Mental harassment is punishable or not?
: Mariya Shipchandler
Mental Harassment is no good, or is it? We all suffer mental harassment of one form or the other at least once in our lifetime. Nevertheless, we hardly realize that we just added a burden of a harassment on our head. For most of us, mental harassment means the domestic violence, abuse, stalking or workplace abuse, but trust us, the horizon of mental harassment is much wider than we think. Any disturbing incident that occurs in your surroundings, irrespective of you being in your social circle, workplace, home or anywhere else is termed as a kind of mental harassment. Of course, the intensity of the same can vary.
What is Harassment?
We already explained what a mental harassment could be, nevertheless, let us understand it by way of an accurate definition.
Mental Harassment or Emotional Abuse is any kind of non-physical attitude or behaviour that intimidates, controls, sub judicates, punishes, demeans, or isolates another person by way of humiliation, fear or degradation. The following are some of the common examples of mental harassment:
- A constant abuse from a person again and again.
- Cheating by spouse or mental torture for dowry.
- Any kind of abstinence from something that a person loves to do.
Many a time mental harassment is caused by bad words or emotional thrust. However, it can be even be physical in some extreme cases.
Fortunately, the Indian Penal Code has established strict and stringent laws against any kind of harassment. There are various sections under which a case can be registered for such harassments and abuses. Seek shelter from law and it will protect you against any form of cruelty or torture you are experiencing in your life.
Section 498A of IPC
This section covers any physical or emotional harm caused to a married woman by her husband or in-laws. Any such kind of offense is punishable under law and the punishment can be an imprisonment of three years or more and the culprit shall be liable to heavy fines. Further, this offense is non-bailable.
Section 294 of IPC
If a person does an obscene act in public, recites or utters obscene words to annoy and torture a person in public, is punishable under the law. The offender would be booked under section 294 of the Indian Penal Code and would be liable for an imprisonment up to three years or with a fine or both.
Section 304B of IPC
When a married lady die within seven years of her marriage and the reason for her death is due to the emotional abuse she experienced by her husband and in-laws, and the cause of the harassment was non-payment of dowry is termed as dowry death. The term for imprisonment ranges from seven years to a lifetime.
Section 509 of IPC
This section is established purposely to punish any person who demean the virtues of any woman intentionally by any physical or verbal conduct. The person would be liable to an imprisonment of up to three years
Apart from the above-mentioned IPC sections, there are specific acts such as The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. These acts help woman fight for his or her rights and that they support the feminine fraternity to steer a cheerful, peaceful, and equal life within the society.
Mental Harassment at the Workplace
Besides the domestic abuse and violence, we should not forget about the mental harassment at the workplace. As per a survey, 50% of the women experience workplace harassment. They suffer humiliation, and defamations regularly, but only a few of them dare to report it to the law.
Most of the people believe that mental harassment at the workplace can only be sexual, but the mental harassment and tortures are categorized. Look at the classification below:
- Distinction based on the grounds of age.
- Defaming or demeaning an individual in public.
- Discrimination on the grounds of caste.
- Discrimination on the basis of sex or marital status.
It is sad that there are still no laws protecting the rights of the employees against such kinds of behaviour, but there are plenty of HR and labour laws that help the employees fight for their rights. The acts such as Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 are quite helpful in securing the rights of the employees at workplace.
Every citizen of the country has the right to live with dignity. Mental Harassment or emotional or physical abuse is a punishable offense and by any means, if you are a victim to such acts, you should report to the police immediately.