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Important Cyber Laws against Sexual Harassment

It is the 21st century and after decades of industrialization, globalization, and modernization around the world, here we are, in a generation where with a touch of a button, lives can be shattered, families can be separated, violence is ostensible and sometimes for some people suicide is inevitable. The extent of changes that the people predicated back in the 70s as to how the 21st century would be like is pretty erroneous. In a world where ego has taken over for the worst and a virtual world has conquered upon the lives of millions of teens, thanks to the concept of “Internet” where this generation has forced the laws to be reformed in order to maintain a stable society for a temporary period as the reforms in law are still lagging behind the rapid changes that the people in this generation are witnessing. Hacking, Phishing, Piracy, Identity Fraud are some of the recognized cybercrimes. However, the most common and the most recognized crime that people face, especially women, is sexual harassment.

Here are some of the laws against sexual harassment that every woman should be aware of:

1. Under the Indian Penal Code:

a. Section 354A (Sexual Harassment and punishment for sexual harassment)

If a man makes a physical contact or advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual favors, making sexual coloured remarks or showing pornography against the will of the women shall be punishable for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or both.

Posting lewd photos, or messages on social media against the will of the person is punishable by law under this Section.

b. Section 354C (Punishment for Voyeurism)

If any man who watches or captures the image of a woman engaging in an act which is private and where she expects of not being observed either by any person or by capturing any video or an image and circulating them without her consent is a punishable offense for a term of three to seven years and also shall be liable to fine.

c. Section 354D (Stalking)

If any man who tries to contact any women through the internet, e-mail or any form of electronic communication with the intention of establishing personal interaction despite her visible disinterest, then such act is punishable for a term up to three years on first conviction with fine and up to five years with a fine on a second or subsequent conviction.

d. Section 463 (Forgery)

If a person who makes a false electronic record with an intent to cause damage or injury to a person or his property commits forgery, which is a punishable offense with a description of a term which may extend to two years with a fine. For example, A makes a fake account on a social media platform and starts abusing the victim online in private or in public.

e. Section 499 (Defamation)

If any person who believes that his reputation is being remarked by a visible representation published on the internet can invoke this provision for his/her remarks on social media or obscene images or videos posted for public consumption. It is a punishable offense for up to 2 years with or without fine.

f. Section 503 (Criminal Intimidation)

If a person threatens another with any injury to his reputation or property with the intent to cause alarm to that person through social media or any other necessary means is a punishable offense for a term of two years or with a fine or both.

g. Section 507 (Anonymous Communication)

If a person commits the offense of criminal intimidation by anonymous communication and by concealing his name from where the threat comes, shall be punished with a term extending to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offense of criminal intimidation.

h. Section 509 (Insult the Modesty of Women)

If any person posts any sexual remarks, pictures, videos on the internet consisting of sexual insinuations is liable to three years of imprisonment along with a fine.

2. Under the Information Technology Act, 2000:

a. Section 66E (Violation of Privacy)

If a person who publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent under circumstances violating the privacy of that person will be imprisoned for a period extending to three years or with a fine not exceeding two lakh rupees or both.

b. Section 67A (Punishment for Transferring Sexually Explicit)

If a person publishes or transmits any sexual material; impliedly or explicitly shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of a term extending to five years and a fine, with a fine of 10 lakh rupees and a term extending to seven years and a fine of ten lakh rupees.

c. Section 67B (Punishment for publishing Transferring Sexual Explicit Content of Children)

If a person creates, collects, seeks, browses, downloads, advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes any electronic form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of a term extending to five years and a fine, with a fine of 10 lakh rupees and a term extending to seven years and a fine of ten lakh rupees.


Ritik Dhankhar is a 1st year Law student, who is currently pursuing Law from the Army Institute of Law, Mohali.

Edited by Rudra Prasad

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