eve teasing

In this blogpost, Priyanka Kansara, a student of IIIrd year, National Law University, Jodhpur writes on what is eve teasing, whether it is a criminal wrong or a civil wrong, what are its impact on society and whether it encroaches the right to privacy or not.

“Woman is not a born women, she is made a one”                            -Simone de Beauvoir

Eve Teasing

There is no uniform law in this country to curb eve-teasing effectively in or within the precinct of educational institutions, places of worship, bus stands, metro-stations, railway stations, cinema theatres, parks, beaches, places of festival, public service vehicles or any other similar place. Eve-teasing occurs in public places which can be effectively curbed, with a little effort, Consequences of not curbing such a menace, needless to say, at times are disastrous. There are many instances where young girls are harassed, which sometimes may lead to serious psychological problems and even committing suicide. Every citizen in this country has right to live with dignity and honour which is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Sexual harassment like eve- teasing of women amounts to violation of rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 as well. We notice in the absence of effective legislation to contain eve-teasing, normally, complaints are registered under Section 294 or Section 509 IPC.[1]

The term eve teasing is referred as Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment of women, verbally, or by making vulgar gestures or by winking, whistling or staring, in public places such as in streets, public transportation, park and many places of public meeting. A per the guidelines given by the Supreme Court in the case of Vishakha vs. State of Rajasthan[2], sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, such as- Physical Contact, a demand or request for sexual favour, sexually favoured remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a social nature, for example leering, telling obscene jokes, making sexual remarks about a person’s body etc. There is no logic behind considering men always perpetrators; Men are not born with such scandalous behaviour. It is learnt due to the sexist and patriarchal environment prevailing in the Society, which perpetuates control over women’s sexuality, fertility and labour.

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Eve teasing today has become pernicious, horrid and disgusting practice. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Rupan Bajaj & Another vs. KPS Gill[3] has explained the meaning of ‘modesty’ in relation to women. More and more girl students, women etc. go to educational institutions, work places etc. and their protection is of extreme importance to a civilized and cultured society. The experiences of women and girl children in over-crowded buses, metros, trains, etc. are horrendous and a painful ordeal.

The Parliament is currently considering the Protection of Woman against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, which is intended to protect female workers in most workplaces. Provisions of that Bill are not sufficient to curb eve-teasing. Before undertaking suitable legislation to curb eve-teasing, it is necessary to take at least some urgent measures so that it can be curtailed to some extent. Certain preventive measures to be taken were prescribed for the States and the Union Territories; moreover, a moral duty and responsibility was imposed on the passers-by on noticing such incident, they should also report the same to the nearest police station or to Women Helpline to save the victims from such crimes.

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Stalking and its impacts on the Society: We need a Candle in the Dark

A popular category of Eve teasing is stalking which Indian Law has not looked as a serious issue; stalking is much graver than eve teasing; it is an obsessive behaviour. However, stalking is now described as a separate term for women after Priyadharshini Matoo Case[4]. The general definition of Stalking can be described as repeated harassing or threatening behaviour by an individual, such as following a person, appearing at person’s home, person’s workplace, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects or vandalizing person’s property[5]. A Stalker can be imprisoned for a period up to seven years as per Sexual Assault Prevention Bill proposed by the National Commission.[6] However, the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 provides for imprisonment for up to three years as a punishment for stalking. The Act proposed to have section 354D to define the act of Stalking; The provision prescribes that ‘Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person.’ Hence, under the new law, constant, unwanted interaction of any one person with another, for any reason, can be made punishable, if the action results in fear of violence or distress in any person, or interferes with their mental peace.

 If we had a better Law, Priyadarshini Mattoo wouldn’t have died. But she did. And every year, a little obituary in the newspapers underlines the fact that the young girls were assaulted, raped and murdered after being stalked for days. We need to have a stringent law to curb those incidents so that no more Priyadharshini could kill herself. Besides having better Legal Provisions, we need to sensitize and aware people about it so that no girl is molested in any way in public places.

Whether Eve teasing a Civil wrong or Criminal wrong-?

Eve teasing is a civil wrong. The perpetrator causes injury to the plaintiff mentally as well as physically. It is an encroachment on the Women’s Right to Privacy and her dignity. Though there are certain provisions in the Indian Penal Code, which describes and define eve teasing.

Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred as the IPC) says that “Whoever, to the annoyance of others- (a) does any obscene act in any public place, or (b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song; ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both. Section 354 provides for the punishment for the offences involving force intended to outrage the modesty of a woman coupled with the intention to outrage her. Furthermore, Section 509 of the IPC says, “Whoever intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending, that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine or with both”.

With the widespread protest against increasing Sexual Offences in India, the Indian Parliament has passed Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, which brought in certain other protective features, such as, Section 354A protects women against sexual harassment; acts such as physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overture; or a demand or request for sexual favours; or making sexual sexually coloured remarks.

There are certain provisions for the preventions of Sexual Assault cases; ironically, the term eve teasing is not mentioned anywhere in the Indian Penal Code; as Eve teasing is an attitude, mindset, and a particular set of behaviour.

In the case of Deputy Inspector General of Police & Anr. vs. S. Samuthiram[7], Hon’ble Apex Court has stated that eve teasing is a euphemism, a conduct which attracts penal action but it is seen, only in one state, a statue has been enacted, that is Tamil Nadu to contain the same, the consequence of which may at times be drastic. Eve teasing led to the death of a woman in 1998 in Tamil Nadu which led the government bringing an ordinance, namely, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve Teasing Ordinance, 1998, which later became an Act, namely the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve Teasing Ordinance, 1998 (for short ‘the Eve Teasing Act).The Government are of the view that eve teasing is a menace to society as a whole and has to be eradicated; for that concern the State Government of Tamil Nadu has taken a step towards legislating the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of eve teasing Act, 1998 (TN Act No. 44 of 1998), the objective of this Legislative piece is to prohibit eve-teasing in any place in the State of Tamil Nadu. The incident of eve teasing is defined under this Act in such a way that any prudent person can understand it states that any incident conduct or act by a man which causes or is likely to cause intimidation, fear or shame or embarrassment to a woman, including abusing or causing hurt or nuisance to, or assault, use of force on a woman.[8] The extent of the incident of Eve-teasing was broadened by including any educational institution, temple or other place of worship, bus stop, road, railway station, cinema theatre, park, beach, place of festival, public service vehicle or any other place to prevent this kind of incidents.

Eve Teasing: An Encroachment to Right to Privacy

The discourse over the Privacy devolves on the Principle of Morality as to what is seen as acceptable as per Indian moral and values.  But it is not true; the significance of Morality should be entrusted to the Constitutional Morality, not just on the Societal Morality. The act of eve teasing is Constitutionally Immoral, as it engulfs the essence of person’s Right to Privacy by its unwanted interference into his/her Life.

Another question arises of whether the act of eve teasing is a violation of their Right to Privacy. Eve teasing is the violation of their Fundamental Right to Life as it encroaches on their Privacy as it attacks the honour, dignity and self-respect of a woman. With instances of threats to individual privacy on the rise in India, it is high time that the criminal law expands its scope to deal with offences which violate physical privacy.

Frederick has artistically, defined the incidents of Eve teasing; he feels eve teasing is an inappropriate term. He says that eve-teasing is a term that highlights the offender’s perception of the act; and by continuing to use it, we are supporting the eve teaser, unwittingly though. It is time that we painted this menace in the dark colours that it deserves.

To know more on the related topics, please click on the links below:

Eve-teasing: Is It Really A Crime?

What To Do When You’re Being Sexually Harassed

An Open Letter by a Woman: Body Shaming vs. Human Rights

The psychology of Sexual Harassment


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[1] Deputy Inspector General of Police & Anr vs S.Samuthiram, (2013) 1 SCC 598.

[2] (1997) 6 SCC 241.

[3] (1995) 6 SCC 194.

[4] Santosh Kumar Singh vs State through CBI, (2010) 9 SCC 747.

[5] US Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) 2004, http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/HelpVictim.aspx (accessed on December 13 2015).

[6] Stalkers Beware!, The Telegraph, November 13, 2015, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051113/asp/look/story_5466482.asp (accessed on December 13, 2015).

[7] Supra Note 1.

[8] s. 2 (a), the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Eve-teasing Act, 1998 (TN Act No. 44 of 1998).


  1. I would like to know what is the Govt and the Police doing about eveteasing and harassment of women?Even when I visited How is is supposed to be a safe place,I witnessed alot of cases of women’s harassment.Isn’t it dangerous when innocent unsuspecting women are going to places like How and their is lurking danger there.Men are allowed to roam the streets freely drugged and drunk.All stags in Goa misbehaving.Why are their no signs and warnings put up?Why does the Govt and media give wrong portrayal of GOA as a safe state?

  2. if someome misuse this law like doing false reporte again and again in diffrent places like police station sp office dig office ig office and to collector.
    so in this case what should we do.
    now FIR registerd through collector

  3. If you are facing eve-teasing and want to fight fear with justice, check out ZARIYA (www.zariyaindia.org). We know it is difficult to reach out for help — With ZARIYA, submit just one piece of contact information and get help easily and anonymously! You’ll be connected to a counsellor within 48 hours at not charge.


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