The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of Amendments to the "Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986".
Major amendments proposed are as follows:
· Broaden the scope of the law to cover the audio-visual media and material in electronic form.
· Penalties to be enhanced to a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment and fine of b/w Rs.50,000 to Rs.1,00,000 for first conviction, and imprisonment of not less than 2 years, but which may extend to 7 years, and a fine b/w Rs.1,00,000 to Rs.5,00,000 for second conviction.
· Police officers not below the rank of Inspectors authorized to carry out search and seizure, in addition to State and Central Government officers authorized by the State or Central Government.
What is "Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986" and what is the importance of current measures?
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), 1986 was introduced with the specific objective of prohibiting the indecent representation of women through advertisement, publication, writing, and painting or in any other means. The existing Act, in its present form, covers the print media. However, with the advent of newer e-technologies like multimedia, internet etc it was felt that the scope of the Act may need to be amended.
The latest step bolsters the law " IRWA 1986" by enhancing its efficacy by taking into its ambit newer forms of communication like internet, multimedia messaging etc., beyond the print and audio-visual media. This measure is would help in tackling the problem of increased objectification of women thereby ensuring dignity of women.