Everyone had their own dignity and respect, so the women too and demanded to be treated with dignity and respect. However, there are a lot of cases today where a woman’s modesty is violated. Violence against women are happening in many ways such as from rape, and marital rape to sex slavery, and now one of the most alarming issue happening is the vulgar display of women. Vulgar display means a representation of women in an indecent manner. Numerous laws of the Indian law state that “obscenity” is forbidden in all forms. We now have a standard by which to determine what is and is not obscene according to the Apex Court of India.
In Ranjit D. Udeshi vs State of Maharashtra Supreme Court established an obscenity test. A copy of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” in its unexpurgated version was sold by the appellant, a bookstore. He was found guilty under IPC Section 292. According to the Supreme Court, the part does not go beyond the range of restrictions allowed by clause 2 of Article 19 and constitutes a fair restriction on the right to free speech and expression. The book must be deemed pornographic in accordance with section 292 of the IPC. The term “obscene” in this section refers to more than just images, texts, etc. meant to induce arousal of a sexual nature. However, the mere depiction of sex and nudity in literature and art does not necessarily constitute obscenity.
In Chandrakant Kalyandas Kakodar v The State of Maharashtra And ors the Supreme Court ruled that “depending on the moral standards of current society, the idea of obscenity would differ from country to country.”
INDIAN LAWS PROTECTING THE OBSCENE TREATMENT OF WOMEN
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986: The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 works as a shield for women because it prevents women from being portrayed in obscene and offensive ways, it penalizes the degrading portrayal of women. The main purpose of this act is to restrict the obscene representation of women in publications, advertisements, writings, figures, paintings, and other media, as well as for issues related thereto. Section 2(c) of this act says that indecent portrays of women as, the representation of a woman’s shape, form, or body in any way that is demeaning to women immoral, or otherwise has those effects, or is likely to deprave, corrupt, or otherwise harm public morality or morals. Section 6 of this act gives punishment to those who do this offence for the first time i.e. imprisonment for 2 years and a fine which can be increased to two thousand rupees. This sections also punish repeat offenders i.e. imprisonment for 6months which can be increased to five years with a fine of not less than ten thousand and this fine can be increased up to one lakh rupees.
The Information Technology Act, 2000: Section 67 of the information technology act 2000 is very vast and it includes any kind of cyber pornography it unmistakably contains vulgarity, it reads anyone who publishes, transmits, or arranges for the publication of any material that is lascivious, appeals to the prurient interest, or if its effect tends to deprave and corrupt people who are likely, taking into account all pertinent circumstances, to read, see, or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, is prohibited from doing so in the electronic form. Section 67 of this act also prescribes punishment for the offenders who r doing this offence for the first time which is imprisonment for five years with a fine which can be increased to one lakh and for the subsequent offenders there is imprisonment for ten years and a fine of ten lahks.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995: Under rule 7(2) of this act it is clearly stated that a commercial that “violates the constitutional rights of all people in its depiction of women” is not allowed. For instance, advertisements that portray women negatively are not allowed.
Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India: Supreme Court gives the judgement that Article 21 doesn’t only talk about the existing physically but also the Right to live with dignity. Now, it is obvious that neither women nor men should be depicted in a degrading or vulgar way. Thus, Article 21 also discusses the fundamental right to dignity that comes with the right to life. The same was upheld in Chandra Rajkumari and Anr. V. Commissioner of Police, an Allahabad High Court case.
Ajay Goswami v. Union of India: The Apex Court held that, when examining the application of Section 292 IPC and Sections 3, 4, and 6 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, the commitment to free speech requires that it not be suppressed unless the circumstances that result from allowing that freedom are urgent and the public interest is in danger.
Numerous laws under Indian law protect women from being vulgarly portrayed in any media, including print and the internet. Another system was established by the Indian government to combat this problem. The Human Rights Commission, for instance, as well as other similar statutory and non-statutory agencies, but the urgent requirement is to alter the mindset. Despite having a robust legal system at our disposal, we are powerless to control or end this obscenity. It is necessary to hold social awareness campaigns to educate individuals on the inappropriateness of playing with the respect or dignity of either gender.
Author’s Name: Riya Singh (Army Law College, Pune)