- Rape is crime committed not just against the victim but also against the society.
- Due to the numerous cases of rape, people are afraid to let any female member of their family to go out alone.
- The rape laws in India have been amended numerous times through the years but still the provision does not seem to be doing enough justice.
- No one is spared from the hands of the perpetrators, neither a senior citizen nor a baby girl and this needs to be stopped.
- The article discussed the amendments to the rape laws and also gives the statistics of rape laws in India.
Rape is a social stigma that has existed for a long time. The definition of rape in the dictionary is ‘the ravishing or violation of a woman’. Because women are biologically incapable of committing rape, the rape victim is a woman. She is traumatised as a result of the event, and it is extremely difficult for a woman to recover from such trauma. In India, rape is a punishable offence. Various Acts have numerous provisions. The term rape is defined in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, under Section 375. It establishes the definition of rape as well as the punishment for it. Rape occurs when a male penetrates or engages in sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or will. Penetration here means that even the tiniest touch of the penis to the vaginal area constitutes rape; a woman’s unruptured hymen does not establish that rape had not occurred. There are some exceptions, such as when a man engages in sexual activity with his wife who is over the age of 15. The Indian Penal Code’s rape statute has been amended numerous times.
Rape Cases in India
In the case of Miss XYZ v. The State of Gujarat, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Gujarat High Court that stated that "the victim's word cannot be enough to punish someone; the victim may be making false allegations for money," because in this case, the victim was willing to withdraw the case in exchange for a monetary settlement. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, concluded that the High Court had made a major error in failing to notice that the settlement was being reached under duress and threat. If the victim claims that no consent was granted after reviewing all available evidence, the Court assumes her words to be true.
In the same case, the victim was repeatedly raped by the accused, and the former was unable to deny by clearly saying no, because it would have put her life in jeopardy. As a result, it must be regarded as permission obtained through coercion or threat, rendering it illegitimate.
The Supreme Court has left no space for ambiguity in defining consent; consent does not have to be expressed, but rape will be construed as coerced consent or express denial. This is not to be confused with consent obtained through a marriage promise. The High Court of Delhi declared, in the case of State v. Sandeep, that we must go beyond ‘no means no’ and recognise that ‘yes means yes’.
In this case, the perpetrator obtained the victim's consent for sex by promising to marry her, and when he failed to keep the promise, he was charged with rape. The Court stated that the consent was not obtained through pressure or force, and that consent was given (albeit under false pretences), hence it could not be termed rape. If such incidents are classified as rape, anyone who has ended a relationship can file a complaint with the Court. The lady can sue for cheating or a breach of modesty, but not for rape, because she had consented to the sexual act.
Nirbhaya Gang Rape
A physiotherapy intern was viciously gang-raped in a moving bus on December 16, 2012; she was afterwards thrown from the vehicle and eventually succumbed to her injuries after a few days. Because of the horrific nature of the crime, the Nirbhaya gang rape case rocked the entire country and received a lot of media attention. Because of the widespread public indignation, the Government decided to modify the laws in order to prevent a crime of this magnitude from occurring again.
As a result, the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013 and the Juvenile Justice Act of 2013 were passed. The 2013 criminal amendment expanded the definition of rape and increased the punishment for gang rape from 10 years to life to 20 years to life. Stalking, voyeurism, and acid attacks were added, and the minimum sentence for rape, which had stayed unchanged since 1860, was increased from seven to ten years. In circumstances when the victim was slain or left in a vegetative state, it also permitted for the death sentence. Following the landmark Aruna Shanbaug case, the term "vegetative state" was included to the definition for the first time.
Mumbai Gang Rape Case
A 22-year-old photo journalist who was interning with an English-language magazine in Mumbai, was gang-raped by five people, including a juvenile when she went to the desolate Shakti Mills compound, near Mahalaxmi in South Mumbai, with a male colleague on an assignment in August 2013. This had sparked nationwide protests, as Mumbai, with its thriving nightlife, had historically been seen as a safe sanctuary for women. The three repeat offenders in the Shakti Mills gang rape case were found guilty and sentenced to death by the city Sessions Court, them becoming the first in the country to receive the death penalty mandated under the newly established Section 376E of the IPC.
The Indian Penal Code’s rape statute has been amended numerous times. Section 376(2), (i.e. Custodial rape), Section 376 (A), (i.e. Marital rape), and Section 376 (B to D), (i.e. Sexual Intercourse Not Amounting to Rape), were added to the law in 1983.
According to Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, no one can reveal the name of the rape victim, and anyone who does so would be punished with either description for a duration of up to two years, as well as a fine. In certain rape proceedings, a presumption of lack of consent can be made under Section 114-A of the Indian Evidence Act.
According to Section 53 (1) of the CrPC, it is legal for a registered medical practitioner, acting at the request of a police officer not below the rank of Sergeant, to examine a person arrested on a charge of committing an offence of such a nature and alleged to have been committed under such circumstances, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of his person will provide evidence as to the commission of an offence.
Provisions for medical examination of rape victims are made by Section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. All rape victims should have an in camera trial under Section 327(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Because the Indian judiciary is overburdened, judgments in rape cases take a long time to arrive. It can sometimes arrive so late that one or both partners have perished. As a result, fast trials in rape cases are necessary to ensure that the victim receives justice, as “justice delayed is justice denied”.
Rape of Minors
The National Crime Bureau reported a significant increase in child rape cases between 2001 and 2011. Prior to this, the law regulating sexual offences against children was the statutory rape clause, which made sexual intercourse with a kid under the age of 16 illegal regardless of permission. Because the culprit in the majority of incidents of child abuse is usually someone close to the child, a new law, POCSO 2012, was enacted. The police were in charge of looking after the kid victim during the trial in these circumstances. This statute was gender-neutral, recognising different types of penetration in addition to peno–vaginal penetration. This Act addressed child pornography, aiding and abetting child abuse, and sexual harassment of children.
In addition, a new provision of the IPC was added to explicitly address rape of a female under the age of 16. The clause made the offence punishable by a minimum of 20 years in jail, with the possibility of life imprisonment. The minimum sentence for rape was increased from seven to ten years, the same as it had been since the IPC was introduced in 1860.
Asifa Bano Rape Case
A group of men raped and killed an 8-year-old girl named Asifa Bano in the Kathua area of Jammu & Kashmir in January 2018. The main defendant was a priest from the temple where the rape took place. This terrible case sparked nationwide outrage and calls for tougher restrictions. This case was intensely politicised on communal lines against the backdrop of political upheavals in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result of this, the 2018 criminal Amendment Act was enacted, which primarily amended the POCSO Act, because the rape was committed against a kid. The statute made the death penalty available as a punishment for rape of a juvenile under the age of 12 years old, with a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Delta Meghwal Rape Case
Delta Meghwal, a 17-year-old Dalit girl, was discovered dead in her hostel's water tank on March 29, 2016. Bikaner police arrested the hostel warden, physical education instructor, and principal after the police complaint was filed and they were held in judicial custody. After the issue became politicised, the State agreed to a CBI investigation.
The Unnao Rape Case
In the Unnao rape case, politician Kuldeep Singh Sengar was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2017. The accused victim’s father was imprisoned under the Arms Act in 2018 and died in custody after reportedly being beaten up by Sengar’s brother and others. Yunus, a witness to the alleged attack, died in 2018 and was buried by his family without an autopsy or notification to the police or investigators. Yunus’ wife and family said he was unwell and died of natural causes.
Due to an 18-year-old gun-firing case, the accused victim’s uncle was caught and sentenced in 2018. In 2019, a truck with blacked licence plates collided with the alleged victim’s car and others. The victim’s paternal and maternal aunts were killed as a result of that very accident. Both the claimed victim and her attorney were seriously hurt. The police officers designated to provide security for the claimed victim were absent, citing a lack of space in the vehicle in which the alleged victim was travelling.
According to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau, every fourth rape victim in India in 2018 was a juvenile, with more than half of them being between the ages of 18 and 30. According to the data, the attackers were known to the victims' family members, friends, live-in partners, employers, or others in nearly 94 percent of the rape instances.
In 2018, 33,356 rape attacks were registered, including 33,977 victims, for an average of 89 rapes each day. According to the data, 32,559 rape cases were reported in 2017, compared to 38,947 in 2016. According to the data, 72.2 percent of rape victims were over the age of 18 and 27.8% were under the age of 18.
According to the data, 51.9 percent of rape victims (17,636) were between the ages of 18 and 30, 18 percent (6,108) were between the ages of 30 and 45, 2.1 percent (727) were between the ages of 45 and 60, and 0.2 percent (73) were over 60. According to the NCRB, 14.1 percent of rape victims (4,779) were between the ages of 16 and 18, with 10.6 percent (3,616) being between the ages of 12 and 16, 2.2 percent (757) being between the ages of 6 and 12, and 0.8 percent (281) being under the age of six.
It is not always the case that the one complaining of rape is a victim; it goes the other way round as well. Many times, girls submit false complaints in order to ruin a boy’s life; in some cases, a girl’s parents force her to file a complaint against the boy she loves, because the law is sympathetic to the girl. When a complaint is filed, the accused is left with nothing; regardless of whether he is found guilty or not, his life is ruined. So, in my opinion, a change is needed that equalises the burden of proof on both parties and makes the law run smoothly.
In India, the rules on rape just cover the top of the iceberg, failing to accept or acknowledge the presence of the rest. It has failed to dissuade the crime since the repercussions are insufficient for such a heinous crime. In India, rape occurrences are on the rise every day, with the majority of them going unnoticed as a result of the shame that the society puts on the victims. It is critical to educate our society on their legal rights and responsibilities, as well as to raise awareness. The current rape laws in our country demand significant modifications and amendments. The law must evolve and adapt to the changing requirements of society.