[Trigger Warning: This explainer contains information on physical violence, sexual violence, abuse and slurs which some readers may find disturbing.]
If someone inappropriately touches a person with a sexual intention, it is a crime under the law. The touch may or may not be forceful, but the perpetrator will still be punished for their actions. Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.1
The sexual touch is inappropriate if it is with a sexual intention and without a person’s consent. Some examples are:
- Making someone feel uncomfortable, scared or annoyed. For example, touching a person longer than needed.
- Touching a person with the intention to sexually harass them.2 For example, touching a person without their permission on any visible skin on a person’s body, be it under or over their clothes.
- Causing any injury or harm to the person.3 For example, spanking a person4 or forcefully touching their body.5
The punishment for inappropriately touching someone is a jail time of minimum one year and maximum five years with a fine.6
- Section 354 and 354A(1)(i), Indian Penal Code, 1860.[↩]
- Ramkripal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2007) 11 SCC 265.[↩]
- Section 350, Indian Penal Code. [Commonly referred to as Criminal Force].[↩]
- Mrs. Rupan Deol Bajaj & Anr v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill & Anr 1995 SCC (6) 194.[↩]
- State of Rajasthan v. Hetram, 1982 Cr LR ( Raj) 522, T Manikandan v. State of Delhi and Others CRL.REV.P. 404/2016 Order dated: 10.01.2017, Digamber Harinkhede and Chhotu Alias Hanslal Harinkhede v. State of Madhya Pradesh.[↩]
- Section 354, Indian Penal Code, 1860.[↩]
Have a question you want to ask our legal experts?
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can happen in several ways. Actions such as following a person on the streets or in any public space, peeping into their bedroom, making sexual gestures at them while they are at work or in the classroom, singing lewd songs - all of this is sexual harassment.