Provisions for men and other genders

As per law, a woman of any age whether employed or not can file a complaint. However, today several organizations have gender neutral policies as well. If that is the case in your organization, it would mean that all individuals, irrespective of their age, gender or employment status can file a complaint. These complaints may be handled by the Internal Committee or the HR or any other team (as prescribed in the policy of your organization). To check options and remedies available to you within the organization, we strongly recommend you to read the policy of your organization. There are no special laws for men and other genders, as there are for women, to protect them from sexual harassment, however, following are some of the remedies available outside of your organization (i.e. in case you are a man or other gender and wish to file a complaint of sexual harassment with the police or court):

Some remedies available under the Constitution of India, 1949:

Equality before law (Article 14): The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc. (Article 19): (1) All citizens shall have the right (a) to freedom of speech and expression; (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form associations or unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and (g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

Protection of life and personal liberty (Article 21): No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

Some remedies available under Indian Penal Code, 1908 (for filing FIR/criminal complaint):

Printing, etc., of grossly indecent or scurrilous matter or matter intended for blackmail (Section 292A): Whoever (a) prints or causes to be printed in any newspaper, periodical or circular, or exhibits or causes to be exhibited, to public view or distributes or causes to be distributed or in any manner puts into circulation any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent, or in scurrilous or intended for blackmail; or (b) sells or lets for hire, or for purposes of sale or hire makes, produces or has in his possession, any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail; or (c) conveys any picture or any printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail knowing or having reason to believe that such picture or document will be printed, sold, let for hire distributed or publicly exhibited or in any manner put into circulation; or (d) takes part in, or receives profits from, any business in the course of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such newspaper, periodical, circular, picture or other printed or written document is printed, exhibited, distributed, circulated, sold. let for hire, made, produced, kept, conveyed or purchased or (e) advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever that any person is engaged or is ready to engage in any Act which is an offence under this section, or that any such newspaper, periodical, circular, picture or other printed or written document which is grossly indecent or is scurrilous or intended for blackmail, can be procured from or through any person; or (f) offers or attempts to do any act which is an offence under this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. There are provisos to this section which will need to be checked.

Obscene acts and songs (Section 294): Whoever, to the annoyance of others (a) does any obscene act in any public place, or (b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

Hurt (Section 319): Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt. Sections related to grievous hurt can also be checked.

Act endangering life or personal safety of others (Section 336): Whoever does any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred and fifty rupees, or with both.

Wrongful restraint (Section 339): Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person. There are exceptions to this section which will need to be checked.

Force (Section 349): A person is said to use force to another if he causes motion, change of motion, or cessation of motion to that other, or if he causes to any substance such motion, or change of motion, or cessation of motion as brings that substance into contact that other’s body, or with anything which that other is wearing or carrying, or with anything so situated that such contact affects that other’s sense of feeling. There are provisos to this section which will need to be checked.

Criminal force (Section 350): Whoever intentionally uses force to any person, without that person’s consent, in order to the committing of any offence, or intending by the use of such force to cause, or knowing it to be likely that by the use of such force he will cause injury, fear or annoyance to the person to whom the force is used, is said to use criminal force to that other.

Assault (Section 351): Whoever makes any gesture, or any preparation intending or knowing it to be likely that such gesture or preparation will cause any person present to apprehend that he who makes that gesture or preparation is about to use criminal force to that person, is said to commit an assault. This section also has an explanation which states that mere words do not amount to an assault. But the words which a person uses may give to his gestures or preparation such a meaning as may make those gestures or preparations amount to an assault.

Assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor person, otherwise than on grave provocation (Section 355): Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, intending thereby to dishonor that person, otherwise than on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Unnatural offences (Section 377): Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 152[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. There are explanations to this section as well. There has been a judgment in this regard recently. Click here to read more.

Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace (Section 504): Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Punishment for criminal intimidation (Section 506): Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc. – and if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute, unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or With fine, or with both.

Criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication (Section 507): Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.

Act caused by inducing person to believe that he will be rendered an object of the Divine displeasure (Section 508): Whoever voluntarily causes or attempts to cause any person to do anything which that person is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do anything which he is legally entitled to do, by inducing or attempting to induce that person to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered by some act of the offender an object of Divine displeasure if he does not do the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to do, or if he does the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to omit, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment (Section 511): Whoever attempts to commit an offence punishable by this Code with imprisonment for life or imprisonment, or to cause such an offence to be committed, and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence, shall, where no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such attempt, be punished with imprisonment of any description provided for the offence, for a term which may extend to one-half of the imprisonment for life or, as the case may be, one-half of the longest term of imprisonment provided for that offence, or with such fine as is provided for the offence, or with both.

Some remedies available under Information Technology Act, 2000:

Tampering with computer source documents (Section 65): Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroy, or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both. There are explanations to this section as well.

Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form (Section 67): Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeal to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Breach of confidentiality and privacy (Section 72): Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, if any person who, in pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

There are some remedies available under civil laws and labour laws also.

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