Review of Laws and Legislative Measures Affecting Women
by National Commission for Women (NCW)

No. 4: The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act,1986


Existing Provisions

Section 2: Definition - In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires; a) 'advertisement' includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document and also includes any visible representation made by means of any light, sound, smoke or gas. b) 'indecent representation of women' means the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman; her form or body or any part thereof in such way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.

Section 3: Prohibition of advertisements containing indecent representation of women - No person shall publish, or cause to be published, or arrange or take part in the publication or exhibition of, any advertisement which contains indecent representation of women in any form.

Section 4: Prohibition of publication or sending by post of books, pamphlets, etc. containing indecent representation of women - No person shall produce or cause to be produced, sell, let to hire, distribute, circulate or send by post any book, pamphlet, paper, slide, film, writing, drawing, painting, photograph, representation or figure which contains indecent representation of women in any;

Section 6: Penalty - Any person who contravenes the provisions of section 3 or section 4 shall be punishable on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for terms of not less than six months but which may extend to five years and also with a fine not less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees.

Suggested Amendments by NCW

Section 2: Definition - 'Clause a) under Section 2 on Definitions will read as: - 'advertisement' includes any notice, circular, label, poster, wrapper or other document and also includes any visible representation made by means of any laser light, sound, smoke, gas, fibre, optic electronic or other media' Clause c) of Section of the Act should read as - 'Derogatory or Indecent Representation of Women' means the depiction in any manner of the figure of a women, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of denigrating or of being Indecent or Derogatory to women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.'

Explanation : As the Commission has withdrawn the inclusion of the term 'derogatory', no amendments would be necessary in Section 3 or in the reading of Section 4 of the Act. Insertion of a New Clause 4A and 4B: The Commission agrees to the insertion of new clauses 4A and 4B, as follows:

Clause 4A - Publicity to be given to the provisions of the Act - '1) As soon as may be after the commencement of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 1988, the State Government shall take steps to make known the provisions of this Act to the public in such manner as it may think fit. 2) The taking of steps by the State Governments to publicize the provisions of the Act shall include the provision of this Act being translated into the local language and copies of the same along with the effective steps to be taken by the police as soon as a complain is received under Section 4B about violation of the provisions of the Act.

Clause 4B - Complaints of Member of public, etc. - It shall be open for any member of the public or any organization interested in the welfare and development of women to file a complaint in such time and in such manner as may be prescribed to the police authorities about any derogatory representation of women which is an offence under the Act and it shall be the duty of the police to expeditiously investigate the complaint and take necessary action to prosecute the person who is responsible for the contravention.

Section 6: - Penalty - In Section 6 on Penalty, the words 'and with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees' shall be substituted with the words 'and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees' and the words 'in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but which may extend to five years and also with a fine not less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to one lakh rupees' shall be substituted with the words 'in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but which may extend to five years and also with a fine not less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to five lakh rupees '.

 

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