Difference Between Ipc 354 And Ipc 354 A

19-Nov-2023 (In Criminal Law)
What is difference between sexual harassment and molestation?
Answers (4)

Answer #1
501 votes
In the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), Section 354 and Section 354A both deal with sexual offences against women. However, there are some differences between Section 354 IPC and 354A IPC; these are as follows:-

IPC Section 354 pertains to the offence of assaulting or using criminal force on a woman with an intention to outrage her modesty or knowing that such an act is likely to outrage her modesty. The criminal intention or knowledge on the part of the accused is the crux of the offence under this section. This section criminalizes a wide range of acts such as making physical contact with sexual intent without the woman's consent, like molesting her, pulling up the veil of a purdanashin woman. When a man pulls a woman towards himself and while removing her saree, gushes in with a request for sexual intercourse, intending thereby to outrage her modesty. He has committed an offence under Section 354, IPC.
It is punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years, and with fine.
The offence under Section 354 is a non-bailable offence.

IPC Section 354A pertains to the offence of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may be committed in any of the following ways:
- making unwanted sexual advances or any physical contact that is unwelcome and sexually motivated,
- demanding or requesting sexual favours,
- showing pornography against a woman's will,
the above 3 acts are punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
- making sexually explicit remarks in the presence of a woman.
the above act is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
In this case, unlike Section 354, the act of the accused need not necessarily be physical; it does not require the use of any force or assualt on a woman so as to outrage her modesty. It can be subtle yet equally harassing to her sexual self. Also, there is no requirement of proving criminal intention or knowledge on the part of the accused; the criminal act of sexual harassment is enough. Whereas, in Section 354 IPC, criminal intention or knowledge to outrage modesty is essential to affix liability on the accused.
The offence under Section 354A is a bailable offence.

Therefore, while both IPC Section 354 and IPC Section 354A address offences of a sexual nature, they differ in terms of the specific actions that are considered criminal, as well as the language and intent of the sections.
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Answer #2
766 votes
354 has an element of force in it. so to molest someone there's this physical force involved.

354A need not have any physical force involved and yet may harass anyone sexually mostly woman.

Tanmoy Chattopadhyay,
M.Sc (Net), LL.B (Delhi),
High Court, Calcutta.

Answer #3
240 votes
Difference between between 354 and 354a IPC is that 354 IPC deals with outraging the modesty of women with criminal force or assault, while 354a specifically addresses the offence of sexual harassment. Section 354 requires an element of assault or force to constitute such an offence. Both involve unwelcome advances, but molestation emphasises the intent to outrage modesty (sexual humiliation). Some acts may fall under both categories. For example, if a woman is groped at work, it could be considered sexual harassment and molestation.

Additionally, both offences are gender-neutral, meaning they can apply to victims and perpetrators of any gender. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 deals specifically with sexual offences against children. It has stricter punishments than the IPC for such crimes.
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Answer #4
349 votes
The 354 contains an element of force. So, to molester someone you need physical force. The 354A does not require any physical force to be used and can harass anyone, but mostly women.
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