Plea against indecent representation of women

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday issued notice to the State government and the State Police Chief on a public interest writ seeking a directive to strictly implement Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.

The notice was issued by a Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shaffique. The petition was filed by Saju Pulluvazhy of Kochi, who said that there had been complete inaction on the part of the law enforcement agency in enforcing the Act.

The Act banned advertisements which represented women indecently. It also prohibited publication and circulation of books and pamphlets containing such representations. The Act prescribed two year imprisonment and fine up to Rs.2,000 on first conviction and six months to five years imprisonment and a fine up to Rs.1 lakh had been contemplated in the event of a second conviction.

Violation

He said that advertisements of textile shops, jewellery, and films carried indecent pictures of women in violation of the Act. Though the police were bound to prevent the commission of a cognizable offence under Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Act, they allowed the culprits to go scot-free. He said a “vulgar dance” was performed on December 5, 2011, in connection with the inaugural function of a textile shop in Kochi city. The policemen who were present there did nothing to stop the violation of the Act. The law against the indecent representation of women was violated with the tacit approval of the law enforcement agency.

He pointed out that right to life guaranteed under Article 21 included right to lead a meaningful and decent life by adhering to decency and morality. Even after a petitioner had lodged a complaint with the police and a crime was registered, the same textile shop still continued to violate the Act.

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