Supreme Court rejects petition seeking to make molestation, rape offenses gender neutral
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition that was filed to make molestation and rape offenses gender neutral.
"These are affirmative provisions for the protection of women and in their favour. We cannot agree with your argument. This appears to us like an imaginative petition.Actually these are valid classification", said a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak.
"Amending a legislation was the job of the parliament."it's up to the parliament. We cannot direct the parliament to collect data regarding it," the bench added.
"We are not saying a woman cannot rape a man but these come under a different offence under IPC", CJI Misra told.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court last month seeking to declare the offences of rape, sexual assault, outraging of modesty, voyeurism and stalking in the Indian Penal Code as gender-neutral.
The petition sought to declare the word 'any man' used in the provisions for such offences under IPC, as ultra vires of the Constitution.
The plea, filed by petitioner advocate Rishi Malhotra, said the reading of the concerned sections categorically demonstrates that all offences under the related provisions would always be committed by an accused who happens to be a 'man' and the victim would always be a 'woman'.
"Declare the word 'any man' used under the offences under section 354 IPC, 354A IPC, 354B IPC, 354C IPC, 354D IPC and also section 375 IPC being ultravires the Constitution and in violation of Article 14 and Article 15 of the Constitution and should be struck down as it violates principle of gender neutrality on the basis of sex," the plea said.
It also claimed that section 354 of the IPC which deals with assault of or criminal force against a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty and its allied provisions do not stipulate any law to protect the modesty of a man.
"There are cases where women bully men and go unprosecuted because the law in our country does not protect men from such crimes," Malhotra claimed in his plea.