January 07, 2013

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Society and Law Relating to Rape In India

- Rajiv Tuli, Managing Partner [ Vaidat Legale Services ]
- Anjaneya Mishra, Partner [ Vaidat Legale Services ]

Society and Law Relating to Rape In India

"The most shocking news that I heard on that fateful Sunday night was that thegang rape of the Girl, in a bus, and which was even more painful was the sad demise of the girl who took her last breath in Singapore."

If the reporters are to be believed, the girl died due to multiple organ failure. It is not that there were other unfortunate incidents that have happened recently, but the fact which has struck the sentimental cords of the people at large, post the incident, is the insecurity and restlessness spread nationwide.

The idea which has propelled me to put my thoughts on papers is the sincere sense of responsibility towards the fellow citizen of this Country, our social security and moral duty towards our country. But the question is how responsible our government is towards the citizen of our country. We pay taxes equal to that of any other developed country or rather more than that. It is very painful and rather ironical for me to pen this down that 20 police officials are deployed for class called VIP for their alleged security. And on the contrary, one police official is deployed for 199 class called common men in Delhi. We pay 1/3 of our hard earned income for income tax and we cannot even ask questions.

I found it very astonishing when nine major metro stations in Delhi were closed and section 144 of IPC was imposed in the Central Delhi by the Government fearing the masses and the processions. Question that strike to my mind was why were the government offices opened and why were orders not passed for shutting down even the private sectors when the government cannot afford running the metros peacefully. I also came across a wall post on a social network site shared by one of my friend wherein a girl carrying a hoarding in her hand, asked a questions with the government which read thus “METRO KYO BAND KIYA, TUMHARE BAAP KI HAI”.

Last Sunday we joined our hands at the India Gate, to protest against the brutal and heinous acts of the six people that happened on the 16th of this month, when the government manhandled the possession and opened tear gas and lathi charge. I however fail to fathom, as to against whom are we demanding justice? The path of possession that we had been choosing since decades as a mark discontent, demanding to counter the crimes like rape and such other brutal act should have rather been diverted for asking questions with the execution and legislature. Considering the fact that the government has been absolutely expressionless and hostile on the agitations and demonstrations, I ask that can a Bill or an Ordinance that the government is now proposing to pass for stricter laws on the offenses like Rape to put an end to such sins actually help or console us. We now seek an answer in terms of actions and not words. If the answer is no, I think its high time we learn to stand up on our own and start asking question much before anything would happen. The people responsible for the act of 16th December are not only those six ones, but also the government who are one of us, and so are we.

The idea which was even more un-fateful and haunting is the tied hands of the Indian legal system and unwillingness of the government to change the same. If I could correctly recollect, the legislature of our country did not take more than a minute to pass a Bill on the enhancement of the salary of “so-called
representatives” of the citizens

I don’t remember us going randomly to the Police station and ask as to what measures have been taken by the police to counter such acts and further to the higher officials on not getting the proper reply from them.

I would rather prefer to join demonstrations and procession to little more distance from my home or office to a nearby police and transform our anguishes into anxiety and put across to the officials as to what measures they have taken actually post the incident to counter an unfortunate incident. I am sure they would not be satisfied by the conduct or the replies or perhaps omissions to reply. But the idea would at least hit the police officials to the extent that next time they should be prepared with at least an answer to avoid us. We should also consult the MLA and LG concerned for the omissions and execution of the policies made for us. Our Hon’ble and invisible representatives come to meet us once in five years. We should learn to raise our voices against acts of the unwanted elements of the society but also against the omissions of the local police officials and our representatives for their act of “not acting” and take that pitch of the voice a little more higher cord to take it rather more higher level of the government sitting upon the MLAs/LGs.

I should, at least, admit and gave credit to our government on giving us an instrument called the Right to Information Act, 2005. I can say this as I have read the Act and understand the wonders it can create for common citizens. I know it is not easy for a common man to spare time from its busy schedule and actually enquire as to how many public servants are actually deployed on a person. How many beats (police post) are actually placed in a colony for any unwanted or unforeseen incidents. It would be unjustifiable on my part to not discuss the legal aspect concerning rape and I would also not refrain from saying that the measures against such crime are lenient, as compared the laws of other neighboring Asian Countries.

In State of Karnataka Vs. Krishnappa AIR 2000 Supreme Court 1470, His Lordship Justice A. S. Anand, the then Chief Justice of India observed thus

“Sexual violence apart from being a dehumanising act is an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a female. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self esteem and dignity - it degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child, it leaves behind a traumatic experience. The Courts are therefore, expected to deal with cases of sexual crime against women with utmost sensitivity. Such cases need to be dealt with sternly and severely”

In an another judgment of the supreme court pronounced in “State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh (1996 CriLJ 1728) observed:

Of late, crime against women in general and rape in particular is on the increase. It is an irony that while we are celebrating woman's right in all spheres, we show little or no concern for her honour. It is a sad reflection on the attitude of indifference of the society towards the violation of human dignity of the victims of sex crimes. We must remember that a rapist not only violates the victim's privacy and personal integrity, but inevitably causes serious psychological as well as physical harm in the process. Rape is not merely a physical assault- it is often destructive of the whole personality of the victim. A murderer destroys the physical body of his victim, a rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female. The Courts, therefore, shoulder a greater responsibility while trying an accused on charges of rape. They must deal with such cases with utmost sensitivity.

Yet another striking and amusing feature in our Indian judicial system against such cases is the tiers through which a case has to undergo. The trial court, where the trial would normally stretch to decades or even longer and then an accused being convicted would always have the right and opportunity to
approach appellate courts. Even, if the Supreme Court upholds the convictio of the courts below, the alleged aggrieved accused could appeal the alleged illegality of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Review and then Curative Petition.

Last but not the least, the mercy petition has always proved to be an effective option in the recent years in the regime of our Ex-President Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil who has allowed as many as 35 mercy petitions in her regime/tenure. In one of such cases, the accused was acquitted on the grounds that he was the only sole bread earner of the family. The accused conducted a rape of 15 years of minor girl and thereafter murdered her and her family. There are much more astonishing and heart breaking factors in our system which needs t be changed before we the so called common men erupts and take common and unprecedented place where we could in a bid to seek justice, start taking laws in our hands and become unjustifiable. The responsibility is on the government whom we look up to, like vet eyes in the desert for rain to wet their land.

I genuinely feel and it is a high time that the government should also start thinking from people’s point of view as we are the largest so-called democratic country and so should the government should be for the people, by the people and of the people not only in words but in its true sense and spirit.


Contributed by – Rajiv Tuli, Advocate & Anjaneya Mishra, Advocate.
Vaidat Legale Services

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