Indecent Representation of Women Act
The Union Cabinet on 11 October 2012 approved the
introduction of Amendments to the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition)
Act, 1986 in Parliament under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The amendments proposed are as:
Broaden the scope of the law to cover the audio-visual media and material in
electronic form which includes Internet, satellite- based communication,
multi-media messaging and cable television, among others.
Penalties to be enhanced to a maximum of three years of imprisonment and fine
of between 50000 to 100000 Rupees for first conviction, and imprisonment of not
less than two years, but which may extend to seven years, and a fine between
100000 Rupees to 500000 Rupees for second conviction.
Police officers not below the rank of Inspectors authorized to carry out
search and seizure, in addition to State and Central Government officers
authorized by the State or Central Government. The Act was enacted in 1986 to
prohibit the indecent representation of women through advertisement,
publication, writing, and painting or in any other manner. With the increased
use of advanced technology and communication devices in everyday life, the
Government felt the scope of the Act should be amended. The amendments were
introduced after consultations with stakeholders, including lawyers and civil
society organisations, on the draft Bill.
Some Facts about Indecent representation of women Act:
The act under its ambit covers:
Advertisement which 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.
Distribution which includes distribution by way of samples whether
free or otherwise. Indecent representation o f 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.
Label means any written, marked, stamped, printed or graphic
matter, affixed to, or appearing upon, any package. Package includes a box, a
carton, tin or other container. The Union Cabinet has consented to amend the
“Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986” in Parliament
broadening its scope and imposing stricter penalties. This law aims at curbing
indecent representation and increased objectification of women through
advertisement, publication, writing and painting or in any other manner.
In view of modern communication channels development of newer
forms of communication such as internet and satellite-based communication,
multimedia messaging, cable television etc. , a need was felt to address such
media such as mms and internet- based platforms which indulge in spreading
messages, pictures and representations denigrating the honour of women. By
covering these newer forms of communications, more effective protection was
Some of the major changes
effected will be:
(1) Audio-video and electronic media covered
(2) Enhanced penalties
- First Conviction – three years of imprisonment and fine of
between Rs.50,000 to Rs.1,00,000
- Second Conviction imprisonment of not less than two years, but
which may extend to seven years, and a fine between Rs.1,00,000 to
(3) Authorised government officers and police officers not below the
rank of Inspectors authorized to carry out search and seizure.
Some relevant Acts which supplements Indecent Representation of Women
(Prohibition) Act, 1986:
- Press and Registration of Book Act 1867
- The Information Technology Act, 2000: This Act has made provisions
against indecenet and inappropriate representation of women.
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