the-laws-on-rape-and-sexual-crimes

Laws On Rape And Sexual Crimes - Recently there has been an outcry for justice for the victims after the recent incidents of Hyderabad and Unnao.

The Existing Laws on Rap and Sexual Crimes:

The codification of Indian laws:

  • It began with the enactment of the Charter Act, 1833 by the British Parliament.
  • It led to the establishment of the first Law Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay.
  • It provided for the addition of a fourth ordinary Member to the Governor-General in Council for India who was to be a legal expert in the making of laws.
  • The first Code of Criminal Procedure (1861):
    • It consolidated the law relating to the set-up of criminal courts.
    • It laid the procedure to be followed in the investigation and trial of the offense.
  • Provisions in the IPC:
    • ‘Rape’ as a clearly defined offense was first introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 1860
    • Section 375 of the IPC:  It made punishable the act of sex by a man with a woman if it was done against her will or without her consent. Also, sex with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years is considered rape. 
    • The exception in Section 375 of the IPC:: sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape. 
  • The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act of 1983.
    • A new Section 114A in the Indian Evidence Act of 1872: It presumed that there is an absence of consent in certain prosecutions of rape if the victim says so. This applied to custodial rape cases.
    • A new Section 228A in the IPC: The provision makes it punishable to disclose the identity of the victim of certain offenses including rape.
  • The amendments in the Indian Evidence Act in 2002 (Aftermath of the recommendation of the Law Commission in its 172nd report): A new provision to bar putting questions in the cross-examination of the victim as to her general ‘immoral character’ in rape or attempt to rape cases.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013:
    • The amendments were on the recommendation of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee (to relook the criminal laws in the country and recommend changes.). 
    • It widened the definition of rape and made punishment more stringent.
    • It increased jail terms in most sexual assault cases.
    • It also provided for the death penalty in rape cases that cause the death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state.
    • It also created new offenses, such as the use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking.
    • The punishment for gang rape was increased to 20 years to life imprisonment from the earlier 10 years to life imprisonment.
    • It clearly defined offenses and allocated punishment related to the offenses such as the use of unwelcome physical contact, words or gestures, demand or request for sexual favors, showing pornography against the will of a woman or making sexual remarks
    • Stalking was made punishable with up to three years in jail. 
    • The offense of the acid attack was increased to 10 years of imprisonment.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018:
    • It put the death penalty (minimum punishment is 20 years in jail) as a possible punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years.
    • A new section in the IPC: It made the offense punishable with a minimum imprisonment of 20 years which may extend to imprisonment for life for rape of a girl under 16 years.
    • Increase in the minimum jail term for rape: From seven to 10 years.

Also readNCRB Report On Crime In India

92.9 Percent of cases of crime against women pending in city courts

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