Abuse of Position or Authority

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

[Trigger Warning: The following content contains information on physical violence and sexual violence which some readers may find disturbing.]

If a man has control over a woman because of his job or position, and uses this control to make a woman have sex with him, it is a crime.1 The law provides punishment for any person who abuses his position or fiduciary relationship (relationship of trust) to convince or seduce any woman to have sexual intercourse with him. The woman could be in his custody, under his charge or present in the premises. Here, sexual intercourse does not refer to rape, which is dealt with as a separate offence under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.

The person who persuades the woman to have sexual intercourse could be:

  1. a) in a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship; or
  2. b) a public servant; or
  3. c) superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home, other place of custody, or a women’s or children’s institution; or
  4. d) on the management or staff of a hospital.

In these cases, the person in authority is punishable with imprisonment for five to ten years, along with a fine.

For example, if a male jail superintendent asks a female prisoner to have sex with him in return for supporting her release, and thus convinces her to have sex with him, he is abusing his positon. In this case, he has not forced himself on her and committed rape, but convinced her to have sex with him by using his position of power.

  1. Section 376C, Indian Penal Code, 1860.[]

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