WCD Proposes to Widen the Scope of Indecent Representation of Women Act (IRWA), 1986 (Important) (Download PDF)


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WCD proposed amendments in IRWA keeping in mind recent technological advancement in field of communications such as social media platforms, over top services etc. Amendments are based on observations made by Parliamentary Standing Committee & recommendation made by National Commission for Women on basis of consultation w/civil society groups & likeminded individuals.

Image of Obscenity Stick

Image of Obscenity Stick

Image of Obscenity Stick

Reforms Proposed to Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), 1986

  • Amendment in definition of term advertisement to include digital form or electronic form or hoardings, or thru SMS, MMS etc.

  • Amendment in definition of distribution to include publication, license or uploading using computer resource, or communication device or in.

  • Insertion of new definition to define term publish.

  • Amendment in section 4 to include that No person shall publish or distribute or cause to be published or cause to be distributed by any means any material which contains indecent representation of women in any form:

  • Penalty similar to that provided under Information Technology Act, 2000.

Creation of New Authority under Aegis of National Commission of Women (NCW)

  • Creation of Centralised Authority under aegis of National Commission of Women (NCW). This Authority will be headed by Member Secretary, NCW, having representatives from Advertising Standards Council of India, Press Council of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting & one member having experience of working on women issues.

  • This Centralised Authority will be authorized to receive complaints or grievances regarding any programme or advertisement broadcasted or publication & investigate/examine all matters relating to indecent representation of women.

What Necessitated Amendments Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA)?

  • GoI has enacted Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), 1986 to prohibit indecent representation of women thru advertisements, publications, writings, paintings, figures or in any other manner.
  • Enactment of Act, technological revolution has resulted in development of new forms of communication, such as internet, multi-media messaging, cable television, over-the-top (OTT) services & applications e. g. Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram etc.
  • Reforms are proposed keeping in mind recent technological advancements.
  • Need was felt to widen scope of law so as to cover such forms of media on one hand & to strengthen existing safeguards to prevent indecent representation of women thru any media form on other.


  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012 was introduced in Rajya Sabha December, 2012 which referred Bill to Department related Parliament

- Published/Last Modified on: August 19, 2018

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