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Modesty is something which is not defined in Indian penal code but directly means the act of cruelty towards women, the act of outraging the Modesty of a woman is considered to be a Crime in India and dealt with in the provisions of Indian Penal Code.

Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code says that anyone who assaults or uses criminal force towards a woman with the intention of outraging or knowing that such action would outrage her modesty would be punished for a term not less than 1 year extending up to 5 years along with a fine. Section 10 of the code defines ‘woman’ as a female human being of any age, which should ideally include even infants and children who may not understand the severity of assault are subjected to the offence.

Case- state of Punjab v. Major Singh AIR 167 SC 63

Citation- AIR 167 SC 63

Name of Judges – Justice A.S.Sarkar, Justice J.R. Mudholkar and Justice R.S Bachawat

Disposition- In favour of the appellant.

This case is about the modesty, Outrage of Modesty of a woman, Criminal Force done towards a woman.

Facts of the Case – It was about 9:30 pm when the baby was sleeping in the room.

Major Singh (accused) found the baby alone in the room he entered and turned the lights off. Then he strips himself bare beneath the midriff and stoops over her. In this obscene stance, he gives vent to his unnatural craving, and in the process breaks the hymen and causes a tear ¾ long inside her vagina. He escapes when the mother enters the room and puts on the light. The case was an appeal from the judgement by 2:1 ratio of the Punjab High Court dated May 31, 1963. Wherein the two judges acquitted the accused. Thus the appeal was preferred by the State Government.

Issue of the case - whether the respondent who caused injury to the private parts of a female child of seven and half months is guilty under sec 354 of the Indian Penal Code of the offence of outraging the modesty of a woman.

ORDER- the court held that section 10 of Indian penal code explains that woman denotes a female human being of any age In view of the judgement of the majority, the appeal is allowed, the conviction of the respondent is altered to one under section 354 I.P.C., and he is awarded rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years and a fine of Rs. 1,000/-, and in default, rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months. Out of the fine, if realised, Rs. 500/- shall be paid as compensation to the child. According to Justice A.K Sarkar: If the reaction of the woman is made a test for the determination of the outrage of modesty, then the difficulty may arise to establish the intention or the knowledge of the accused to outrage the standard of modesty set up by the concerned woman.

Judgment- The court held that modesty is applied without any age limit thus in the present case a girl of seven and a half years has modesty that can be outraged thus from her very birth, she possesses modesty and it's an attribute of her sex. The respondent (Major Singh) was held guilty for outraging the female child's modesty through his act and was liable guilty under section 354.

Case – Ram pratap v. State of Rajasthan 2002 cri LJ 1430

Citation- 2002 Cri LJ 1430, 2000 (4) WLC 384

Name of Judges- N.P GUPTA

Facts of the case – The wife had gone to the field to pick Cotton, at which time his daughter Gora was all alone in the house. At that time about 12-00 Noon, the appellant tress passed into the house and caught hold of the victim Gora, attempted to commit rape on her, in which process, her wearing apparels were torn, it was on the victim raising a hue and cry, which attracted Bhader and Swaraj. Looking at these persons arriving, the appellant is said to have taken to heals.

On this report, FIR No. 251/96 was registered for the aforesaid offences and after conducting investigation, charge sheet was filed. The prosecution has examined the victim herself, Gora, PW-2 father Nandlal, PW-3 Shivraj Singh (described as Swaraj in the first report), PW-4 Satpal, PW-5 Bhadar, PW-6 Manohari, PW-7 Jaisingh. Other formal documents have also been prepared and exhibited during trial.

Judgement- The matter comes up for consideration of application for suspension of sentence. However, since the record has been found , with consent of learned counsel appearing I have heard the appeal finally on merit itself. The appeal is accordingly partly allowed, the conviction of the appellant for the offence under section 376/511 and section 452, IPC are set aside and instead he is convicted for the offences under section 354 and 451, IPC and is sentenced to simple imprisonment for a period of six months with a fine of Rs. 2500/- on each count and in default of payment of fine to undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of three months on each count. Out of the fine, a sum of Rs. 4000/- shall be paid to the victim PW-1 by way of compensation.

This article is written by Garima Singh of Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun. 

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