Section-294 of the Indian Penal Code describes the punishment for obscene act or words in public. The said act does not clearly describe which act would constitute an obscene act, but it clarifies that it will only an offence when it is constituted in the public place to the annoyance of others.
The word ‘obscene’ is not defined in the code but the general meaning of the word is a disgusting or offensive act or word by accepted standards of morality and decency. And it also includes sings, recites or utters any obscene song, words or ballad in or near public place.
Section-294 describes it as follow:
“Whoever, to the annoyance of others-
a) Does any obscene act in any public place, or
b) Sings recite or utter any obscene song, ballad words, in or near any public place,
Shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both."
Ingredients to constitute this offence:
To establish an offence under Section-294 of IPC, there are some major ingredients required to be present in the act committed by the person. And it includes:
· Some act to be done
· Either sang, recited or utters any song or ballad
· Such act, song or the whatever the action is should be obscene
· And it should be occurred in the public place
Punishment for the offence of obscene act:
Any offence committed under Section-294 of IPC is a bailable and cognizable offence, and the punishment includes three months imprisonment or fine or both on the person, depending upon the gravity and nature of the offence committed.
For the act to be punished under this section, it should have caused annoyance either to a particular person or person in general. The term “to the annoyance to others” does not restrict its meaning to the person only who is the intended victim of the obscene act of the accused. But it also makes it clear that, if the obscene act or language is not used in public than there is no liability under this section of the IPC.
In this section, an act to be an offence it is essential that is should be done in or near public place. Indecent exposure of one’s person is an omnibus, in a public urinal, or in a place where the public goes falls under this section.
The case related to the obscene act:
In the case of K.P Mohammad v. The State of Kerala, an important question related to obscene was asked. The question was whether the cabaret dance is related to obscene and if it is so, can its display in the café, restaurant and in the hotels should be stopped?
Judgement- In this High Court, Kerala stated that the history of cabaret dance observed that if the display of cabaret dance in the public place such as restaurants and hotels, is in accordance with the standards of our country then its display may be permitted and no restriction can be imposed on it.
So, the section-294 of the Indian Penal Code describes it clearly about the obscene act and it also describes that it is punishable under the law if done publicly in the process of annoyance to others.