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Sec 294

                                              Section 294 of IPC


Obscenity is a global and complex issue because it is linked to other issues such as decency and morality, which differ from society to society. What is immoral for one person may not be immoral for another. In terms of the meaning and definition of obscenity, it is difficult to provide a precise and specific definition given the society’s cultural, religious, and social diversity. It is true that the definition of obscenity varies from time to time. What is obscene today should not be considered obscene in the future. Indian laws, as well as the Supreme Court, have been unable to precisely define obscenity. The Indian legal system, on the other hand, contains a number of statutes that deal with obscenity and how it is punished. One such law is Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). It is used to penalize people who commit indecent activities, songs, ballads, or words. According to the Section, anybody who does an obscene act in any public place, or specifically commits to things like reciting, singing, or uttering an obscene song, ballad, or words near or within any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to 3 months, or a fine, or both.

Essential ingredients 

The following points can be identified as the essentials of Section 294:

  • Performing any obscene act in a public place, or 

  • Anyone sings, recite or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place

  • An annoyance is caused to a particular person or people in general by such an act.

A person cannot be punished under this Section if all the above-mentioned essentials are not fulfilled. If even one of the factors is missing, the act or song will not qualify as obscene.

Nature of Section 294 IPC

Bailable offence

Bailable offences are offences that can be granted bail in their entirety; it is purely a matter of right, and the arrested person is released after bail is granted. It can be given by a police officer who is in the custody of the accused in the course of law. Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code provides for bail. When compared to non-bailable offences, bailable offences are comparatively less serious.

Cognizable offence

A cognizable offence is one in which a police officer may, under or in accordance with the law, arrest without a warrant, whereas a non-cognizable offence is one in which the police officer responsible for that case will have no authority to arrest the person involved without a warrant. They are regarded as less serious than cognizable offences, which include cases in which the Police are given the authority to arrest someone without a warrant. The violation of Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code is a cognizable offence.

Non-compoundable offence

Compoundable offences are those that can be compromised, i.e. the complainant can agree to withdraw the charges levied against the accused, whereas non-compoundable offences are those that cannot be compromised. Section 294 is non-compoundable in nature.


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