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02 Feb 2018

Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking gender-neutral laws for sexual crimes

India is nowhere close to accepting that men too can be victims of sexual harassment and assault.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition demanding that the Indian Penal Code provisions dealing with sexual crimes such as rape, molestation, voyeurism and stalking be made gender neutral.

It said the law aimed to protect women and only Parliament could change it.

Here's more.

In context

India's not ready for gender-neutral sexual-assault laws yet

The petition

No provision to protect the modesty of men in India

Rishi Malhotra, the lawyer advocating the reform, said the IPC sections had no provision to protect the modesty of men and categorically label them as offenders and women as victim in all cases.

Calling the laws archaic, he suggested that the sections be made more inclusive by substituting the word "man" in the definition with "person" so that even women could be prosecuted.

SC's response

Men cannot be victims to sexual assault, says Supreme Court

Shockingly, the SC refused to acknowledge that a man could be stalked/molested, calling it "an imaginative situation".

It said, "Legislations come as a response to social and collective cry. These sections are victim-oriented and the Parliament has acknowledged a woman as the victim. We cannot ask Parliament to legislate."

"Parliament has recognized a degree of harm against women and framed this law," it added.

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