Sec 349 of IPC defines force. It does not constitute an offence but it merely explains the word force. It states that a person is said to use force to another if he causes motion, change of motion, or cessation of motion to that other. Also the person causing the motion uses one of the three ways as described:
First- -By his own bodily power.
Secondly- By disposing any substance in such a manner that the motion or change or cessation of motion takes place without any further act on his part, or on the part of any other person.
Thirdly- By inducing any animal to move, to change its motion, or to cease to move.
Force can be defined as the exertion of energy or strength producing a movement or change in the external world.The term force defined under this section contemplates force used by a human being on another human being. It does not contemplate the use of force against inanimate objects. This is clear from the use of the word ‘another’ in the section. So, a motion or change of motion or cessation of motion caused to property without affecting the human being is not the ‘use of the force to another’ within the meaning of this section.
The ingredients of sec 350 which defines criminal force are:
• There must be use of force as defined u/s 349 of IPC.
• Such force should be used intentionally.
• Force have been used without the consent of the person against whom it is used.
• The force have been used-
a. In order to commit an offence; or
b. With the intention to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will cause injury , fear or annoyance to the person to whom it is used.
Z is sitting in a moored boat on a river. A unfastens the moorings, and thus intentionally causes the boat to drift down the stream. Here A intentionally causes motion to Z, and he does this by disposing substances in such a manner that the motion is produced without any other act on any person’s part. A has therefore intentionally used force to Z; and if he has done so without Z’s consent, in order to the committing of any offence, or intending or knowing it to be likely that this use of force will cause injury, fear or annoyance to Z, A has used criminal force to Z.
Z is riding in a chariot. A lashes Z’s horses, and thereby causes them to quicken their pace. Here Z
has caused change of motion to Z by inducing the animals to change their motion. A has therefore
used force to Z; and if A has done this without Z’s consent, intending, or knowing it to be likely
that he may thereby injure, frighten or annoy Z, A has used criminal force to Z.
Force as defined u/s 349 does not constitute an offence. Force can also be used for positive purpose. Eg: pulling a person away from fire, so as to save him from burning, or pushing or dragging a person so as to prevent him from being run down by a vehicle.
Force becomes ‘criminal force’, only when it is used-
• Without the consent of the person and in order to commit an offence; or
• When it used to cause injury, fear or annoyance to the person on whom force is used.
Sec 351 of IPC defines assault as whoever makes any gesture, or any preparation intending or knowing. it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend that he who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault.
Mere words do not amount to an assault. But the words which a person uses may give to his gestures or preparation such a meaning as may make those gestures or preparations amount to an assault.
Eg: A shakes his fist at Z, intending or knowing it to be likely that he may thereby cause Z to believe that A is about to strike Z, A has committed an assault.
Eg: A takes up a stick, saying to Z, “I will give you a beating”. Here, though the words used by A could in no case amount to an assault, and though the mere gesture, unaccompanied by any other circumstances, might not amount to an assault, the gesture explained by the words may amount to an assault.
Ingredients of sec 351:
• That the accused should make gesture or preparation to use criminal force.
• Such gesture or preparation should be made in the presence of the person in respect of whom it is made.
• There should be intention or knowledge on the part of the accused.
• Such gesture or preparation causes apprehension in the mind of the victim, of use of criminal force against him.
Gesture or Preparation:
The explanation to the section provides that mere words do not amount to assault, unless the words are used in aid of the gesture or preparation which amounts to assault.
The following are the instances of assault:
• Pointing a gun.
• Fetching a sword and advancing with it towards the victim.
• Lifting lathi.
• Advancing with a threatening attitude to strike blows.
Apprehension of Assault:
One of the ingredient of assault is that the person threatened should be present and should apprehend danger in order to constitute assault.
Eg: If A pointed a gun at B, which B knew to be unloaded, then B could not have been under fear of any harm. In order to constitute the offence of assault, it is essential that the person apprehends that there will be use of criminal force against him.
Punishment for Assault or Criminal Force:
Sec 352 of IPC states that whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
Sec 358 of IPC states that whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
Outraging Modesty of Woman
Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty:
Sec 354 of IPC states that whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
What constitutes an outrage to female modesty is nowhere defined. The essence of woman’s modesty is her sex. This provision is enacted to safeguard public morality and decent behaviour.
Intention is not the only criteria for the offence punishable u/s 354 of IPC. And it can be committed by a person assaulting or using criminal force to any woman , if he knows that by such act the modesty of the woman is likely to be affected. The culpable intention and knowledge is the crux of the matter. The test for ascertaining whether the modesty of a woman has been outraged, is that the action of the offender should be such that it may be perceived as one which is capable of shocking the sense of decency of a woman.
The reaction of the woman is very relevant, but its not always decisive.
Rupan Deol Bajaj vs KPS Gill (AIR 1966 SC 309)
Here the court stated that intention and knowledge being states of mind may not be proved by direct evidence and may have to be inferred from the attending circumstances of a given case. The sequence of events indicates that the slapping was the finale to the earlier overtures of the accused.
The sequence of facts are as follows:
Accused asked the victim to come and sit near him as he wanted to talk to her. Responding to his request when the victim went to sit in a chair next to him the accused suddenly pulled that chair close to his chair. Felling a bit surprised, when she put that chair at its original place and was about to sit down, the accused again pulled his chair closer. Realising something was wrong she immediately left the place and went back to sit with the ladies;
After about 10 minutes the accused came and stood in front of her so close that his legs were about 4″ from her knees; He then by an action with the crook of his finger asked her to “get up immediately” and come along with him; When she strongly objected to his behaviour and asked him to go away from there he repeated his earlier command which shocked the ladies present there;
Being apprehensive and frightened she tried to leave the place but could not as he had blocked her way; Finding no other alternative when she drew her chair back and turned backwards, he slapped her on the posterior in the full presence of the ladies and guests.
The Court further stated that from the conduct of the accused we can deduce the requisite culpable intention. Even if we had presumed he had no such intention he must be attributed with such knowledge, as the alleged act was committed by him in the presence of a gathering comprising the elite of the society. So the court allowed the appeal.
State of Maharashtra vs Manohar 1994 CrLJ 2536 (Bom)
In this case, a woman came out early in the morning to get water from the village well. The accused caught her hand and forcefully pulled her to him to be taken to a nearby place. The victim resisted and raised shouts. Her bangles were broken and she was injured. Here the court convicted the accused u/s 354 of IPC.
By the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 there has been no change in the definition of the offence u/s 354 of IPC but the punishment has been changed from imprisonment of two years to imprisonment extending up to five years.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013 has inserted section 354-A, Sec 354-B, Sec 354-C and Sec 354-D. Sec 354-A states that a man shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment if he commits the following act:
• Physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
• A demand or request for sexual favours; or
• Showing pornography against the will of a woman; or
• Making sexually coloured remarks,
Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
Vishaka vs State of Rajasthan (AIR 1997 SC 3011)
This is the landmark case in which the Supreme Court has given guidelines regarding the issue of sexual harassment in work places. It is because of this case, that sec 354-A was enacted. The Court stated that Sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behavior as physical contacts and advance, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography and sexual demands, whether by words or actions.
Disrobing a Woman
Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe:
Sec 354-B states that —Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked, shall be punished 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.
Sec 354-C deals with the offence of Voyeurism. The ingredients of voyeurism are as follows:
If a person-
• Either watches ; or
• Captures the image
Of a woman engaged in a private act. In circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of-
• Either not being observed by the perpetrator; or
• Not being observed by any other person at the behest of perpetrator.
Punishment for Voyeurism:
Sec 354-C provides punishment for the first conviction as imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
On the second or subsequent conviction it provides punishment 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.
Explanation-I of section 354-C provides definition for private act as an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim’s genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
Explanation-II of sec 354-C states that where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.
Sec 354-D deals with the offence of Stalking. It states that;
Any man who-
• follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
• monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication,
Commits the offence of stalking
Exception to Stalking:
The conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man proves that-
• it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
• it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
• in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
Punishment for Stalking:
Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.
For second and subsequent conviction the punishment will be imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Dy.Inspector General of Police vs S.Samuthiram (2013) 1 SCC 598
In this case, to curb eve-teasing the Supreme Court has given the following directions:
All the State Governments and Union Territories are directed to depute plain clothed female police officers in the public places so as to monitor and supervise incidents of eve-teasing.
State Government to install CCTV in strategic positions which itself would be a deterrent and if detected, the offender could be caught. Persons in-charge of the educational institutions, places of worship, cinema theatres, have to take steps as they deem fit to prevent eve-teasing, within their precincts and, on a complaint being made, they must pass on the information to the nearest police station.
Where any incident of eve-teasing is committed in a public service vehicle, the crew of such vehicle shall, on a complaint made by the aggrieved person, take such vehicle to the nearest police station and give information to the police. Failure to do so should lead to cancellation of the permit. State Governments are directed to establish Women’ Helpline in various cities and towns. Suitable boards cautioning such act of eve-teasing be exhibited in all public places.
Responsibility is also on the passers-by and on noticing such incident, they should also report the same to the nearest police station or to Women Helpline to save the victims from such crimes.
The State Governments and Union Territories of India would take adequate and effective measures by issuing suitable instructions to the concerned authorities including the District Collectors and the District Superintendent of Police so as to take effective and proper measures to curb such incidents of eve-teasing.
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