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Rape Laws in India

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Rape and the issue of violence against women in general have been endemicto Indian society, with high profile cases capturing national and internationalattention for brief bouts of time before dying down and becoming part ofcommonplace history. This is an ironic phenomenon, considering the majorityof the population religiously worships female goddesses who represent courage,prosperity, and power. Currently, it is estimated that ninety-three women arebeing raped in India every day. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) inIndia has reported data about rape cases since 1971.

From 1971 to 2011, thenumber of reported cases increased from 2,487 to 24,206 (National Crime RecordsBureau 2013). First Information Reports (FIRs) filed for rape in 2012 showed anincrease of 3% from the previous year. In 2012, 24,923 cases were reported, ofwhich only 15% went to trial and only 2% led to conviction. Although such statisticsare published, the actual number of rapes is far from being recorded, since theunreported figure is extremely high. The general consensus is that the “currentlevels of violence reported through national and local law enforcement recordrepresent a minimum of actual violence against women cases”. Hence, the issueof violence against women, and more specifically, rape, is far more ubiquitousthan it appears.

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A bus with tinted windows eventuallystopped, whereupon a young boy persuaded the pair to board the bus with thepromise of transportation to home. At that fateful moment, Nirbhaya was violentlyassaulted and raped by six men; these perpetrators were Ram Singh, the mainaccused bus driver (age 35); his brother, Mukesh Singh (age 29); Vinay Sharma,an assistant gym instructor (age 18); Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller (age 19); AkshayThakur, unemployed (age 28), and Mohammed Afroz, a juvenile at the time ofthe crime who was called “Raju” for anonymity (age 17).

While Nirbhaya and her friend were in the hospital, three of theaccused, including the principal suspect Ram Singh, were arrested on December17th. On the 18th, a fourth arrest was made. It took three more days to arrest thejuvenile and the final perpetrator, on December 21st. Immediately after news ofthe gang rape spread, protests erupted in Delhi and all over the country.

The publicin Delhi was so agitated by the tragedy that police resorted to tear gas to controlthe crowds. In the initial weeks, “Hang the rapists” was the vociferous cry of theIndian media. Nothing less than capital punishment would assuage the collectivehorror and anger of the populace. However the demand for Capital Punishment toa rape convict is not raised first time, it has been raised many times. Former HomeMinister of India L. K. Advani once has given statement in the Parliament in supportof death penality for rape convict. In Bacchan Singh vs. State of Punjab2 the SCheld death penalty should be given in “rare of the rarest case”. However in somecountries there is the provision of death penalty in case of rape. In Saudi Arabia,Iran, China in exceptional cases, a rape convict is awarded with the punishment ofdeath.

In China, Castration (a surgical action in which a biological male loses theuse of testicles) is also used as punishment for rape. In the political sphere, two Commissions of Inquiry, the Justice VermaCommittee and the Usha Mehra Committee, were constituted as a directconsequence of the rape and subsequent outrage about the incident, their purposebeing to seek public opinion as to how the then-current anti-rape laws should beamende


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