Rape Laws in India

Rape Laws in India

The women are subjected to various atrocities by people throughout India which infringes not only their liberty, freedom of movement and confidence to step out in public but also leave them traumatised.  Rape is one such Crime committed against women which is rising at an alarming rate. A rapist not only takes away the freedom but leaves the victim with no self-confidence, constant fear and in deep shock for rest of their lives.  According to National Crime Records Bureau, in 98% of the rape cases the accused is known to the victim. The rape victims not only face humiliation by the society but by the law also. The victim is deprived of her integrity and privacy but this follows a great deal of misery and psychological damage.

Rape is defined in Section 375 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 as, “an unlawful intercourse done by a man with a woman without her valid consent.” In certain cases, when consent is taken by fraudulent means or by misrepresentation. The rape laws in India became stringent after its amendment in 2013 on the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee. The committee was made after the Nirbhaya Case, in order to make the laws more efficient and in order to endure justice for the victim.

According to Section 375 a man is said to have committed rape if:

  1. penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
  2. inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
  3. manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or
  4. applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, and urethra of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions the sexual intercourse was done:
    • Against her will
    • Without her consent
    • With or without consent, when the girl is less than 18 years of age
    • With her consent, when her consent was has been obtained by putting her into fear of death or injury
    • With her consent, when she is not of sound mind and is not in a condition to communicate her consent.
    • With her consent, when her consent was obtained by making her believe that the man is her husband, when he is actually not.

In cases of rape the victim must be sent for medical examination within 24 hours so that evidence of force or any injury can be obtained forensically. The medical examination must be conducted by a registered doctor of a Government hospital.  As per the provisions of Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a person who is accused of either committing rape or attempt of rape must be sent for medical examination if there is reason to believe that this can help in finding crucial evidences. The medical examination must be done by a registered doctor of a Government Hospital, within sixteen kilometres from the place where the offence has been committed.
Section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 states that in case of custodial rape, rape of a pregnant women or gang rape, if the victim states in the court that sexual intercourse took place without her consent, then the burden of prove shall shift to the accused.
In case of a gang rape even if any person of the group has not done sexual intercourse, but has facilitated it for others by even holding the hands of the victim, he will be punished equally as others.  
Even after the Criminal Law Amendment 2013, marital rape is still not recognised as a crime in India. The women who are victims of marital rape have to resort to Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. However, 376B has been inserted in IPC, whereby any man who tries to have sexual intercourse with his wife, after legal separation, without her consent, is said to have committed rape.

Punishments for Rape in India:
The punishments for rape in India have been increased and made harsh in order to instil fear among the offenders. There is now a provision for speedy trials in rarest of the rare cases in order to ensure that justice is duly served.

  • Section 376 (punishment for rape): rigorous imprisonment for a period not less than seven years and shall be liable to pay fine also.

  •  376A (punishment for causing death or vegetative state of victim): rigorous imprisonment of not less than 20 years which may extend up to life imprisonment.

  • 376B (punishment for sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation):  imprisonment of not less than 2 years but which may extend up to 7 years and with fine.

  • 376C (punishment for sexual intercourse by person in authority): rigorous imprisonment for not less than 5 years but which may extend up to 10 years and fine.

  • 376D (punishment for gang rape): with rigorous imprisonment for not less than 20 years which may extend up to life imprisonment and with fine to be paid to the victim.

  •  376E ( punishment for repeat offenders):  Imprisonment for life

  • 377 ( unnatural offences): imprisonment for life for life or 10 years and fine



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