Recently, an Instagram group called ‘Boys' Locker Room’ was outed on Instagram. The group consisted of young boys from Delhi (many of them under the age of 18 and in school). From the screenshots that have become public, it appears that this group was used to share photos of girls (including morphed photos), talk about their private parts, and even discuss raping and gang-raping the girls. What is even more disturbing is that many of the girls discussed were the classmates of these boys, and also underage (below 18). See the screenshots for yourself:

Boys Locker Room Chat

The activities in chat groups like Boys Locker Room (whether on Instagram, Whatsapp, or any other platform) are not just ethically and morally wrong, but also legally wrong. Some of the activities also attract criminal provisions.

Below is a list of the legal provisions* that can apply to groups like Boys Locker Room:

Criminal Provisions:

Criminal Law Provision Meaning in Brief
Section 509, Indian Penal Code Any act, word, or gesture intended to outrage the modesty of a woman
Section 354A(iv), Indian Penal Code A man making sexually coloured remarks
Section 292, Indian Penal Code
(This will apply especially for the morphed photos)
Distributing or circulating any obscene representation, object, etc.
Section 293, Indian Penal Code
(This is the same as above, but applies if any of the participants in the group are below 25 years)
Distributing or circulating the same to a person below 25 years

Other Legal Provisions:

Section 67, Information Technology Act Publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form
Section 67B, Information Technology Act
(This applies especially if the girls whose photos are circulated are below 18 years)
Publishing or transmitting material depicting children in an obscene or indecent manner
Section 4, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act
(This will apply especially to morphed photos)
Distributing or circulating any representation or figure which contains indecent representation in any form
Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, Section 11
(This applies especially if the girls whose photos are circulated are below 18 years)
Sexual harassment of a child

*The legal provisions given in this article are only indicative in nature, based on the information available at the time of publishing this article, and should not be considered as professional legal advice.

What happens if the participants of these groups are below 18 years:

If the participants of these groups are below 18 years, they will be tried as a ‘juvenile’ under the Juvenile Justice Act. Such children are called “children in conflict of law” and the law prescribes a special procedure to deal with them. They will not be tried as adults, and the punishments prescribed to them will be much milder. For example, instead of imprisoning them, they will be placed in a remand home.

Why such chat groups are NOT okay:

For generations, our society has ‘normalised’ objectification of women. Therefore, talking about a woman’s body parts in an obscene manner is also considered normal. The Boys’ Locker Room chat is just an example of this normalisation, and we are sure, it is just one among many such groups that exist over various platforms. The activities carried out in such groups perpetrate rape culture and put all our women and girls in danger. How would you feel if you discovered your own classmates were discussing ways to rape/gang-rape you? Does this provide a safe environment for girls to grow up in? Obviously, not!

Therefore, it is high time we CALL OUT such groups and don’t cover up for them saying ‘boys will be boys.’ Boys can be boys only until they don’t harm our girls, and in this case, they have not only ethically and morally, but also legally and criminally harmed our girls!

Share this article so that EVERYONE knows their legal rights and why such group chats are illegal and criminal.

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