THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY NAVNOOR KAUR, A STUDENT OF INSTITUTE OF LAW, KURUKSHETRA UNIVERSITY.
“ But people like the doll guy who sells women and the dog guy who buys women, and other guys who, say, rape women, or maybe don’t go as far as violent rape but treat women like objects instead of people—sure, there’s a difference in the level of crime, but it’s all the same thing, where women become a canvas for throwing emotional baggage, Jackson Pollock style.”
India-a nation of love, fraternity, values, morals, unity and diversity. But these sugar coated words are merely a mirage lost amid the dark clouds of heinous crimes, especially the crime against the women such as rape, sexual harassment and eve teasing etc. In fact, Thomas Reuters Foundation has ranked India as the most dangerous country for women in June 2018.
From Nirbhaya to Gudiya, several soul shuddering crimes have haunted the nation over the years. Recently, the Kathua rape case ripped away the conscience of the entire nation. The gang-rape followed by the murder of 8 year old Asifa sparked widespread outrage throughout the country. The accused included a so-called godman (Pujari), his son and nephew, two police officers and a head constable. Each one of them owed a duty, whether legal or moral to prevent such kind of heinous crimes. But in this very case, the protectors themselves became the devastators and gulped down the life and modesty of an innocent girl. This case fuelled the demands of the various sections of the society to make the penal provisions more stringent.
In the aftermath of the ghastly Kathua rape case, the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 was promulgated by the President as the Parliament was not in session. Consequently, the Criminal law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was tabled in Lok Sabha to replace the said ordinance. It is pertinent to note that the bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha on 30th July 2018.
Major changes introduced by the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2018
- Minimum Punishment for rape has been enhanced from seven years to ten years.
- Minimum imprisonment of twenty years has been prescribed to a man committing rape on a girl aged below 16 years.
- Minimum Punishment of rigorous imprisonment of 20 years and maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death penalty has been ascribed for committing rape on a girl aged below 12 years. This change has been brought by inclusion of Section 376AB in Indian Penal Code.
- Rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years will be awarded to a police officer who has committed rape at any place.
- A new section, Section 376DA has been inserted in Indian Penal Code which prescribes minimum punishment of life imprisonment to persons involved in gang rape of girls aged less than 16 years.
- Section 376DB has also been added to IPC. It prescribes minimum punishment of life imprisonment and maximum punishment of death penalty to persons involved in gang rape of girls aged less than 12 years.
- Further, it has been included that such a fine shall be imposed which is just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
- Investigation in rape cases will be completed within two months of the complaint and the appeal in rape cases is to be disposed within six months.
- No Anticipatory bail shall be granted to a person accused of rape of a girl below the age of sixteen years.
- Sub Section to Section 439 has been inserted in Criminal Procedure Code which mandates the presence of informant or any person authorized by him at the time of hearing application for bail to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
- Section 42 of the POCSO Act has also been amended to inculcate the newly inserted provisions of Indian Penal Code, namely section 376AB, section 376DA, and section 376DB.
The said ordinance will certainly deter the heinous crimes against women. But the legislation alone is not sufficient enough. To eliminate the crime against woman, the following measures must be adopted.
The Government must properly implement the women-centric laws and schemes. Gender Sensitization of government officials and police officers must be carried out to make the redressal system more feasible and approachable. Girls must be properly educated so that they can become financially, physically and mentally strong as well as independent. They should be taught self-defence techniques. Gender-sensitization must be made an essential part of school curriculum. Legal education should be compulsorily imparted to prevent heinous crimes taking place in the society. If anyone sees a woman being abused around him or her; rather than closing the eyes and shooting videos, such a person must help the woman in need. Moreover, every individual should change his or her narrow mindset against the victim women because if every individual will change, ultimately the society will change. Gandhiji also said that be the change, if you want to see the change.