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Gender

SC Dismisses PIL Seeking to Make Sexual Offences Gender Neutral

The Supreme Court on Friday, 2 February, dismissed a plea seeking to make laws on sexual offences like rape, harassment, stalking, voyeurism, outraging of modesty, etc, gender-neutral ie applicable to both men and women.

As per a report in Live Law, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra termed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) an “imaginary petition.”

“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,” Live Law quoted the SC bench as saying.

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Supreme Court lawyer Rishi Malhotra, the petitioner, argued that “crime has no gender and neither should our laws. Women commit crime for the same reasons that men do,” as per the report.

The bench voiced the opinion that that it is up to the Parliament to look into the matter and revamp the penal code.

As per The Hindu, Justice DY Chandrachud observed:

So you are saying that a woman can stalk a man. Well, the law is open for change. Let the Parliament look into it.

The CJI reportedly added that provisions like rape were “women-protective” and cannot be used to make women perpetrators.

“Have you ever seen a woman file a complaint against a woman for rape? There are different sections for that,” The Hindu quoted CJI Dipak Misra as saying.

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As per the report in the English daily, the petitioner pointed out Article 15 of the Constitution, saying it prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. To which, the CJI responded saying that Article 15 was specifically intended to protect women and children from discrimination.

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