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An estimated 4-minute read

Pathbreaking changes in Rape Laws in India

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This is a revolutionary step taken by the Ministry which is looking to amend the existing rape laws in India. The rape laws in India was last amended in the year of 1983 and that to after the Mathura rape case, where the appex cour of India was been harshly criticsed from all parts of the country and the reasons were very obvious. After the amendment in 1983, the offence of rape has taken various shapes in our country which poses glaring need for amending the rape laws to increase the ambit of section 375 of the I.P.C.

During the period from 1983 to 2009, plenty of cases have been registered under this offence.  [The term "rape" under English law actually covers all the aspects of rape. Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into force in April 2004, rape in England and Wales was redefined from non-consensual vaginal or anal intercourse, and is now defined as non-consensual penile penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person. The changes also made rape punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment]. This comparison clearly shows that the laws prevailing in India are not upto the mark to deal with the various forms and modes of committing the heinous offence. There are  grey areas  which have been in the discussion  for the last 27 years  and few among them are

  • Section 375 of I.P.C. is having a very narrow scope wherin it could be applied.
  • The age limit was 16years for giving the consent
  • The undue advantage taken by the public officers
  • The issue of marital rape
  • Sexual abuse against the minors of either sexes

As far as the section 509 of the I.P.C is concerned, which deals with the cases of sexual assault consisting of any kind of whistling, passing leud comments of any form of gestures etc.to outrage the modesty of a women; is another area where punishment is less as compared to section 354 of I.P.C.

There are many areas which were in the criminal procedure code also which were also subjected to this recent amendentBil 2010.These are Section154,160,161,198,273 and 327. These sections deals with the generally with the duty of the police officers to take proper action against the charges under the Sections   354, 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

The changes in section 154 Cr.P.C. "  “Provided that if the information is given by the woman against whom an offence under sections 354, 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 509 of the Indian Penal Code is alleged to have been committed or attempted, then such information shall be recorded, as far as possible, by a woman police officer”

In section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in sub-section (1), in the proviso, for the words “age of fifteen years”, the words “age of eighteen years or above sixty-five years” shall be substituted.  In section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in sub-section(6),-
(i) for the words “sexual intercourse”, the words “sexual assault” shall be substituted.

In section 273 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, before the Explanation, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:-
“Provided that where the evidence of a person below the age of eighteen years who is alleged to have been subjected to sexual assault or any other sexual offence, is to be recorded, the court may take appropriate measures to ensure that such person is not confronted by the accused while at the same time ensuring the right of cross-examination of the accused”.

Another important entry has been made in this amendment bill and that is Section 166A which deals with the punishment for the public servant who will disobey the directions given under the law. The punishment is for 1 year or fine or both. this offence is also non-cognizable and bailable before the Magistrate of the first class.

We have witnessed many cases under the  this category of offences going unreported.The amendment in the Cr.P.C. shows the importance given to the part of the system who is gong to implement the laws.  There have been amendment in the Evidence Act as well such as-

In section 53A a prosecution for an offence under section 376 or section 376A or section 376B or section 376C of the I.P.C.or for attempt to commit such offence, where the question of consent is the bone of contention, evidence of the character of the victim or of his previous sexual experience with any person shall not be relevant on the issue of such consent or the quality of consent.



The Criminal Amendment Bill, 2010 is no doubt tried every thing to fight with this societal curse with strong hands but it has still silent on marital rape, and gender neutrality of the offence of sexual assault. On the other hand, the provision related to the sexual offences against minors and even an attempt with this respect shall be punishable is a fine step. The steps taken against the public servants is also appreciable. This bill has encouraged the victims to come forward with their complaints so that it can be handled in a proper way as per the law. All in all, It is a fine  proposed amendment bill except the areas untouched. 



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