INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN (PREVENTION) ACT, 1986
1. The Act
2. Indecent Representation of Women
3. The Journey of the Act
4. Need for the Law
5. Major provisions of the Law
6. Loopholes of the Act
7. New Act of 2012
8. Things overcome by the bill of 2012
9. Failure of the 2012 Amendment
10. Further Journey
The Indecent Representation of Women Act (1986) is the Act of Parliament of India. The Act intends to punish the indecent representation of women.
The Act prohibits the indecent representation of women through advertisements, paintings or any other manner. The Act was enacted considering the increased cases of indecent representation of women which had been rampant through misogynist trolls targeting women on social media.
WHAT IS INDECENT REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN
According to the Act, under section 2 (c)-Indecent representation of women is the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman or her body or any part of her body in a way such as to have the effect of being indecent or denigrating or likely to deprave, corrupt or injure morality of the public.
Ingredients of definition:
● The portrayal of women’s body
● Portrayal must be indecent
● The portrayal is to deprave, corrupt, or injure the morality of the public.
JOURNEY OF THE ACT
The original Bill, 1986 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha against the indecent representation of women. It was in revert to the claim by women’s movements. The claims were demanding a legislative action against the deprave representation of women in India. The Bill was initiated and introduced by Marget Alva, and it became the law with an effect from October 1987.
The law was enacted to aim at the regulation of the representation and portrayal of women in ordinary media. It continues to be in force primarily focusing on print media.
NEED OF THE ACT
With the advanced technologies, there is also a development in electronic media platforms and the internet as well. Owing to the same, there was a need for the Act.
The Penal Code has laws relating to the obscenity under Sections 292, 293 & 294. In spite of such strict provisions, there is an increase in the indecent representation of women. The effect is such representations are corrupt and depraving. Therefore, the need was felt to enact special legislation specifically to prohibit the indecent representation of women through advertisements or any other media platform.
MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THE ACT
● The Act, under section 4, penalizes the persons involved in any publication or distribution of the material which includes the indecent depiction or picturization of women.
● The Act imposes penalty as per the provision of Section 6 and punishes the offender with imprisonment for a term up to 2 years which may extend to 5 years on subsequent conviction.
LOOPHOLES IN THE ACT
The Act has limited scope due to the reason of Fake Avatars and also due to its applicability on the Print Media.
The definition of Indecent Representation is defined in an ambiguous and vague manner. It focuses on the material that intends to deprave or corrupt the morality which has intermixed the term indecency and morals. So, ambiguity hinders the effective and efficient implementation of the laws.
NEW ACT OF 2012
The Bill of 2012 proposed various amendments in the Act:
● Amendment in the definitions of term “advertisement” to include digital form or hoardings or SMS or MMS, the definition of distribution to include publication, license or communication, or uploading content on the computer.
● Insertion of a new definition of “Publish”.
● Section 4 includes that no person shall publish or distribute or cause to be published or cause to be distributed by any means any material which contains indecent representation of women in any form.
● Penalty to be more of similarity with IT Act, 2000.
● Creation of Authorities under the guidance of the National Commission of Women.
● Such authority to be authorized to receive complaints regarding any program or advertisement relating to the indecent representation of women.
NEED FOR NEW LAW OF 2012
● The indecent objectification of women has increased.
● The scope of the new law is broader as compared to the law of 1986.
● The technological revolution has resulted in new forms of media.
● These advancements necessitated the scope to be widened so as to cover the new forms of communication over the internet to strengthen the safeguards and prevention of indecent representation of women.
THINGS OVERCOME BY NEW LAW
● Changes in definitions of Indecent Representation of women, Electronic form, Publish have been incorporated.
● Punishment has been amended to be at least three years jail for the first conviction and may extend up to seven years for subsequent convictions. Also, the fine of Rs. 1 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh respectively.
● The scope has been widened now.
● The television programs and films are also brought within the ambit of the Act.
FAILURE OF THE 2012 ACT
● The Definition of Indecent representation is still vague.
● The definition of obscenity is too vague.
● The shift in the focus of freedom of women to express their sexuality in a different way that makes the offense undistinguished.
● Nudity is never equal to indecency.
● The standards to determine the things to be covered under the Indecent Representation of Women.
● Education and awareness of the laws and offenses is the need of the hour.
● Society has to pave the way with the freedom of women.
● Compatibility of laws and their application is required to a great extent. Because the efficacy of law only lies in its applicability.
● Marginalisation of women and making them the objects of humor is to be crushed by society.
Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan