Justice for Rape Victims in India
The shivering in the body happens to every sensible person when we hear the word “RAPE”. Not in India but in the world crime against women has increased. But the severity is increasing at an immense level. Why? What is the government doing? How do we as citizens are behaving?
There are many questions and to some extent, there are answers too. The 4th most severe crime against women is rape all over the world and the first 3 are not that different. In 2019, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 32033 cases of rape were registered, which is 88 cases per day. And of these 92.4% of cases were committed by a known person to a female. Till March 2018, there were 1,66,882 cases of rape and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act-2012 pending trial across the country. Up to, August 2019, POCSO cases alone stood at 1,60,989 which was the highest in the Country’s history.
The increase in the number of pending cases, low rate of justice to a victim, the pressure of society, and many more reasons are in front of those women who are fighting for their dignity and life. Where the justice and legal system stands in all these hard times is questionable.
According to section 376A of Indian Law, it mandates minimum punishment in certain cases and which is not less than 7 years. In Instance, if the sexual assault inflicts an injury that causes death or causes the victim to be in a state of a serious medical condition, then the convicted rapist must be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of at least twenty years and up to life or with a death penalty. After the Nirbhaya incident, the 2013 law has revised, increased the age of consent from 16 years to 18 years, and any sexual activity with anyone less than the age of 18, irrespective of consent now constitutes statutory rape. Also, the Supreme Court of India held that the two-finger test was her Right to Privacy violation, and asked the Delhi government to provide better medical procedures to confirm sexual assault.
Provision of Fast Track Court has been enabled after revision of Law. This provision of Fast Track Court is welcomed by many but the fairness of the rules and regulations implemented under it are questioned by many scholars. They state that the fast-track courts may not be fair \in an impoverished country where millions of cases are backlogged, and there is an average of just 14 judges per million people which is among the lowest in a United Nations study of 65 nations. Therefore, in fast-track cases too the handling of cases and situations is troubled for almost a decade now.
Marital Rape is another view of justice as Women are becoming aware of their choices and their body and their needs, men can’t just impose them on her. The education of women and their financial independence is the main reason here. Therefore, marriage has to be compatible for both and it is not just a matter of pride in society. Marital rape is not a part of the Indian Legal Framework, and it is only considered when the judicial separation period of a married couple is going on. The marital rape exception, that is exception 2 of section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being minor, is not rape. The protection of the law in marital rape cases is not evolved that much in India.
The mindset of people in society is the most severe reason for the delay injustice as a society and sometimes families do not approve of reporting the incidence in police stations. The treatment of victims in Police Station, Media handling, and even if she gets justice, society never approves her existence. And all these things matter and affect the mental health of that woman. The Dignity that she deserves never gets it. And that is the most horrible thing. So, Supporting HER is indeed good but to Abolish HER is sin…