Report No. 84
XVI. Indecent Gestures
2.32. Section 509, I.P.C.-
We may mention here that acts which do not amount to an "assault"-acts such as indecent gestures and acts that have come to be known as "eve teasing"-are amply covered by section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.1 The matter strictly does not Fall within the purview of rape or assault, but we refer to it because one of the women's organisations with whom we held discussions was anxious that the law should penalise such behaviour in public places or on public transport vehicles particularly.
Where there is physical contact or threat of physical contact, the offender can be charged under section 354 of the same Code, punishing a person who "assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty". The punishment is imprisonment of either description upto two years or fine or both. Both the offences are, as the law now stands, cognizable.
1. Section 509, Indian Penal Code.