VOYEURISM – A SILENT CRIME
Author: Khushboo Dhaka, II year of B.A.,LL.B. from Mody University of Science and Technology
We live in a fastest-growing world while changes occur on a regular basis beside predicament of women in our society continues to progress slowly.Newspapers are full of extracts illustrating the truth of India's rising crime against women.We constantly witness horrible crimes happening to a women around us but we don’t give a damn until it happens to us.Almost every single woman in our society is subjected to face sexual harassments ,some we are aware of, and many of them go unheard and unnoticed.Voyeurism is one such crime against women that can serve as a springboard for more serious crimes.
The word voyeur derives from the French word 'voir,' which is derived from the Latin word 'videre,' both of which imply 'to see.'Voyeurism in broader perspective means gaining sexual pleasure by viewing or watching another, whether naked or engaged in any intimate or sexual action such as bathing, disrobing, or engaging in any behaviour that would normally be considered 'private.'Voyeurism victims are unaware that they are being watched, videotaped, or photographed because they assume they are in perfect privacy. Another key reason is that they have not given their agreement to such actions. The individual who engages in voyeurism is known as a voyeur or a peeping tom.
PROVISION UNDER IPC
Voyeurism is explicitly mentioned as an offense under Section 354 C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. According to this Section, voyeurism is committed by a man if he watches or captures the photographs of a woman when she is engaged in a private act and she believes it to be under those circumstances where she can reasonably presume the fact that no one is watching her.The perpetrator or any other individual who does the act on behalf of the perpetrator or the person who spreads such images can be the offender.In India, the offence has not been rendered gender-neutral, and can only be committed by a male against a woman. This section does not violate the country's equality principles because it is covered by Article 15(3) of the Indian Constitution and is a special provision for women.
The term 'private act' has been defined for this Section in Explanation 1 of the Section, which states that any act committed in areas that are normally considered private, or in circumstances in which the victim's genitals or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using the washroom or is engaged in a sexual act. Basically, any behaviour that a person would not do in public under regular circumstances.
Explanation 2 clarifies that even if the victim consented to the capturing of photographs or any other conduct, she did not consent to the distribution or dissemination of her images to any other person, and if such images are disseminated, the act will be regarded an offence under this section.
If anyone is found guilty of voyeurism then
If he is convicted for the first time then he will be punished with imprisonment of one year which can be extended to three years and will also be liable for fine.
But if he is a habitual offender then he will be liable for imprisonment of three years which can be extended to seven years
Voyeurism is introduced to Indian laws after a heinous gang rape of 23-year old lady was reported in 2012(Nirbhaya case) .The Justice Verma Committee was formed, and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2013, was passed. The Committee's report examines privacy in the context of other jurisdictions, where the right to privacy is viewed as a right to personal development and autonomy that allows for interaction even in public settings.
ELECTRONIC VOYEURISM UNDER IT ACT,2008
The Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008, which came into action on October 27, 2009 introduced electronic voyeurism under Informational Technology Act,2000.In the case of KS Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017), the right to privacy is one of the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 (right to life) to protect invasion of privacy by any other person through electronic means, so Section 66-E was incorporated into the IT Act, 2000, which criminalises all acts such as transmitting, recording, capturing, recording of obscenity, and capturing a sexually explicit act.The Section 66E Information Technology Act of 2008 recognises the right to protect the human body from obscene and unreasonable intrusion by video technology, and adequately protects individual privacy from the crime of video voyeurism, which destroys personal privacy and dignity by secretly videotaping or photographing unsuspecting individuals.
R v Jarvis(2019)
The Supreme Court of Canada issued a major ruling in the matter of R v Jarvis in February 2019, interpreting the definition of "reasonable expectation of privacy" in the context of section 162(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada regarding voyeurism.
FACTS - Ryan Jarvis (Jarvis) worked at Beal Secondary School (School) in London, Ontario, for the Thames Valley District School Board. He used to teach children ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old, and he was never accused of anything related to his teaching or behaviour. Jarvis was secretly filming female pupils using a pen with a built-in camera, and the movies were shot without their knowledge.
He was not given authority to do so by the school or the school board. When the coworker discovered this, he alerted the school's principal, who then informed the police. It was discovered that there were 17 active films of 30 different individuals, 27 of whom were female students at the school. The audio and video material concentrated on female breasts. Jarvis was charged with voyeurism under section 162(1) (c) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Jarvis' actions were immoral and in violation of his professional obligations, according to the trial judge. Because the recording for a sexual purpose of the test was not successful, Jarvis was declared not guilty of the crime and acquitted.
However, the Supreme Court of Canada held him guilty since the recording went against the school board's rules and the trust connection between a teacher and a pupil. The videos were directed at specific female pupils, with a focus on their breasts in several cases. Students would never expect a teacher to document their school in this manner. They seemed to have a fair expectation of privacy.
State v. Shailesh (2019)
Justice SusheelBalaDagar concluded in the matter of State v. Shailesh (2019) that voyeurism is a silly form of entertainment for men but causes mental agony for women. Women's right to privacy is violated by such activities, and they feel insecure in locations that are supposed to be safe for women.
In the recent case a 31-year-old male staff nurse from Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopedics has been arrested for voyeurism after a woman doctor stumbled on a mobile phone on record mode in the room she was changing.
Despite the numerous legal mechanisms in place to penalise those who commit crimes against women, cases involving women (such as rape, outraging a woman's modesty, sexual harassment, dowry deaths, and so on) are increasing at an alarming rate.In which Voyeurism is one of the most prevalent crimes confronting India today. This particular offence and the related remedies are less well-known among us, particularly among women. The necessity of being aware of the rules and regulations, particularly those pertaining to women's protection, cannot be overstated. Well-drafted laws will not close the gap unless and until they are efficiently implemented. Even after more than 70 years of freedom, the individual continues to battle for personal liberty and space.