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What is sexual harassment?
Unwelcome physical contact by a man, any act she sees as an ‘advance’, demand for sexual favour. It is her perception of these, or a sexual innuendo, that matters. The man charged is likely to face three years in jail or a fine or both.
What is rape?
Penetration of any part of a woman’s body by the penis or any object without her consent. The man is charged with rape and faces seven years of rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to imprisonment for life and a fine.
If she says she never understood the nature and consequences of the act, or was intoxicated, or that her consent was obtained in fear of death or of hurt, the man faces imprisonment. And the punishment stays same.
What if a man has consensual sex with a junior colleague?
This could be deemed power rape, inviting five to ten years in jail. The notion of “consent” is of no consequence. If you are a public official (includes armed forces) and the victim was under your care, this too makes you liable for up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Is the law too draconian?
Law framed to protect women from a crime. The law has responded to a crying social need to protect women.
What about bail?
Bail is the right of an accused or undertrial so long as there is no threat of him. trying to coerce/intimidate the victim
Is rape bailable offence?
The courts can exercise discretion.
Will the new law affect male-female interactions in the office?
No. Awareness of the law and respect of women must be the sine qua non in offices and in professional interactions.
Does a complaint of rape necessarily lead to the arrest of the man?
Yes. But everyone is innocent in the eyes of law until proven guilty.
Compiled by Pragya Singh