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Offences against Women and Children: Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

Updated: Mar 26

The enactment of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which replaces the age-old Indian Penal Code, marks a significant shift in legal frameworks governing crimes, particularly those concerning women. Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), offences against women, including rape, voyeurism, stalking, and outraging the modesty of a woman, are strictly prohibited. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita retains these crucial legal provisions while incorporating notable changes to enhance protection for women. Notably, the BNS elevates the age threshold for victims to be considered minors in cases of gang rape from 16 to 18 years, demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding the rights of young women. Furthermore, it introduces new provisions to criminalize sexual intercourse with a woman achieved through deceitful means or false promises, addressing evolving challenges in combating sexual violence. This article delves into the various sections of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Act, each tailored to address different forms of offences against women and children, providing a comprehensive overview of the legal landscape concerning women's safety and rights.



Punishment for rape, Sec 64: 1) Whoever commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. 2) Whoever being a police officer, public servant, armed force member, management or on the staff of a jail, hospital, being a relative, guardian or teacher, commits rape during communal or sectarian violence or commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant or commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent; or being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman, commits rape on a woman suffering from mental illness or physical disability, while committing rape causes grievous bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a woman, commits rape repeatedly on the same woman. Shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.


Punishment for rape in certain cases, Sec 65: 1) Whoever, commits rape on a woman under 16 years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine. Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. Provided further that any fine imposed under this sub-section shall be paid to the victim.


2) Whoever, commits rape on a woman under 12 years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and with fine or with death. Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.


Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim, Sec 66: Whoever, commits an offence punishable under sub-section 1) or sub-section 2) of section 64 and in the course of such commission inflicts an injury which causes the death of the woman or causes the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life or with death.


Sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation or by person in authority, Sec 67: Whoever has sexual intercourse with his own wife, who is living separately, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise, without her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Sexual intercourse by employing deceitful means, Sec 69: Whoever, by deceitful means or making by promise to marry to a woman without any intention of fulfilling the same, and has sexual intercourse with her, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine. “deceitful means” shall include the false promise of employment or promotion, inducement or marring after suppressing identity.

Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty, Sec 73: 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. Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment, Sec 74: 1) A man committing any of the following acts, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment: (i) physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual

overtures; (ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; (iii) showing pornography against the will of a woman; (iv) making sexually coloured remarks,


2) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. 3) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.



Voyeurism, Sec 76: Whoever watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description 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, 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.

Explanation 1: For the purpose of this section, “private act” includes 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 2: 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.


Stalking, Sec 77:

1)Any man who has committed the below actions in subsections has committed the offence of stalking. i) 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;

ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, e-mail or any other form of electronic communication,

Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that—

i) 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

ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or

iii) in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.


2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 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 may extend to 5 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of woman, Sec 78:

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object in any form, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine.


 

Download the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Act:

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