Oct 28, 2017
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Criminal Law Amendment ordinance act 2013 in India an overview

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Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 is an Indian legislation passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013. It provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.  Due to which Bill received Presidential assent on 2 April 2013 and came into force from 3 April 2013. It stated originally as an Ordinance  promulgated by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on 3 April 2013, in light of the protests in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case.

Reasons for the Enactment

Thus nation-wide spread outrage over the brutal gang rape and subsequent death of the physiotherapy intern in India’s very own capital city, New Delhi. Due to which which there’s the driving force behind the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.  that sought to amend the existing laws regarding sexual offences in India. The Act deem to be one of the most important changes that have make in the existing criminal laws namely the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 607-608 OF 2017
(arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) Nos. 3119-3120 of 2014)
Mukesh & Anr. …Appellants
Versus
State for NCT of Delhi & Ors. …Respondents
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 609-610 OF 2017
(arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) Nos. 5027-5028 of 2014)

The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2013

New offences:

Thus new Act has expressly recognized certain acts as offences which were dealt under related laws. These new offences like, acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking have been incorporated into the Indian Penal Code:

Thus only protects women against anyone who “Assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked.”

Section

Offence

Punishment

Notes

326A Acid attack Imprisonment not less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and it shall be paid to the victim Gender neutral
326B Attempt to Acid attack Imprisonment not less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine Gender neutral
354A Sexual harassment Rigorous imprisonment up to three years, or with fine, or with both in case of offence described in clauses (i), (ii) or (iii)Imprisonment up to one year, or with fine, or with both in other cases Thus it protects Only women.

 Provisions are:

  1. physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
  2. a demand or request for sexual favors; or
  3. making sexually coloured remarks; or
  4. forcibly showing pornography; or
  5. any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
354B Act with intent to disrobe a woman Imprisonment not less than three years but which may extend to seven years and with fine.
354C Voyeurism In case of first conviction, imprisonment not 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. Thus it protects Only women.

  1. By implication, women may prey voyeuristically upon men with impunity.
  2. The prohibited action is defines thus: “Watching or capturing a woman in “private act”, which includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances.
  3. It would reasonably expect to provide privacy, and where the victim’s genitals, buttocks or breasts expose or covere only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.”
354D Stalking Imprisonment not less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine Thus it protects only women from stalked by men.

By implication, women may stalk men with impunity.

  1. The prohibited action define thus: “To follow a woman and contact, or attempt to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman.
  2. Or monitor the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.
  3. Thus there are exceptions to this section which include such act being in course of preventing or detecting a crime authorised by State or in compliance of certain law or was reasonable and justified.”

Criticisms:

  1. The law has  severely criticize.
  2. It said so for gender biased and giving women the legal authority to commit exactly the same crimes (against which they seek protection) against men with impunity.
  3. However Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2013 has strongly criticize by several human rights and women’s rights organisations.
  4. Its criticized due to neglecting  certain suggestions recommended by the Verma Committee Report like, marital rape, reduction of age of consent, amending Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act so that no sanction need for prosecuting an armed force personnel accused of a crime against woman.
  5. Thus the Government of India, replied that it has not rejected the suggestions fully, but changes can make after proper discussion.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013

The Bill related criminal law amendment pass by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013. And by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, making certain changes from the provisions in the Ordinance. Thus Bill received Presidential assent on 2 April 2013 and came into force from 3 April 2013. Later the changes made in the Act in comparison with the Ordinance listed as follows:

The most important change that takes place is the change in definition of rape and IPC section 376 (IPC 376) punishment under IPC. Although the Ordinance sought to change the word rape to sexual assault. In the Act the word ‘rape’ has been retained in Section 375, and was extended to include acts in addition to vaginal penetration.

The definition broadly word with acts like penetration of penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth,  urethra or anus of another person. And/or making another person do so, apply of mouth or touching private parts constitutes the offence of sexual assault.

Punishment for offence under clause (i) and (ii) has reduce from five years of imprisonment to three years. The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman.

Offence

Changes

Acid attack Fine shall be just and reasonable to meet medical expenses for treatment of victim, while in the Ordinance it was fine up to Rupees 10 lakhs.
Sexual harassment “Clause (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature” has been removed.
Voyeurism Thus offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman.
Stalking Thus offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman. The definition has reword and broken down into clauses.

Thus exclusion clause and the following sentence has remove “or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the offence of stalking”.

Furthermore, Punishment for the offence has change.

A man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment up to three years for the first offence. and shall also be liable to fine

Later, for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to five years and with fine.

Trafficking of person “Prostitution” has been removed from the explanation clause

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Article Categories:
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Renuka is a Final Year LL.B. student at Siddharth College of Law. She has done her Bachelors in Banking & Insurance and has also completed her Masters in Business Management . She likes to participate in legal workshops and Moot Courts. Besides her interest in law, she has a keen aptitude for legal research and is good at putting her analysis into words.

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