Published: 08th January 2018
Indian Law won't cover you being photographed secretly but there is still some hope
Privacy was recently declared as a fundamental right but the invasion that occurs on a daily basis in our country has no definite law to protect it. However, sub-laws can greatly help in such cases
Laws relating to Information Technology, Sexual Harassment and violation of fundamental rights will help in registering a complaint or filing a case. Photography in public is not prohibited by the law, BUT you can still take legal action against those who invade your privacy and misuse your pictures or videos.
*The law makes it clear you are free to take pictures for private use of other people in public areas under the Constitution of India Article 19, however publishing a photo in a manner that might be "embarrassing, mentally traumatic" or causing "a sense of insecurity about the activities the person in the photograph is involved in" is illegal under Article 21. In this case, we can be sure the experience is beyond traumatic.
* If the photo is being uploaded for commercial purposes, it is mandatory for the photographer to ask permission.
* After the Nirbhaya case, the Indian Penal Code was amended to include voyeurism as an offence. The punishment can range from one to three years for one conviction. The punishment can be anywhere from three to seven years in case of two convictions. However, here the accused is liable for conviction if the picture is taken in a private space or while the complainant is engaged in a private activity which is not usually done in a public space. The second reason for conviction is if the complainant consents to the picture or video but doesn't consent to a third person seeing it.
* Section 509- Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman —Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
* A separate law exists for women in Tamil Nadu -The Tamil Nadu Prohibition Of Harassment Of Women Act, 1998, established after a woman was killed when eve teasers on a bike pulled her dupatta while she stood at the bus stop. This law empowers women to complain about molestation, domestic abuse and eve teasing.
* The IT Act 2000 also comes into play in the case of a cybercrime. Victims of such videos taken on vehicles can file a complaint under:
*Cyber-Stalking: It means expressed or implied physical threat that creates fear through the use of computer technology such as the internet, e-mail, phones, text messages, webcam, websites or videos.
*Dissemination of Obscene Material: It includes Indecent exposure/ Pornography (basically child pornography), hosting of website containing these prohibited materials. This may cause psychological harm to the adolescent and tend to deprave or corrupt their mind.
*Defamation: It is an act of imputing any person with intent to tarnish the dignity of the person by hacking their mail account and sending e-mails using vulgar language to unknown persons.
*The amendments to the law after Nirbhaya's case is made under section 354- A,B,C and D. While A and B included physical offences, C describes voyeurism as an offence and 354 D includes Stalking- a pertinent offence in this case. "Monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking."
The line between professional photography and these acts of perversion is thin but the law makes it clear that the nature of the picture plays an important factor in deciding to register a complaint and in deciding the case in court as well.
*This article has been edited. An erroneous quote previously attributed to Advocate Adhilakshmi Logamurthy has been removed. The inconvenience is regretted.