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Important amendments

  1. Criminal law amendment act,1983

  2. Criminal law amendment act, 2013

  3. Criminal law amendment act, 2018

Now, before the amendments first, we have to learn about what is rape? Rape was defined for the first time in IPC, 1860.

And section 375 of IPC defines rape. This section states that rape is an act of sex by a man with a woman without her consent or her will. The absence of consent is very important, in the case of rape, and if consent is obtained by force fraud or by putting the women under the fear of death or hurt then even that amounts to rape. That simply means that if you’re putting a woman on a gunpoint and taking her consent then, that consent will not be valid and it will count under rape. The definition of rape along with the consent of a woman her age is also, the most important part of the case.

  • If a girl is under 18 years (minor) then any act of sexual intercourse with her will be rape. Be it with her consent or without consent.

  • The exception is sexual intercourse by a man with his wife is not rape provided the age is not less than 15 years then that is not rape.

In 1870 rape is defined for the first time and for a hundred years, this definition is working as it is without any changes. For the first time, the changes take place in 1983 by the criminal law amendment act 1983 this amendment takes place due to the famous, Mathura rape case happened in Maharashtra in 1972. Due to this case, the concept of custodial rape got recognization.

In this case, two police officers raped a girl when she was in their custody. And, the court acquitted both the police officer because the girl won't be able to prove that she was raped. In this, case court stated that because there was no sign of struggle, there was no injury, so, we can’t say that she was raped.

  • The court decision has been criticized and many protests happened due to this. Because the problem is that the submission during rape was misunderstood as consent.

  • After this case, the criminal law amendment act 1983 due to this amendment the idea of consent became an important part of rape.

  • Due to this amendment section, 114A Indian evidence act was inserted.

  • Section 114A is that presumption as to the absence of consent in rape cases. Before this amendment woman has to prove in court that, the act of sex was not consensual which means for sexual intercourse women didn't give any consent. But now, after the amendment, courts are supposed to presume that consent was absent, now the victim has no burden to prove themselves that whatever happened was not consensual.

  • This amendment introduces a new section in the Indian penal code section 228A. Under the section, if anyone discloses The Identity of the victim who has been raped then that is a punishable offence.

Now we will talk about the Criminal law amendment act, of 2013.

This amendment came due to the Nirbhaya rape case. Because in this case, the gang rape was too brutal and heinous the entire nation was in a state of shock. Due to the Justice Verma committee's recommendation, the government amended the Indian penal code. After the 2013 amendment the defination of rape has been changed, Harsh punishments were imposed and new offences have been added to the Indian penal code.

The newly added offences are:

  • Section 326 A and 326 B- Acid attack: If a person got injured due to an acid attack then the attacker will be responsible for a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment that will extend to life imprisonment.

  • Section 354A- Sexual harassment: Of sexual harassment can be committed by demanding sexual favours by making sexually coloured remarks or by showing pornography to women against their will.

  • Section 354C –Voyeurism: If a man sees or captures the image of a woman or video of a woman doing a private act then he commits there the offence of voyeurism. Private act means that while doing the act the woman is under the assumption that she is not been watched by anyone.

For example: if a woman is bathing using or using a washroom and the man is watching her through the peephole or the window then he commits the offence of voyeurism.

  • Section 354D - Stalking: Stalking means that if a man repeatedly follows a woman despite the clear indication of disinterest by the woman, then the man commits the offence of stalking. Stalking through the internet or mobile phone stalking can be committed.

  • Section 376A - Punishment for causing death or resulting in the persistent vegetative state of the victim: In this section, if the death of a woman is caused due to the injury or if she is under a persistent vegetative state then that is punishable with a minimum of 20 years of rigorous imprisonment or extended up to life imprisonment.

  • Section 376D – Gang rape: Gang Rape means a woman is raped by more than two or more people, in a group or acting in furtherance of common intention then every member of the group will be guilty of the offence of rape, and for that minimum of 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, it is a punishment it has been prescribed.

  • Section 376E –punishment for repeat offenders: In this section, if a person has already been convicted for rape or gang rape and then subsequently is convicted again for rape and gang rape then for that person the punishment will be life imprisonment or death.

Now the last amendment is the 2018 rape case, which came due to the Kathua rape case. In the Kathua rape case, the girl who was just 8 years old has been kidnapped, raped, and then she was murdered. For the first time due to the 2018th amendment, the death penalty has been imposed for the offence of rape of a girl under 12 years of age. Due to the 2018th amendment act, three major sections have been included in the Indian penal code.

  • 376AB-punishment for raping a woman under 12 years of age: In this section, if a girl below 12 years of age has been raped then the minimum punishment is 20 years of imprisonment or life imprisonment or death.

  • Section 376DA- punishment for gang rape on women under 16 years of age: In this section gang rape of a girl below 16 years of age will be punishable.

Section 376DB - punishment for gang rape on women under 12 years of age: In this section gang rape of girls under 12 years of age is punishable with death or life imprisonment.

This article is written by Riya Shruti of Trinity institute of innovation in professional studies, affiliated to GGSIPU.

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