Articles

RAPE AND CULTURE OF THE COURTROOM

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This article is written by Dhritisha Saikia, a student of University Law College, Gauhati University

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, ‘Rape’ is defined as an unlawful sexual activity and usually, sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception. The Indian Penal Code under its Section 375 defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case, if she is under 18 years

It is rape if it falls under the following categories:

  • Against her will.
  • Without her consent.
  • When her consent has been obtained through coercion or misrepresentation
  • With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, because of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
  • With or without her consent, when she is a minor under the Indian Majority Act, 1875
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In India, Rape is the 4th most common crime against women. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2018 Annual report, around 33,356 rape cases were reported in India in India. A Commonwealth Human rights initiative (CHRI) analysis of reported rape cases between 2001- 2013 shows that 2,64,130 rapes were reported in 28 states during the period- an average of 56 rapes per day. In the UTs, the standard is almost two rapes per day. However, Delhi alone accounted for 8060 rapes during this period. While 16,075 cases of rape were reported in 2001 across all the states in 2001 and UT’s in 2013, The figure stood at 33,707, indicating an increase of 52.03%. The expansion of the list of offences that constitute rape following amendments to the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013, has increased in rape cases. Observations India happens to be the ‘Rape Capital’ of the world.

PENALTIES

The punishment for heinous crime Rape differs from country to country. Countries like China, UAE, Afghanistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia awards Capital punishment. In contrast, in countries like the USA, Russia, Norway, France, they believe the Reformatory set of penalties .hence they award specified imprisonment and sometimes life imprisonment depending on the intensity of the crime.

In India, after the Anti Rape Bill of April 2013, culprits are liable to life imprisonment (which is 14 years), imprisonment for entire life and even the death sentence in the rarest of rare cases. The Indian penal code under section 376(2) states the punishment of this heinous crime

It states that “Whoever, except in the cases provided for in subsection (2), commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

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REASONS RESULTING TO THIS OFFENCE

Rapists have all sorts of excuses and justifications for their acts. The reasons quoted are so diverse that it is nearly herculean to generalize. Rapes are committed by religious leaders, teachers, guardians, father, brother, relatives, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. In this patriarchal and gendered world, rape is a stigmatized crime wherein aspersions are cast on the victim instead of the accused. Some of the widely known reasons are:

A sluggish court system: India’s court system is painfully slow, in part because of a shortage of judges. The country has about 15 judges for every 1 million people, while China has 159. The steady nature of dispensing justice by our Indian judiciary is quite evident from the very recent case of Nirbhaya, where a mother had to wait for eight years to get her justice.

The low status of women in India: Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is women’s overall lower status in Indian society. For low-income families, the need to pay a marriage dowry can make daughters a burden. India has one of the most subordinate females to the male population in the world because of sex-selective abortion and female infanticide. Throughout their lives, sons are fed better than their sisters, are more likely to be sent to school, and have brighter career prospects.

In recent days, Indian politicians have put forward a slew of potential remedies for India’s sexual violence problem. But it’s worth noting that it will be hard to end discrimination against women at police stations when it starts in the crib.

Less No. Of female representative: It is in recent times that a lot of female representation has been able to raise their voice on behalf of the other females who couldn’t do the same. No doubt, we have an ample amount of opportunities for the female envisaged in the Constitution, or the government has adopted various schemes. The awareness is yet to reach different downtrodden places in India. E.g., Dowry, which is recognized as a crime by the very IPC and under the Dowry Prohibition Act,1961, is religiously practiced in places exclusively the Northern parts of India.

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The Unnao rape case shivers everyone by the very fact that our very own lawmakers aren’t free from committing prejudices.

Lack of awareness: Emphasizing mainly on educational awareness, people tend to commit this heinous crime without realizing the consequences associated with both the victim and the accused. Awareness programs are in motion, yet it has not been able to have a far-reaching impact. In India, physical intercourse is considered as a boon. Education on the same in the institution should be provided to prevent this crime. Education will enlighten the typical patriarchal mindset of the people. A woman not fulfilling their male-ego centric behavior are often threatened and has to go through a malicious act

It is also seen that various opportunist women take advantage of the rights and schemes available for the same to fulfill their malicious hunger. Hence one must analyze the entire situation before jumping into conclusions.

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