[Trigger Warning: This explainer contains information on physical violence, sexual violence, abuse and slurs which some readers may find disturbing.]
If anyone says anything sexual to or sexually threatens a person, it is a crime under the law. Currently, only a man can be punished for the crime.1
Some examples of sexual remarks are:
- A remark or statement that feels sexual to a person.
- An ordinary remark which isn’t exactly sexual in nature but has a sexual implication to it.2 For example, a metaphor or innuendo.
Sexual threats can be verbal, gestural or written.3 There is a higher punishment for such acts. A statement or behaviour is a sexual threat if:
- It is sexual and is intended to scare, hurt or annoy a person.4
- It is made to warn a person of an inappropriate touch or any forceful sexual act which is about to happen.4
The punishment for making sexual threats or remarks is jail time of minimum one year and maximum five years along with a fine.3
- Section 354A(1)(iv), Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 354A, Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Jishu Sengupta & Others v. The State of West Bengal & Anr, 2017 CriLJ 1531.
- Section 354, Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Section 350, Indian Penal Code, 1860.