Are Sexual offences gender neutral?

Copyright @mapsofindia

This article is written by Miss HAYA ASHRAF, she is currently pursuing BBA LLB from Jemtec School of Law, Greater Noida

“A man is guilty unless proven innocent
a woman is innocent unless proven guilty”


Sexual offences are given in Section 375,354A,354C and 354D of IPC.

  1. Rape (section 375)-Rape is if a man penetrates his penis, put an object, manipulates or put his mouth into the vagina, urethra or anus without consent, he has committed rape. Punishment for rape can be rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years and may extend to life imprisonment and fine.

  2. Sexual harassment (354A)- Sexual harassment is basically an unwelcome touch by someone, demanding any kind of sexual activity, making sexual remarks or showing content that is inappropriate in nature. The punishment of it is 3 years.

  3. Voyeurism (section 354C)-Section 354C of the criminal amendment act,2013 states voyeurism as a type of sexual harassment. It is basically the act of gaining pleasure by watching someone while they are engaged in some kind of sexual activity or are naked. Punishment for it is imprisonment for 1 year which may extend to 3 years and also liable for fine on first conviction and for 3 years which may extend to 7years and fine on subsequent conviction and as per IT act,2008 the punishment is imprisonment which may extend to 3years or with fine not exceeding Rs.2lakh or both. A male voyeur is labelled as “Peeping Tom” or “Jags” but no such term is there for a female voyeur.

  4. Stalking(354D)-Section 354D of IPC states that stalking is not gender neutral and is only done by a male against a woman. So as per IPC stalking is if any MAN who follows a woman, attempts to make contact with her and does it repeatedly despite of clear indications of disinterest and even monitors her constantly through the internet, email or any other kind of electronic medium. On 1st conviction, the punishment for it is imprisonment which may extend to 3 years and fine and the imprisonment of the term which may extend to 5years and fine on subsequent conviction. If a woman is harassed online by some impersonating someone else then this situation is dealt by section 66D of the IT Act,2008

How it is not gender neutral-

Laws for women against sexual harassment-

  1. Indian Penal Code,1860-

  • Section 509 Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

  • Section 354 Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.

  1. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal),2013

  2. Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act,2012 

  3.  the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,1956

  4. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987

But is there any such law for male or any other gender? NO.

The supreme court said, “We are not saying a woman cannot rape a man, but these come under a different offence under the IPC” in the judgement of the PIL filed by Rishi Malhotra but where are these offences mentioned?


“The Supreme Court through this landmark judgment stated that every instance of sexual harassment is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India. It also amounts to violation of the “Right to freedom” under Article 19.” (1)

“The Constitution of India has guaranteed equal rights and protection to all its citizens irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth”. (2)

In another judgement, it stated that “Rape is not only an offence against a woman but is a crime against the entire society and violates article 21 of the constitution”. (3)

But by rejecting PIL on making sexual harassment gender neutral headed by Justice Dipak Misra(4) supreme court overruled its own above judgements by calling it an ‘Imaginative petition’ and gave the following observation-

“"Legislations come as a response to social and collective cry. These sections are victim-oriented and Parliament has acknowledged a woman as the victim. We cannot ask Parliament to legislate”

Even the recommendation Justice Verma Committee, which was constituted to suggest reforms to sexual harassment laws in 2013, with regard to gender-neutrality of sexual offences, have not been incorporated in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Even in several law colleges like Jamia, IPU University, Delhi also has termed these topics related to sexual harassment as “Offences against a Women” in their courses.(5)

Recent Instances showing the biasedness towards the man-

  1. In the Lucknow cab driver and Priyadarshani case-In this case the girl created a fuss on the road and constantly slapped the cab driver accusing him of hitting her and harassing her. This case took a lot of limelight on social media and later through CCTV recording and various interviews it was proved that the girl lied but by that time the guy already had suffered a lot.

  2. Zomato case (Bangalore)-This case was also similar to the Lucknow case as the girl in this case also falsely accused the delivery boy of hitting her which later turned out to be false but no action was taken against the girl.

  3. Boys' locker room-This case was regarding the chats which were leaked and it consisted of chats like threats of raping, defaming some girls and sharing their pictures, sexism by some boys and immediate action was taken against them but later in this case only one of the women who had initially outed the group has had her old conversations leaked which show her sexualising men and using homophobic and misogynistic language. The chats also show the woman mocking the differently-abled but no action was taken against the girls.

  4. Vijay Nair case (Mumbai), Sushant Arora case (Noida), A Delhi based MBA student case, Amit case a marketing professional from Delhi, Rizwan case (Gurgaon)-These all are the cases of cyberstalking where the woman stalked them and harassed them but no action was taken against them because as per IPC stalking can only be committed by a man.

Even the supreme court lawyer Karnika Seth said that “The in cyberstalking cases earlier the victim was 75% woman but now the ratio is 50:50.”(6)

As per US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about16.5% of complaints of sexual harassment the commission receives annually, are from men. (7)

In a survey on 222 Indian men.16,1% has been coerced in having sex but as stated by section 375 of IPC it is only a women issue.

Why it should be made gender neutral-

Sexual Harassment of men requires more eagerness than some other climbing wrongdoing or issue since male suicides at work environments are four times more than female suicides in working environments

A large number of cases are registered at the Police station by the ladies or by her family members blaming men in regard for sexual offences but how many of them are true? Do every objection made are valid? The appropriate response is no, as the media is growing very fast and also by seeing the cases of Priyadarshani (Lucknow case) and Zomato (Bangalore) case it is very much clear that not all allegations made are true. Several women may misuse the law to seek revenge or threaten a man(8) as the Indian law is not gender neutral and always favours them and gives strict punishment for the same to the accused. In 2014 Delhi Commission of women filed stated that 53.2% of cases filed between April 2013-July 2014 were false.

Due to this the ones who are right even suffer. Due to false cases filed and the law being misused even the moments like #metoo lost their creditability as one survey showed that 45% of people concerned that it would be false and also the one who actually suffers is also seen with doubtful eyes.

And also as the social media and technology is widely growing the identity of the man is even revealed and as the consequence of these fake allegation they lose their job,a black mark is placed on their carrier, are treated oddly by the society and are even harassed on social media through various hatred comments violating article 21 i.e., right to live with dignity.

Indian constitution gives equal rights to all its citizens through fundamental rights but not making sexual harassment gender-neutral is the violation of one of the Integral parts of the Indian Constitution i.e., Fundamental rights stated in part III and also known as the Magna Carta of the Indian Constitution.


Women in India are shielded by the various rules in India and they can complain about grievances against anybody for the encroachment of their privileges. In spite of having equivalent crucial rights given to men and females, the privileges of men are not identified when contrasted with ladies. A crime is a crime whether committed by a woman or a man. Everyone should have the right to be heard and should have equal rights irrespective of their gender. Man, also has feelings and harassment affects them equally as it affects the woman. There should be provisions made regarding the false allegations. Man, equally have access to its rights like women have. Sexually unbiased laws have been discovered and acknowledged in roughly 77 nations all throughout the world including, the U.K., Denmark, Australia, the U.S. etc. The lack of law to protect the man in India doesn’t show equality of justice as guaranteed by our constitution. They are also humans who have all the rights to be treated equally and live with dignity and it is the responsibility of the state to protect their rights.

“Imagine a bold plan for a world without discrimination, in which women and men are equal partners in shaping their societies and lives. Let’s picture it”

- Nicole Kidman


1.  Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 3011
2.  Art.14, Constitution of India,1950.
3.  State of Punjab v Ramdev Singh
4.  Rishi Malhotra v. Union of India.

6. formen/articleshow/59179132.cms
8.  Case of Honey trap

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