According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)’s 2019 data, there has been a significant rise in criminal cases. There is a 1.65 per cent rise in cases registered, 7.3 percent increase in crimes against women, cybercrimes have jumped up by 63.5 per cent, and on an average, there are 87 rape cases daily. With such an alarming rise in crime, everyone needs to know about laws that are related to different types of crimes especially against women.
The Internet has been one of man’s greatest inventions of all times. With that being said, one of the gravest and most commonly done cyber-crimes in the present time which usually goes unnoticed by a person is “Voyeurism”. That happens due to the lack of awareness and less knowledge about such crimes, every person is needed to be vigilant to tackle such type of crimes.
Section 354-C describes Voyeurism under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The act of “Viewing and/or capturing the image of a girl or woman going about her private acts, where she thinks that no one is watching her is a crime. This includes a woman, using a toilet, or who is undressed or in her underwear, or engaged in a sexual act.”
It is an act that intrudes a person’s privacy and personal space. To put a person in a situation where you take control of their dignity, it is not only physically harming but mentally too. This can either happen through unauthorized observation, such as, placing a camera in trial rooms or through the distribution of videos or images against the wish and will of the victim, which includes uploading of nude or semi-nude photographs on the internet.
Steps to be taken in the cases of Voyeurism:
The victim may file an FIR. In the case of offences like sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking, rape etc. the report must only be recorded by a woman police officer.
The woman can give her complaint in the written form or even verbally. The officer in charge of the report will have to file a written copy. The sooner an FIR is registered after a crime takes place, the better. Information given in the FIR should be ‘as detailed and explicit as possible’.
Any person found guilty of this offence shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 1 year, but which may extend to 3 years and also liable to fine and be punished on second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 3 years, but which may extend to 7 years and shall also be liable to fine.
Note: This particular offence is bailable for the first conviction and non-bailable for the second conviction.
Voyeurism is one of the rampant(अनियंत्रित) crimes, also rapidly increasing in India today. This particular offence and the remedy available for it is lesser-known amongst common people and the women. Only having well-drafted laws will not be effective unless and until they are implemented and people are made aware about such laws.