RAPE LAW IN INDIA: LOOPHOLES OF RAPE LAW
Violence against anyone is endemic and pandemic in the world. Rape has been revolving around the world from ancient times. During the war times, soldiers as a reward were permitted to rape women and rebel groups used sexual violence as a strategy. Rape as a pandemic has been going around globally for no one knows how long. India’s rape ratio is 6.3 per 1,00,000 because Indian rape law has loopholes. For instance, rape was not even considered a major crime before 2013, the culprits were only given 7 years of imprisonment just when they could be arrested and found guilty. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines rape as a “MAN” commits sexual intercourse with “WOMEN” that is where the problem in law starts:
- The definition of rape (section 375) just gives out that only women in this country are being raped and does not provide any rights under which a male can feel protected. Sexual violence in males is also very common as it was recommended in the 172nd report of the Law Commission of India. It is high time to change the definition of law and make it gender-neutral. Rape is heinous from which man and women both need to be protected equally, a petition filled in the high court stated male rape is far too prevalent to be termed an anomaly or freak incident. No having gender-neutral rape law is a loophole as it lets the convict roam free in the world without being punished for his/her crime. By not having gender-neutral laws we are denying man justice.
- POSCO derives justice to males under 18 years of age and section 375 derives justice to women but where would a male body above 18 years of age go to get his justice? When there are cases known of boys being raped the offenders are booked of the offense of “voluntarily causing hurt” or “use of criminal force”.
- Sexual intercourse with wife and the wife being above 15 years of age is not rape: if a husband forcefully without the wife’s consent has sexual intercourse with her that is not counted as rape. A married woman is getting raped by her husband in Indian households on daily basis. In the year 1991, the high court inland rules: it cannot seriously be maintained that by marriage a wife submits herself irrevocably to sexual intercourse in all circumstances. Indian rape law doesn’t properly safeguard married women who are above the age of 15 years, to say I don’t want to be a fundamental human right and according to r v. r wives are not their husbands submissive.
- All types of sexual abuse should be mentioned in section 375ipc: section 375 only defines the penetration of penile and vaginal and that leads to a lot of convicts being free for their wrongdoing. Section 375 should include all types of penetration like penile/oral, finger/vaginal, finger/anal, object/vaginal all in sexual intercourse in any part of the body should be constituted as rape and all of this penetration should be mentioned in the definition. Just because the definition is not specific there have been cases where convicts were set free or were not punished to the amount they should have, like in the case Chittaranjan das v. state of Uttar Pradesh; in this case, the convict committed the offense of sodomy on the young girl, to two months but his sentence was reduced by the reason of loss of service of the convicted. The result of this case and many such cases would have been different if the definition of rape in section 375 of the Indian penal code would have been a little wider. As a result, such cases would have been fallen under section 375 and by the obligation, the court would have given the punishment to the convict as stated in section 376. The narrow definition of rape has been criticized by Indian and international women’s and children’s organizations and civil society organizations in the famous public interest litigation of Sakshi v. union of India.
- When a girl(the victim) is being examined so many absurd questions are asked to her like what was she wearing, how long did it take for her to penetrate a many more but there is no such law where a woman is safeguarded from answering such questions, again and again. How humiliating and disturbing it is for that girl to go through that incident again and again in her head. She has to go through per vaginal test why even when the survivors’ testimony is enough don’t all of these things put girls’ fundamental right into the examination. Aren’t they questing the girl’s integrity and dignity, the rape has already been traumatizing and when she is being asked such questions it just means she is not given the right of privacy to exercise at that movement.
The 172 reports of the law commission of India has recommended and asked for certain changes in the rape law of India which are of mere concern because of the evolving rape cases in our country. 6.3 per 1,00,000 has 30.3 of Sikkim and 22.5 of Delhi, I believe the reason behind the evolving rape cases in India are because people are not scared of the rape law of India. If we as a law won’t work on our self we are just going to empower the convicts and these loopholes in the rape law are the way we are currently doing that. The Nirbhaya case, the Priyanka ready and many more other cases which are just increasing in number day by day and that too with more brutality! Why? Because we as law are failing to empower the victims and give them justice. The law for rape in India should be critically examined and the legislature should do away with loopholes that could pester the victim anywhere during the process of seeking justice.
(Writer, The Legal State)