The Centre has proposed amendments to widen the scope of the Indecent Representation of Women Act, 1986, to include digital and internet-based communication services. The Ministry of Women and Child Development made the proposals after receiving inputs from a parliamentary panel formed in 2012 to study a bill to bring the law up to date.

If the Parliament passes the proposed amendments, indecent representation of women in electronic forms, including through text and online messaging services, will be an offence and attract penalties similar to those under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the ministry said on Monday.

The ministry also proposed to amend the definition of “distribution” of material to include publishing, licensing or uploading it digitally.

The 1986 law is limited to traditional media such as books, pamphlets, images and films. The government has also proposed to include hoardings in the Act.

The proposed amendments include setting up a central authority under the National Commission of Women to receive and investigate complaints of offences under the law. The authority will have representatives from Advertising Standards Council of India, Press Council of India and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.