On April 3rd, 2013, The Parliament amended the criminal law of 1973 relating to sexual offences. Some have gone from gender neutral to protecting solely women, however, falsely accusing a person can result in repercussions as well.

Why is it important to know the amendments? Knowing your rights is part of accepting that you are part of the process that comprises this world. It’s the first step to taking a stand to balance the law between both the genders.

Below are the following amendments made.

Criminal-Law01

Salient Points: Sexual Harassment – only a man can commit this offence on a woman; Acid Attack / Attempt to Acid Attack – are still gender neutral, while the other sexual offenses can only be committed on a woman by a man; Voyeurism and Stalking – by implication women can prey voyeuristically/stalk a man without impunity.

Criminal-Law02

Salient Points: Changes have been in taking the statement of a victim of rape/sexual offenses, it is more victim friendly. The age of consent has been increased to 18 years, so consensual sex below that age still constitutes as statutory rape.

While the amendments in the law are a step in the right direction, it does leave out a few glaring questions. This law does not protect transexuals. If a sexual offense is committed by a man or woman against a man – it is not recognised as a crime. Knowing your rights is good, but it does give some leeway for a woman to falsely accuse a man of any of the above sexual offense, comfortable in the knowledge that the law is on her side.

Amendments in the law notwithstanding, basic stereotypes and grass root level sensitisation of gender sensitisation is required {need of the hour} for the fight of equal rights.

 

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