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Molestation and other crimes against women in India rarely carry stringent punishment - the accused get bail very easily.
All the sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 mentioned below are the ones under which (according to media reports) the Guwahati goons have been booked; all these sections of the IPC are bailable, that is, the accused have the right to be released on bail, and that the accused need not be forwarded to a court to seek bail, an officer in-charge of a police station can bail them out after seeking a personal bond and/or surety from them. Even some traffic violations are looked at more seriously by the law.
And I am amazed that almost no one has thought to look into the fact that it is so easy to molest a woman in this country and to get away with it- the law is completely in favor of the molesters (NCW, are you listening?). I have taken the Guwahati molestation as a test case.
Section 341 (Wrongful restraint)
Whoever wrongfully restrains any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term, which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
Wrongfully restraining a person gets the offender a month in jail; wrongfully retraining an animal gets him three months (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, section 11 f)
Section 143 (Unlawful assembly)
Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six month, or with fine, or with both.
The blood-thirsty riotous mob that assaulted the hapless girl in Guwahati was not booked for rioting, which carries imprisonment for one year. Wasn’t this mob riotous? Section 146 of the Indian Penal Code defines rioting as “Whenever force or violence is used by an unlawful assembly, or by any member thereof, in prosecution of the common object of such assembly, every member of such assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting.” This section could have been read with section 34, IPC (common intent) and 120B, IPC (criminal conspiracy).
Section 294 (Obscene act)
Obscene acts and songs.—Whoever, to the annoyance of others-
(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or
(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place,
shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.
Well, a man can be obscene, nasty and insensitive to a woman in public, harass her, tease her, and be crude and crass, all he gets is three months in jail; but if someone is caught selling, renting out, circulating, etc. “a book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation, figure or any other object…deemed to be obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the pruri¬ent interest…” (note the tone of moral policing here), gets two years in jail for the first offence and five years for any subsequent offence (Indian Penal Code, section 292).
Section 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt)
Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
There is an escape clause here in section 334. It says, “Whoever voluntarily causes hurt on grave and sudden provocation, if he neither intends nor knows himself to be likely to cause hurt to any person other than the person who gave the provocation, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.” All that the accused need to do is to malign the girl, shift the blame to her, prove, through a smart lawyer that they were provoked.
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 imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
If a man criminally assault a woman, he get jailed for two years; if he steals anything- could be a hundred rupees- he goes to jail for three years, and the offence of stealing is non-bailable. (Indian Penal Code, section 379; also if someone steals anything from a ‘dwelling house’, the jail term goes up to seven years- Indian Penal Code, section 380)
All the arrested Guwahati goons will be roaming free by now, all bailed out because the law says so.
I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management and good governance. I am also the proud father of two lovely daughters. read more...
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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