Provisions regarding Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

Provisions regarding Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

Index

What is Indecent Representation of Women?
What is the meaning of obscene, and what relevant provisions are under the IPC Act, 1860?
Who can enter and search a place? 
Is Indecent Representation of Women offense cognizable and bailable?
Punishment of Indecent Representation of Women
Rulemaking power regarding the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986


What is Indecent Representation of Women?

According to Section 2(c): “Indecent representation of women” means the depiction of women in,

  • Any form of a woman, or
  • A figure of a woman, or
  • Body of a woman, or 
  • Any part of a woman

Thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being 

  • Derogatory
  • Indecent
  • Denigrating

Of women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt, or injure the public morality or morals.


What is the meaning of obscene, and what relevant provisions are under the IPC Act, 1860

Obscene word is not defined in the IPC 1860. The term was initially used to describe anything disgusting, repulsive, filthy, or foul. ‘Obscene’ means offensive to chastity or modesty.

In the Indian Penal Code, 1860, obscenity-related provisions are given under Section 292, Section 293, and Section 294. These provisions prohibit indecent representation of women by publications, especially in advertisements.

Case: Aveek Sarkar vs. State of West Bengal 2014

This was the landmark judgment regarding obscenity. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that a photographer of Boris Becker and his fiancée in the nude photo shoot is not “obscene” within the meaning of Section 292 of IPC 1860. Because this photoshoot was related to breast cancer awareness, this case comes under section 4(a)(i) and considers this for the public good.

Case: Bobby Art International vs. Om Pal Singh Hoon 1996

This case is known as the “Bandit Queen” case. The Hon’ble Supreme Court differentiates A-Adult, U/A both adult and non-adult the Cinematograph Act, 1952(37 of 1952. 

Who can enter and search a place?
 
Section 5 of this Act gives power to the officer to enter and search any premises within their jurisdiction.

Section 5(1): Any gazetted officer authorized by the state government can make rules as may be prescribed subject, within their local limits of the region:

  1. Enter and search the officer at any reasonable time, any place where the officer considers it necessary to believe that an offense under this Act has been committed or is being committed;
  2. Officer can seize any advertisement or book, pamphlet, paper, painting, photograph, slide, film, writing, drawing, representation, or figure that it believes to violate any of the provisions of this Law;
  3. Officer has the power to examine any record, register, document, or any other material object found in any of the places referred to in Clause (a) section 5 if he has reason to believe that it may provide evidence of an offense punishable under this Act.

In the case of a private dwelling-house, the officer cannot enter and search without a warrant.

Section 5(2): The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (2 of 1974) shall extend to any search or seizure under this Act regarding any search or seizure carried out under the authority of a warrant issued under Section 94 of the said Code.

Section 5(3): according to this Clause, where any person seizes anything under Clause b and c of Section 5(1), he shall inform the nearest Magistrate as soon as possible. The Magistrate may take his instructions as to the custody thereof.


Is Indecent Representation of Women offense cognizable and bailable?

According to section 8 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, an offense is a cognizable and bailable offense recognized under this Act. It will be punishable as per section 6 of this Act.

Punishment of Indecent Representation of Women


Rulemaking power regarding the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

Rulemaking power Rule-making Section 10. According to this Section, the Central Government can make the rules by notifying in the official gazette. 

The Central Government can cover all or any of the following issues without prejudice to the generality of the preceding power, i.e.:

  • How to seize advertisements or other objects and how to make a list of confiscated items to the person from whom any advertisements or other things were taken;
  • Any other matter that may be required to be prescribed.

Any rule made under this Act as soon as may after it has been made shall be laid down before each House of Parliament while it is in session for a total period of thirty days, which may consist of one session or two or more successive sessions if both Houses agree to make any amendments before the end of the session immediately following the session or the consecutive sessions referred to above.

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Provisions regarding Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986