The badmouthed word has taken a serious toll on Indian badmanners in the last few years, with many blaming the country’s growing social stigma on their badmoutshed peers.
But while badmouting is often perceived as an act of bad behaviour, many people still feel they have no choice but to speak out against the phenomenon.
With India becoming a growing media and cultural powerhouse, badmousers have increasingly become an integral part of society.
In fact, in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that public officials and citizens can be held liable for their bad language and expressions of opinion if they are found to have committed “unintentional public mischief” and “malicious intent” to incite or incite public disorder.
However, badmovers often face a number of hurdles when it comes to obtaining justice.
Badmouthing is an offence under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with “insulting, abusing, menacing, defaming or insulting the modesty or dignity of any woman.”
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Indian citizens have committed more than 6,000 offences under this law since its introduction in 1998.
Though the Indian penal code contains provisions specifically to protect women, many are hesitant to report any crimes committed by their male counterparts.
While the issue of gender-based violence against women in India is often ignored by many, there is a clear connection between badmoing and social stigma.
According to the NCRB, one in four women in the country is harassed by a male relative, and the number of incidents of this violence against female victims is increasing.
In addition to a lack of protection for women, some argue that the law provides no protection for male offenders.
“Many men commit violent crimes against women simply because they feel threatened or harassed, which they use to express their opinions and to express anger,” said K.R. Gokhale, executive director of the National Council of Women, a lobby group for women in politics.
“This is why the government has been trying to create more gender neutral language and standards for badmouding and badmoring, but it’s just not enough.”
Some men also have been accused of using the law as a means to harass and abuse women, but there is no legal framework in place to hold men accountable for these crimes.
“The law does not provide any protections for male perpetrators of violent crimes and criminal acts against women.
It’s all based on the assumption that women are more likely to be harassed and abused by men,” said Gokkale.
“The law gives protection only to women, not to men, and that is a huge flaw.”
The lack of gender neutrality is further compounded by a high rate of misidentifications in Indian society.
According to Gokale, misidentification is often a consequence of misbehaviour by a man against a woman, even though the two may share the same gender.
A recent report by the National Law University, a Delhi-based university, found that the number and severity of misreported crimes against Indian women is rising and that women account for around a third of the victims of such crimes.
“The government is working on several initiatives to strengthen the law and provide better protection to women,” said V.B. Gupta, a lawyer and senior advocate for women and gender issues at the National Legal Aid Institute.
“But it’s not enough.
The law needs to be updated so that it reflects the current reality.”
According to a 2017 report by The National Crime Research Institute (NCRI), an Indian organization dedicated to researching gender and violence against girls and women, the number one cause of gender violence against children in India was misidentifying a girl as a boy and thus committing gender violence.
Gokkal said that women face a heightened level of social stigma in India, and this makes it hard for them to report crimes committed against them.
“There are many women who feel unsafe around men because of misgendering and misidentifiability, and we are trying to change that.
But it is not enough,” said Gupta.
Many Indian women are still not confident in reporting crimes that have happened to them and have been considered as misbehaving and aggressive.
“In a country like India, where a good portion of the population is women, it is hard to be a woman without being seen as a bad mouthed person,” said Prabhat Singh, a social worker and an activist for women’s rights.
“It’s very important for us to speak up and talk about this.”
This article originally appeared on The Hindu.