Published: 15th September 2021
NCRB Report 2020: Indians were booked 26k times for obscene acts and songs in public. Go figure
Even as the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was under heavy restrictions since the abrogation of article 370 and the subsequent pandemic, there were 34 cases registered under this law
The year of the COVID pandemic has seen a slight increase in cases of "obscene acts and songs at public places" and Tamil Nadu is the second highest state with incidents of such cases, according to the latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Crime in India.
What is considered an obscene act or song by the law?
Section 294 in The Indian Penal Code describes 'Obscene acts and songs' as:
Whoever, to the annoyance of others—
(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or
(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place
The punishment is listed as 'imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.'
While there were 24,882 cases registered in 2018 and 24,708 in 2019, this went up to 26,485 in the year 2020. The highest incidence of such cases were reported from Madhya Pradesh with a total of 10,891 cases and a crime rate of 13.0 per cent. Soon after Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu ranked second in the list with 6,533 cases and a crime rate 8.6 per cent. Other South Indian states also had a considerable number of cases — Kerala had 664 cases with a crime rate of 1.9 per cent, Telangana had 287 cases with a crime rate 0.8 per cent. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were amongst the states with the lowest numbers, with 53 cases and a crime rate of 0.1 per cent in the former, and 12 cases with a crime rate of 0.0 per cent in the latter.
Third in the list was Maharashtra with 3,883 cases of obscene acts and songs at public places with a crime rate of 3.1 per cent and fourth was Uttar Pradesh with 2,388 cases and crime rate of 1.0 per cent. What is rather interesting is that even as the erstwhile state of jammu and Kashmir was under heavy restrictions since the abrogation of article 370 and the subsequent pandemic, there were 34 cases registered under this law.
The Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns that followed resulted in a drop in traditional crimes like theft, robbery, and assault on women and children in 2020, but there was a drastic jump in disobedience to government orders, primarily arising due to violations of COVID-19 norms, official data showed.
According to the NCRB report, a total of 66,01,285 cognisable crimes comprising 42,54,356 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 23,46,929 Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered in 2020. NCRB has been bringing out the Crime in India report since 1953. It shows an increase of 14,45,127 (28 per cent) in registration of cases over 2019 (51,56,158 cases), while the crime rate registered per lakh population increased from 385.5 in 2019 to 487.8 in 2020.