Rape law India has undergone a very significant change in the past few years, bringing within it ambit many activities and offenders that evaded punishment earlier

How Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 Has Changed ThingsCriminal law amendment act RAPE LAW IN INDIA

  1. The 2012 Delhi gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey, whom we also know as Nirbhay or Damini changed a lot that needed to change in India’s collective psyche – it changed public perceptions of rape, it fired the outrage that people should have but did not feel for these heinous acts and it triggered a much needed change in India’s laws.
  2. Prior to the framing of The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 law, the definition of rape in India was extremely narrow. Rape law in India under the Indian Penal Code (1860) sections 375 to 376 set out penetration as a prerequisite for proving rape. A 1983 amendment introduced concepts such as custodial rape but the ambit of the law was still so restricted that it permitted the accused in rape trials to wriggle out of punishment via some or other loophole.
  3. After the Delhi gang rape, it was as if the national conscience had been pricked and the unprecedented public outcry led to the appointment of the J S Verma committee which included legal luminaries such as Gopal Subramaniam and Leila Seth. February 2013 saw cabinet approval of the ordinance to bring about a change in law that broadened concept of rape and included a wide range of activities to make them punishable offences.
  4. Criminal law amendment act 2 RAPE LAW IN INDIA Some features of the amended act contemplated acid attacks in which the guilty can face 10 or more years in prison and also fine to meet the victim’s medical expense. The act also specifies what “sexual harassment” is, and includes acts that attempt to remove women’s clothing, stalking and voyeurism.
  5. Also very importantly, the amended act doesn’t require conventional penetration to constitute the commitment of rape. Any penetration of any orifice of the body of another person, not just the vagina; using not just the male organ but any part of the body (including the fingers / hands) or other object would now constitute rape under the amended law. (Source)
  6. What the Nirbhay incident also did was, create a harsher punishment for those who commit rape. Whereas the punishment was 7 years in the past, in cases where a rapist or rapists inflict injuries resulting in death or the victim going into a persistent vegetative state the punishment can extend to 20 years in prison. Even death sentence can now be handed out in rape cases. Under the amended law the ‘character of the victim’ is now completely irrelevant, and there is a presumption of ‘no consent’ in a case where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim deposes to a lack of consent.
  7. The law is still flawed in that it still doesn’t recognise marital rape (where consent is presumed to have been tendered by the fact of marriage). It also doesn’t lower the age of consent for intercourse making misuse likely.
  8. This amendment, along with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) gives teeth to Indian laws earlier mired in ambiguity and constricted legal definitions. Earlier narrow definitions of rape, inadequate punishment and antiquated terms such as “outraging the modesty of a woman” meant that many acts simply could not be punished.
  9. Under the new laws protection is accorded to sexual assault of boys, as well as for many more activities performed with sexual intent. Relatives and people in positions of authority are also specifically included in the ambit of the law. Sexual harassment includes words, sounds, gestures, showing of pornography, stalking or surveillance, threats and intimidation, enticement through offers of gratification now. (Source)

Images – 1 and 2

Custom Search

Do you have any contrary opinion to this post - Do you wish to get heard - You can now directly publish your opinion - or link to another article with a different view at our blogs. We will likely republish your opinion or blog piece at IndiaOpines with full credits