Report No. 156
Offences against Women and Children
13.12. 1. The Law Commission recommends that clause Thirdly in section 375 be amended as under:-
"375: A man is said to commit rape-
Thirdly-with her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt, or of any other injury.'
2. To deal with the issue of increasing sexual violence on women and female children, the Law Commission recommends that the offence of sexual assault be added to the existing offence of outraging the modesty of women in section 354 and punishment be increased from two years to five years. Accordingly, section 354 be amended on the following lines:
"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 her modesty or to commit sexual assault to her or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty or commit sexual assault to her, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine."
Expanding the scope of section 354 in the above manner, would in our view, cover the varied forms of sexual violence other than rape on women and female children.
3. The Law Commission is further of the view that the offence of eve-teasing falls within the scope of section 509 and there is no need for a new section 376F as recommended by the National Commission for Women. However, the Law Commission feels that the quantum of punishment be increased from one year to three years and fine.
Accordingly, we recommend that section 509 be amended in the following manner:
"509: Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, 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 imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine."
4. We recommend that another Explanation, Explanation 3 be added to section 494 which reads as under:-
"Explanation 3.-The offence of bigamy is committed when any person converts himself or herself to another religion for the purpose of marrying again during the subsistence of the earlier marriage."
5. About adultery, the I.P.C. (Amendment) Bill, 1978 has brought in the concept of equity between sexes in marriages vis-a-vis offence of adultery in the subsequent section 497.
However, the Law Commission recommends that the phraseology of clause 199 has to be modified on the following lines to reflect the concept of equality between sexes. Accordingly clause 199 shall be amended as under:
"497. Adultery.-Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is, and whom he or she knows, or has reason to believe, to be the wife or husband, as the case may be, of another person, without the consent or connivance of that other person, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, commits adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine or with both."
6. If section 497 is amended on the lines indicated above, sub-section (2) of section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 would also need to be suitably amended.
7. We recommend that in view of the growing incidence of child sexual abuse in the country, where unnatural offence is committed on a person under the age of eighteen years, there should be a minimum mandatory sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term not less than two years, but which may extend to seven years. The court shall, however, have discretion to reduce the sentence for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment. Consequently section 377 be amended on the following lines:-
"377. Unnatural offences.-Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man or woman shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; and where such offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age with a person under that age, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years but may extend to seven years and fine:
Provided that the court may for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than two years.
Explanation.-Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section."
8. In the opinion of the Law Commission, the existing section 376(2)(f), and the Law Commission's recommendations for amendment of sections 354 and 377 are adequate to deal with child sexual abuse.
The Law Commission, therefore, does not recommend the incorporation of a new section 354A as suggested in clause 146 of the I.P.C. (Amendment) Bill, 1978.