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Rape cases judgement in INDIA

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Rape cases judgement in INDIA

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Legal handling of rape cases in India is subjected to severe criticism by mass media in recent times. Many groups and organisations are demanding more severe punishment for rapists,even capital punishment.  Team WI explores the legal position of rape cases in India and provisions in Indian Constitution for rapist punishment along with the history of landmark amedments for past rape cases.

                                [Disclaimer :  In order to state IPC (Indian Penal Code) definitions, this article contains certain sexual terminologies] The word ‘rape’ is legally defined u/s 375 of IPC,1860 as “ Whenever a man penetrates or does sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or will it amounts to rape. Penetration here means that only a slightest of the touch of penis to vagina amounts to rape, unruptured hymen of woman does not prove that rape was not committed. There are exceptions to it also i.e. when a man does sexual intercourse with his wife who is above 15 years of age.”
                                  The rape law under IPC had gone through a lot of amendments, some of which are :

  •  In 1983, amendment was made and S. 376(2) i.e. Custodial rape, S. 376(A) i.e. rape by husband and S. 376(B to D) i.e. *Sexual Intercourse not amounting to rape* were added to the definition of rape.
  • U/s 114-A of Indian Evidence Act, presumption can be made as to the absence of consent in certain prosecutions for rape.
  • U/s 327(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure, there should be in camera trial for all rape victims.

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  Due to unprecendented protests after the fatal gang rape in Delhi,India approved a tougher new law to punish sex crimes, including death for repeat rape offenders-The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 or “anti-rape law”. the key points of the law are :

  • U/s Section 375, “both penile and non-penile insertion into bodily orifices of a woman by a man an offence”. It also clarified that penetration means “penetration to any extent”, and lack of physical resistance is immaterial for offence.

  • In aggravated situations, punishment will be imprisonment for a term not less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine
  •  If rapist inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the victim to be in *persistent vegetative state*, he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years or with DEATH PENALTY.
  •  In case of “gang rape”, persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with a term not less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
  • The age of consent has been increased to 18 years, which means any sexual activity irrespective of presence of consent with a woman below the age of 18 will constitute statutory rape.

Another important issue,but not widely discussed is sex between ‘unwilling wife’ and husband.  *rape by husband* is still not accepted as a criminal offense within Indian legal framework, except during the period of judicial separation of the partners. The government officials argue that the contract of marriage presumes consent to sex and that criminalizing this in turn would weaken family values in India.But,these rape victims shall take refuge u/s 498-A of the IPC or The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
Above all,let us first introspect our perception towards gender equality,Women and self correct if needed.The Strict enforcement of the law is another hurdle for women protection.Emotional outburst and protests alone wont translate into punishment for rapists.Legal remedy and harsher punishment along with speedy trials through Indian Constitution is the only way to stop rape and crime against women.Let us all move towards that goal of *Protection for Women* and *Gender Equality*.

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