What is voyeurism?
Krish Mahajan 20 July 2020
Voyeurism, implies the act of gaining s*xual pleasure from watching other people while they engage in s*xual activities or are naked. It can also be defined as the habit of spying on people doing actions that are generally regarded as private, such as engaging in s*xual activity or undressing. In voyeurism, the person being observed may have no connection with the voyeur in any way.
Voyeurism is not only a violation of a person’s privacy but also transforms into gross violation of human rights of women’s dignity and reputation thus also if a woman has agreed to engage in a s*xual act voluntarily, then video graphing the same and making it available to the third person without her consent shall be punishable as once recorded video finds a place in the p*rnographic market.
It was introduced in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which relates to s*xual offences. The Amendment came following the outrage in the nation at that time regarding the brutal gang-rape in 2012 in Delhi.
Section 354C of Indian penal code talks about voyeurism which states that any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image1 shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either descripttion for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either descripttion for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation to this provides that
Hope this helps
Sunidhi Singh 09 January 2021
What is Voyeurism?
Simply put, voyeurism is peeping in to someone else’s private life without permission or consent when they are partly or fully naked, to derive s*xual pleasure.
Let us understand the concept of voyeurism by digging a little deep.
The word ‘voyeurism’ is of French origin. It has been derived from the word ‘voyeur’, which has further been derived from the word ‘voir’. ‘Voir’ means ‘see’ and ‘voyeur’ is a noun in the French language which means ‘one who sees’. Voyeurism is the act that the voyeur does. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘voyeurism’ is the “practice of obtaining s*xual gratification from observing others”.
Is this a crime in India?
Yes, voyeurism is explicitly declared to be a crime under Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code. This crime got inserted in IPC by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 on the recommendations of Justice JS Verma Committee.
So, what triggered the insertion of voyeurism as a crime in IPC?
Even though voyeurism has been happening since always, it got included as a crime in the year 2013 when the heinous Delhi Gang Rape Case shook the nation’s conscience. Justice JS Verma Committee was constituted on December 23, 2012 to make recommendations for making the justice delivery system more efficient in cases of s*xual assault against women. ‘Stalking’ and ‘Voyeurism’ were introduced as a result of their recommendations for the protection of women’s privacy, among other things.
Is the crime of voyeurism under IPC gender neutral?
Under the Indian Penal Code, the crime of voyeurism is not gender neutral. It got introduced as a consequence of the recommendations by the Committee set up to make the laws dealing with s*xual assault of women more effective and stringent. Therefore, voyeurism under Section 354C IPC is a crime only against women.
What does the provision for Voyeurism in IPC say?
Voyeurism is dealt with under Section 354C as a substantive offence affecting the human body in Chapter XVI of the IPC.
Section 354C, IPC clearly states that it is punishable if a man or any other person at the behest of him ‘watches, or captures images of a woman engaged in a private act or disseminates any such images’. It is necessary that such an act must have been done without the consent of the woman and also in such circumstances in which she would not reasonably have the expectation of being watched by any other person.
What would be considered a private act?
In order to do away with any kind of ambiguities, an inclusive definition of ‘private act’ has been provided in IPC itself as Explanation 1 to Section 354C. It states that ‘private act’ includes acts of watching done in a place which would reasonably be expected to provide privacy in those circumstances and where any of the following is the case:
What if the victim had consented to the capturing of such images?
Under Explanation 2 of Section 354C, if a woman had consented for the capturing of such images and not to their disseminating to the third parties, it will be an offence if those images get disseminated.
What is the punishment for Voyeurism?
Under Section 354C, the punishment has been provided for first and second conviction as follows:
Imprisonment of not less than 1 year but which may extend to 3 years and a fine.
Imprisonment of not less than 3 years but which may extend to 7 years and fine.
What is the nature of this offence?
The offence of voyeurism is cognizable, bailable and triable by any Magistrate in case of first conviction. However, in the case of second conviction, the offence becomes non-bailable.
Are there any other laws dealing with Voyeurism in India?
Yes, there is a provision regarding voyeurism in the Information Technology Act of 2000.
The IT Act deals with electronic voyeurism under Section 66E, which provides punishment for violation of privacy. It states that if a person intentionally captures, transmits or publishes images of private area of any person without that person’s consent, it is punishable.
It is necessary that such an act must have been done ‘under circumstances violating the privacy of that person’. It has been provided under Section 66E that the circumstances under which a person’s privacy could be violated would be circumstances in which the person feels that he or she can disrobe in privacy without being concerned of pictures being clicked or any of his or her private parts would not be visible even while in a public place.
The punishment is imprisonment which may extend to 3 years or with fine of not more than 2 lakhs or both.
In summary, voyeurism is a crime which involves capturing and dissemination of the pictures of private parts of an individual without his or consent, that too under those circumstances wherein the person does not have reasonable expectation of such a thing happening. It is a crime under Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code along with Section 66E of the IT Act when it comes to the electronic medium. However, the biggest difference between Section 354C of the IPC and Section 66E of the IT Act is that while the former concerned only with the protection of women, the latter is gender neutral.
That's all about voyeurism. Please do let me know if you have any other queries!
sneha jaiswal 11 April 2021
Hello, Greetings of the day!
Voyeurism is a sense of satisfaction derived from watching a woman engaged in her s*xual activities without her consent.
There are two types of offences of Voyeurism-
Ingredients of Voyeurism:
Hope it helps
Niharika Lohan 18 May 2023
The term voyeurism is derived from the French voir which means to see. However, that term is usually applied to a male who observes somebody secretly and, generally, not in a public space. The word voyeur means the ‘one who looks'. It is the habit of spying on people doing actions that are generally regarded as private, such as engaging in s*xual activity, breast feeding, urinating, engaged in some s*xual act or undressing. In voyeurism, the person being observed may have no connection with the voyeur in any way. Almost every woman in this society face the s*xual harassment -from the very tender age but many such goes unnoticed.
Our law has recognised and penalized this offense under 354 C of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Any person found guilty of this offence shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either descripttion for a term which shall not be less than one year, but whch may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either descripttion for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Here is a recent judgement of the Hon’ble Delhi HC for your reference.
I hope this answers your query and if you have further questions, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org