IPC 354C VOYEURISM
354C Voyeurism. – Any man who 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 liabkle 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.]
Voyeurism Defined: Voyeurism is derived from the French word voyeur which literally means “one who looks”. However, this term is usually conjoined to any male who observes a woman secretly. This section’s explanation takes the definition further to an instance where though the capturing of image can be with consent but it’s dissemination is not with consent.
So in first explanation Voyeurism in practiced when the woman is doing some activity in private like a taking a bath, feeding a baby, engaged in sexual act, urinating, changing clothes etc. A man secretly watches that act or captures images of that. Trial rooms and public restrooms are often said to have secret cameras installed by accused. Peeping tom is often how such people are referred.
And in the second explanation may involve intimacy between the accused and the woman, in which he captures photographs or videos of the woman during the intimate act and subsequently disseminates it to third party or on web or any other medium against the will or consent of that woman. Revenge Porn is one of such instance which is covered under this section.
Punishment: Any person found guilty of this offence shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but whch 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. Please note that the second of subsequent conviction is not second accusation of offence. Only after the accused has been punished once for the act, the second or subsequent offence commences thereafter.
This offence is bailable and is triable by any magistrate of first class.
Note: If a man captures any image or video and has not disseminated it, but is blackmailing or threatening the woman of dissemination, it is not a crime under this section. It is a separate crime of extortion which is applicable.
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