice%20and%20security

[2] https://devgan.in/ipc/section/354C/#fn3751618185ffc811cd7ef2

[3] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/peeping-toms-a-growing-menace-in-bengaluru-but-more-women-are-pushing-back-now/articleshow/72004156.cms

[4] Kalandi Charan Lenka v State of Orissa (2017).

[5] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/peeping-toms-a-growing-menace-in-bengaluru-but-more-women-are-pushing-back-now/articleshow/72004156.cms

[6] https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/everyday-voyeurism-in-a-surveillance-state/article29271770.ece

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