Public Masturbation as a Crime in India​

Pallavi Kolarkar
Indian Law Society’s ILS Law College, Pune, India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

Public masturbation has been an issue long ignored and strategically side-lined due to its pervasiveness, by the law and the society, in spite of the large perpetration rate it bears in India. Although ubiquity stresses on the need of a remedy, yet no recognized legal category has been in place exclusively for Public Masturbation. This can be attributed to the reality of women’s sexual treatment by men.

Offences like that of public masturbation usually are not only large in number, but have far reaching results. Public Masturbation resembles the conduct prohibited by certain sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Yet, by the absence of the effective usage of laws and the frivolous and unconcerned attitude towards public masturbation as a crime, it becomes imperative to understand its frequency in India and the slow application rate of a bunch of laws which do not directly target the issue.

This paper aims to broach this recurring subject and analyse the application of laws which encompass indecent exposure along with other relevant charges. Further, it seeks to analyse the medical conditions of public masturbators by the virtue of which they are inclined towards masturbating in public. It also studies the Hobbesian Perspective on Street Harassment and its relation to the crime of public masturbation. It also analyses the perspective of minors and LGBTQ as victims of public masturbation.

The paper adopts the doctrinal method of study to analyse and comment on the efficacy of the existing laws. The paper concludes that the current scattered laws are inadequate to curb the issue by citing various incidents of public masturbation in India.

Keywords: Public Masturbation, Indian Penal Code, Street harassment laws, Indecent exposure.