In the ancient Indian women held a high place of respect in the society as mentioned in Rigveda and other scriptures. Volumes can be written about the status of our women and their heroic deeds from the vedic period to the modern times. But later on, because of social, political and economic changes, women lost their status and were elegated to the background. Many evil customs and traditions stepped in which enslaved the women and tied them to the boundaries of the house1.
The official statistics showed a declining sex-ratio, health status, literacy rate, work participation rate and political participation among women. While on the other hand the spread of social evils like dowry deaths, child marriage, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, exploitation of women workers are rampant in different parts of India. Humiliation, rape, kidnapping, molestation, dowry death, torture, wife-beating etc. have grown up over the years2. 2. MEANING OF CRIME / VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN The Semantic meaning of crime against women is direct or indirect physical or mental cruelty to women.
Crimes which are directed specifically against women and in which only women are victims are characterized as Crime against Women3. It is equally important to clarify the concept of violence against women. Violence is also known as abuse and include any sort of physical aggression or misbehave. When violence is committed at home it becomes domestic violence and involves family members such as children, spouse, parents or servants. Domestic violence may involve different means such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects.
In broad terms, it includes threats, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, controlling or domineering, intimidation, stalking, passive/covert abuse and economic deprivation, rape, abduction, kidnapping, murder (all cases of criminal violence, dowry death, wife battering, sexual abuse, maltreatment of a widow and for an elderly women (all cases of domestic violence) and eve-teasing, forcing wife/daughter-in-law to go for foeticide, forcing a young widow to commit sati, etc (all cases of social violence), are issues which affect a large section of society4. Violence and Protective Measures for Women Development and Empowerment by Aruna Goel, New Delhi, Deep & Deep Publications, 2004, pp. 3-4 2 Violence against Women and Children-Issues and Concerns, By Awadhesh Kumar Singh and Jayanta Choudhury, New Delhi, Serials Publications, 2012, p. 1 3 Ibid, p. 2 4 Ibid, 2012, pp. 2-3 The United Nations defined “Violence against Women” in 1993 in Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. It defines it as any act of gender -based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of uch acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life5. 3. CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL PROVISION FOR WOMEN The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them.
Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. India has also ratified various international convention and human rights instruments committing to secure equal rights of women. Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 19936. Constitutional Provisions for women are as under: vArticle 14, confers on men and women equal rights and opportunities in political, economic and social sphere. Article 15, prohibits, discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex etc. vArticle 16, provides for equality of opportunities matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state. vArticle 39(a)(d), mentions policy security of state equality for both men and women the right to a means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work for both men and women. vArticle 42, Direct the State to make provision for ensuring just and humane conditions of work and m eternity relief. Legal Provisions for women are as under: Factories Act 1948: Under this Act, a woman cannot be forced to work beyond 8 hours and prohibits employment of women except between 6 A. M. and 7 P. M. vMaternity Benefit Act 1961: A Woman is entitled 12 weeks maternity leave with full wages. vThe Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: Under the provisions of this Act demand of dowry either before marriage, during marriage and or after the marriage is an offence. vThe Equal Remuneration Act of 1976: This act provides equal wages for equal work: It provides for the payment of equal wages to both men and women workers for the same work or work of similar nature.
It also prohibits discrimination against women in the matter of recruitment. vThe Child Marriage Restrain Act of 1976: This act raises the age for marriage of a girl to 18 years from 15 years and that of a boy to 21 years. vIndian Penal Code: Section 354 and 509 safeguards the interests of women. vThe Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971: The Act safeguards women from unnecessary and compulsory abortions. vAmendments to Criminal Law 1983, which provides for a punishment of 7 years in ordinary cases and 10 years for custodial rape cases. 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act reserved 1/3rd seats in Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies for women. vThe National Commission for Women Act, 1990: The Commission was set up in January, 1992 to review the Constitutional and legal safeguards for women. vThe Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. vProtection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: This Act protects women from any act/conduct/omission/commission that harms, injures or potential to harm, is to be considered as domestic violence.
It protects the women from physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological, economic abuse.. vProtection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010: on November 4, 2010, the Government introduced protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, which aims at protecting the women at workplace not only to women employee but also to female clients, customer, students, research scholars in colleges and universities patients in hospitals. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on 3. 9. 2012. 4.
CLASSIFICATION OF CRIME AGAINST WOMEN: These are broadly classified under two categories i. e. (A) The Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and, (B) The Crimes under the Special & Local Laws (SLL). A. The Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC): Seven Crimes included under this head are as follows: (i) Rape (Section 376 IPC) (incidence 24, 206, Rate: 2. 0) An increasing trend in cases of rape has been observed during 2007-08. A mixed trend in the incidence of rape has been observed during the periods 2008-11. These cases have reported an increase of 3. % in the year 2008 over the year 2007, a decline of 0. 3% in the year 2009 over 2008 and an increase of 3. 6% in the year 2010 over 2009 and further an increase of 9. 2% in the year 2011 over the year 2010. Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest number of Rape cases (3,406) accounting for 14. 1% of total such cases reported in the country. Mizoram has reported the highest crime rate 7. 1 as compared to National average of 2. 0. Rape cases have been further categorized as Incest Rape and other Rape cases. Incest Rape (Incidence…267)
Incest rape cases have decreased by 7. 3% from 288 cases in 2010 to 267 cases in 2011 as compared to 9. 2% increase in overall Rape cases. Maharashtra (44 cases) has accounted for the highest (15. 3%) of the total such cases reported in the country Table at Annexure – I. Rape Victims There were 24,270 victims of Rape out of 24,206 reported Rape cases in the country. 10. 6% (2,582) of the total victims of Rape were girls under 14 years of age, while 19. 0% (4,646) victims were teenage girls (14-18 years). 54. 7% (13,264) victims were women in the age-group 18-30 years.
However, 15. 0% (3637) victim s were in the age-group of 30-50 years while 0. 6% (141 victims) was over 50 years of age. The details are given in Table at Annexure -I. Offenders were known to the victims in as many as 22,549 (94. 2%) cases. Parents/close family members were involved in 1. 2% (267 out of 22,549) of these cases, neighbors were involved in 34. 7% cases (7,835 out of 22,549 cases) and relatives were involved in 6. 9% (1560 out of 22,549 cases). The State / UT / City-wise details are presented in Table at Annexure-II. (ii) Kidnapping & Abduction (Sec. 63-373 IPC) (Incidence…35, 565, Rate…2. 9) These cases have reported an increase of 19. 4% during the year as compared to previous year (29,795 cases). Uttar Pradesh with 7,525 cases has accounted for 21. 2% of the total cases at the National level. Delhi UT has reported the highest crime rate at 12. 4 as compared to the National average of 2. 9 10 Table at Annexure-III. (iii) Dowry Death (Sec. 302, 304B IPC) and Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 A unique form of violence experienced by women is Dowry Death and now, the most common one. These cases have increased by 2. % during the year 2011 over the previous year (8,391 cases). 26. 9% of the total such cases reported in the country were reported from Uttar Pradesh (2,322) cases alone followed by Bihar (1,413 cases) (16. 4%). The highest rate of crime (1. 4) was reported from Bihar as compared to the National average of 0. 7 Table at Annexure-III. (iv) Torture (Cruelty by Husband & Relatives) (Sex. 498-A IPC) (Incidence …99,135, Rate…8. 2) ‘Torture’ cases in the country have increased by 5. 4% over the previous year (94,041 cases). 19. % of these were reported form West Bengal (19,772 cases). The highest crime rate of 21. 6 was also reported from West Bengal as compared to the National rate at 8. 2 Table at Annexure-III. (v) Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC) (Incidence …. 42,968 Rate…3. 6) Incidents of Molestation in the country have increased by 5. 8% over the previous year (40,613 cases). Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest incidence (6,665) amounting to 15. 5% of total such incidences. Kerala has reported the highest crime rate (11. 2. ) as compared to the National average of 3. Table at Annexure-III. (vi) Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC) (Incidence…8,570 Rate…0. 7) The number of such cases has decreased by 14. 0% during the year over the previous year (9,961 cases). Andhra Pradesh has reported 42. 7%(3,658 cases) followed by Maharashtra 12. 5%(1,071 cases) of total incidences during the year 2011. Andhra Pradesh has reported the highest crime rate (4. 3) as compared to the National average of 0. 7 Table at Annexure-III. Sexual harassment persists in many of the workplaces in India despite stringent legislation enforced against it.
Sexual harassment of women is a violation of the fundamental right of women to work in a safe environment. (vii) Importation of Girls (Sec. 366-B IPC) (Incidence…80) An increase of 122. 2% has been observed in Crime Head as 80 cases were reported during the year 2011 as compared to 36 cases in the previous year (2010). Madhya Pradesh (45 cases), Bihar (10 cases) and Karnataka (12 cases have together contributed more than two-third of total such cases at the National level16 Table at Annexure-III. C.
Reported Incidents of crime (Incidence…2,28, 650) A total of 2,28,650 incidents of crime against women (both under IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during the year 2011 as compared to 2,13,585 incidences in the year 2010 recording an increase of 7. 1% during the year 2011. Reported Incidents of crime : Year Cases 2007 1,85,312 2008 1,95,856 2009 2,03,804 2010 2,13,585 2011 2,28,650 West Bengal with 7. 5% share of country’s population has accounted for nearly 12. % of total crime against women by reporting 29,133 cases. Andhra Pradesh, accounting for nearly 7. 0% of the country’s population, has accounted for 12. 4% of total crimes against women in the country by reporting 28,246 cases in the year 201120 Table at Annexure-IV. Crime Rate (Crime rate… 18. 9) : The rate of crime has increased marginally from 18. 0 in the year 2010 to 18. 9 during the years 2011. Tripura has reported the highest rate of crime against women at 37. 0 during the year 2011 as compared to 18. 9 crime rate at the National level Table at Annexure-IV.
Trend Analysis: The crime head-wise details of reported crimes during the year 2007 to year 2011 along with percentage variation are presented in Table-I(A) below. The crime against women during the year 2011 has increased by 7. 1% over the year 2010 and by 23. 4% over the year 2007. The IPC component of crimes against women has accounted for 95. 8% of total crimes and the rest 4. 2% were SLL crimes against women. The proportion of IPC crimes committed against women towards total IPC crimes has increased during last 5 years from 8. % in the year 2007 to 9. 4% during the year 2011. Table – 1(A)| Crime Head-wise Incidents of Crime Against Women during 2007-2011 and Percentage variation in 2011 over 2010| Year| Sl. No|Crime Head|2007|2008|2009|2010|2011|Percentage variation in 2011 over 2010| 1. |Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)|20,737|21,467|21,397|22,172|24,206|9. 2| 2. |Kidnapping & Abduction (Sec. 363 to 373 IPC)|20,416|22,939|25,741|29,795|35,565|19. 4| 3. |Dowry Death(Sec. 302 / 304 IPC)|8,093|8,172|8,383|8,391|8,618|2. 7| 4. |Cruelty by Husband and Relatives (Sec. 498-A IPC)|75,930|81,344|89,546|94,041|99,135|5. 4| 5. |Molestation (Sec. 54 IPC)|38,734|40,413|38,711|40,613|42,968|5. 8| 6. |Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC)|10,950|12,214|11,009|9,961|8,570|-14. 0| 7. |Importation of Girls (Sec. 366-B IPC)|61|67|48|36|80|122. 2| 8. |Sati Prevention Act, 1987|0|1|0|0|1|100. 0| 9. |Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956|3,568|2,659|2,474|2,499|2,435|-2. 6| 10. |Indecent Representation of women (Prohibition) Act, 1986|1,200|1,025|845|895|453|-49. 4| 11. |Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961|5,623|5,555|5,650|5,182|6,619|27. 7| Total|1,85,312|1,95,856|2,03,804|2,13,585|2,28,65|7. 1| Table – 1(B)| Proportion of Crime against Women (IPC) towards total IPC crimes23| Sl.
No. |Year|Total IPC Crimes|Crime Against women (IPC cases)|Percentage to total IPC crimes| 1. |2007|19,89,673|1,74,921|8. 8| 2. |2008|20,93,379|1,86,617|8. 9| 3. |2009|21,21,345|2,03,804|9. 2| 4. |2010|22,24,831|2,13,585|9. 6| 5. |2011|23,25,575|2,19,142|9. 4| AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIAN PENAL CODE: Amendment of section 100- In the Indian Penal Code (hereafter in this Chapter referred to as the Penal Code), in section 100, in the clause Secondly, after the words “grievous hurt”, the words “including the offence of grievous hurt punishable under section 326A” shall be inserted.
Insertion of new section 166A: Public servant disobeying direction under law: 166A- Whoever, being a public servant,–– (a) knowingly disobeys any direction of the law which prohibits him from requiring the attendance at any place of any person for the purpose of investigation into an offence or any other matter, or (b) knowingly disobeys, to the prejudice of any person, any other direction of the law regulating the manner in which he shall conduct such investigation, or (c) fails to record any information given to him under subsection (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and in particular in relation to cognizable offence punishable under s e c t i o n 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, sub-section (2) of section 354D, section 376, section 376A, section 376B, s ection 376C, section 376D or section 376E, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both. ”.
Insertion of new sections 326A and 326B: Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc- 326A- Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or burns or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees: Provided that any fine imposed under this section shall be given to the person on whom acid was thrown or to whom acid was administered. 26B- Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation 1: For the purposes of section 326A and this section, “acid” includes any substance which has acidic or corrosive character or burning nature, that is capable of causing bodily injury leading to scars or disfigurement or temporary or permanent disability. Explanation 2: “Permanent or partial damage” includes deformity, or maiming, or burning, or disfiguring, or disabling any part or parts of the body of a person. Explanation 3: For the purposes of section 326A and this section, permanent or partial damage or deformity shall not be required to be irreversible. ’
Amendment of section 354: In section 354 of the Penal Code, for the words “shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both”, the words “shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of one year which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine” shall be substituted. Insertion of new sections 354A, 354B, 354C and 354D: 354A: – (1) The following acts or behaviour shall constitute the offence of sexual harassment–– (i)physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or (ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or (iii) making sexually coloured remarks; or (iv) forcibly showing pornography; or (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. 2) Any person who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section(1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. (3) Any person who commits the offence specified in clause (iii) or clause (iv) or clause (v) of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description that may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe: 354B- Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked in any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and with fine.
Voyeurism: 354C- Whoever watches, or captures the image of, a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation 1: For the purposes of this section, “private act” includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and where the victim’s genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public. Explanation 2: Where the victim consents to the capture of images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section. Stalking: 354D- 1) Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the offence of stalking: Provided that the course of conduct will not amount to stalking if the person who pursued it shows–– (i) that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the person accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the state; or (ii) that it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or (iii) that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable. (2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine. ’. Substitution of new sections 370 and 370A for section 370: Trafficking of person: 370- (1) Whoever, for the purpose of exploitation, (a) recruits, (b) transports, (c) harbours, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a person or persons, by–– First–– using threats, or Secondly–– using force, or any other form of coercion, or Thirdly–– by abduction, or
Fourthly–– by practicing fraud, or deception, or Fifthly–– by abuse of power, or Sixthly–– by inducement, including the giving or receiving of payments or benefits, in order to achieve the consent of any person having control over the person recruited, transported, harbored, transferred or received, commits the offence of trafficking. Explanation 1: The expression “exploitation” shall include, prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs. Explanation 2: The consent of the victim is immaterial in a determination of the offence of trafficking. 2) Whoever commits the offence of trafficking shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, but which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. (3) Where the offence involves the trafficking of more than one person, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. (4) Where the offence involves the trafficking of a minor, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life. 5) Where the offence involves the trafficking of more than one minor at the same time, it shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life. (6) When a public servant including police officer is involved in the trafficking of a minor then such public servant shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life. (7) If a person is convicted of the offence of trafficking of minors, on more than one occasion, then such person shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life. Employing of a trafficked person: 370A. 1.
Whoever, despite knowing, or having reason to believe that a child has been trafficked, employs such child in any form of labour, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and with fine. 2. Whoever, despite knowing or having reason to believe that an adult has been trafficked, employs such adult for labour, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine. ’. Substitution of new sections for sections 375, 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D: 1. Sexual assault: 375 A person is said to commit “sexual assault” f that person– (a) Penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth urethra or anus of another person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of another person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (c) manipulates any part of the body of another person so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (d) applies his mouth to the penis, vagina, anus, urethra of another person or makes such person to do so with him or any other person; (e) touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the person or makes the person touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of that person or any other person, except where such penetration or touching is carried out for proper hygienic or medical purposes under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:–– First: Against the other person’s will. Second: Without the other person’s consent.
Thirdly: With the other person’s consent when such consent has been obtained by putting such other person or any person in whom such other person is interested, in fear of death or of hurt. Fourthly : When the person assaulted is a female, with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes to be lawfully married. Fifthly: With the consent of the other person when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by that person personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, the other person is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that action to which such other person gives consent.
Sixthly : With or without the other person’s consent, when such other person is under eighteen years of age. Seventhly: When the person is unable to communicate consent. Explanation 1: Penetration to any extent is “penetration” for the purposes of this section. Explanation 2: For the purposes of this section, “vagina” shall also include labia majora. Explanation 3: Consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the person by words, gestures or any form of non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific act: Provided that, a person who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not by the reason only of that fact, be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity.
Exception: Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under sixteen years of age, is not sexual assault. 2. Punishment for sexual assault: 376- (1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section(2) commits sexual assault, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. (2) Whoever,–– (a) being a police officer, commits sexual assault – i. within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed; or ii. in the premises of any station house; or iii. n a person in such police officer’s custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to such police officer; or (b) being a public servant, commits sexual assault on a person in such public servant’s custody or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to such public servant; or (c) being a member of the armed forces is in the area by virtue of deployment by the Central or a State Government, commits sexual assault; or (d) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a women’s or children’s institution, commits sexual assault on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or (e) being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, commits sexual assault on a person in that hospital; or (f) being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards, the person assaulted, commits sexual assault on such person; or (g) commits sexual assault on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or (h) commits sexual assault on a person when such person is nder eighteen years of age; or (i) commits sexual assault, where the person assaulted is incapable of giving consent; or (j) being in a position of economic or social dominance, commits sexual assault on a person under such dominance; or (k) commits sexual assault on a person suffering from mental or physical disability; or (l) while committing sexual assault causes grievous bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a person; or (m) commits persistent sexual assault, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation 1: a) “women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected women or children or a widow’s home or an institution called by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of women or children; (b) “hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation; (c) “police officer” shall have the same meaning as assigned to the expression “police” under the Police Act, 1861; (d) “armed forces” means the naval, military and air forces and includes any member of the Armed Forces constituted under any Act for the time being in force, including the paramilitary forces and any auxiliary forces that are under the control of the Central Government or the State Government.
Explanation 2: Where a person is subjected to sexual assault by one or more persons in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons in the group shall be deemed to have committed sexual assault within the meaning of this sub-section. 3. Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of the victim: 376A- Whoever, commits an offence punishable under sub-section (1) or sub – section (2) of section 376 and in the course of such commission inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty ears, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death. 4. Sexual assault by husband upon his wife during separation: 376B- Whoever commits sexual assault on his own wife, who is living separately under a decree of separation or under any custom or usage, without her consent, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. 5. Sexual intercourse by a person in authority: 376C. Whoever,–– (a) being in a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship; or (b) a public servant; or c) superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force, or a women’s or children’s institution; or (d) being on the management of a hospital or being on the staff of a hospital, and abuses such position or fiduciary relationship to induce or seduce any person either in the first mentioned person’s custody or under the first mentioned person’s charge or present in the premises and has sexual intercourse with that person, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of sexual assault, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation 1: In this section, “sexual intercourse” shall mean any of the acts mentioned in clauses (a) to (c) of section 375. Explanation 2: For the purposes of this section, Explanations 1 and 2 to section 375 shall also be applicable. Explanation 3: “Superintendent”, in relation to a jail, remand home or other place of custody or a women’s or children’s institution, includes a person holding any other office in such jail, remand home, place or institution by virtue of which such person can exercise any authority or control over its inmates. Explanation 4: The expressions “hospital” and “women’s or children’s institution” shall respectively have the same meaning as in Explanation 1 to sub-section (2) of section 376. 6. Sexual assault by gang: 376D-
Where a person is sexually assaulted by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of sexual assault, regardless of gender and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. Explanation: For the purposes of this section, imprisonment for life shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life. 7. Punishment for repeat offenders: 376E- Whoever has been previously convicted of an offence punishable under section 376 or section 376A or section 376C or section 376D and is subsequently convicted of an offence punishable under any of the said sections shall be punished with imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life or with death. ’.
Amendment of section 509: In section 509 of the Penal Code, for the words “shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both”, the words “shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine” shall be substituted. 5. INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES TO CURB GENDER VIOLENCE The advancement of women has been a focus of the work of United Nations since its creation. The Preamble of UN Charter sets as a basic goal to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human per son, in the equal rights of men and women.
In 1946 the Commission on the Status of Women was established to deal with women issues. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights had affirmed the principle of inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaimed that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and rights and everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, including distinction based on sex. However, there continued to exist considerable discrimination against women primarily because women and girls face a multitude of constraints imposed by society, not by law. It violated the principle of equality of rights and respect for human rights.
The General Assembly on November 7, 1967 adopted a Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and in order to implement the principles set forth in the Declaration, a Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted. This Convention is often described as an International Bill of Rights for Women. It has laid down a comprehensive set of rights to which all persons, including women are entitled, additional means for protecting the human rights of women. In addition to the above Convention, three Conferences were held during the U. N. sponsored International Women’s Decade (1976 -1985) in Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi (1985).
The fourth conference was held at Beijing in 1995, have greatly enhanced international awareness of the concerns of women. Beijing Conference stated that Women’s rights are human rights. and it called for integration of Women’s human rights in the work of different human rights bodies of United Nations. It considered the issue of violence against women in public and private life as human rights issues. The Conference called for the eradication of any conflict which may arise between the rights of women and harmful effects. The UN General Assem bly in 2000 convened a Special session on Women: Gender Equality, Developm ent and Peace for 21st Century to assess the progress on women. s issues.
In February 2005, the Commission on the Status of Women at its 49 th Session viewed the progress made on Women’s Human Rights Agreement, known as Beijing Platform for Action. The Conference focused on many areas including poverty, environment, economy, education, human rights, power and decision making and girl child. In 2005, twenty third Special Session of the General Assembly was reiterated as World Summit Outcome. The Summit resolved to promote gender equality and eliminate persuasive gender discrimination. U. N. Commission on the Status of Women met on March 14, 2011 in the Economic and Social Council Chamber to discuss the present scenario of gender violence in the world. 6. NATIONAL INITIATIVES TO CURB THE GENDER VIOLENCE (i) National Commission for Women
In January 1992, the Government set-up this statutory body with a specific mandate to study and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and legal safeguards provided for women, review the existing legislation to suggest amendments wherever necessary, etc. (ii) Reservation for Women in Local Self –Government The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Acts passed in 1992 by Parliament ensure one-third of the total seats for women in all elected offices in local bodies whether in rural areas or urban areas. (iii) The National Plan of Action for the Girl Child (1991-2000) The plan of Action is to ensure survival, protection and development of the girl child with the ultimate objective of building up a better future for the girl child. iv) National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, 2001 The Department of Women ; Child Development in the Ministry of Human Resource Development has prepared a “National Policy for the Empowerment of Women” in the year 2001. The goal of this policy is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women. (v) National Mission for empowerment of Women, 2010 The launch of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women in March 2010 is an important development that will provide the m uch required fillip to a coordinated assessment of current government interventions and aligning future programmes so as to translate the MPEW prescription into reality. The Mission was operationalized during 2011-12. 7. VERMA COMMITTEE REPORT A three-member Commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice J. S.
Verma which was assigned to review laws for sexual crimes submitted its report to the Government during January 2013. The Commission has recommended comprehensive changes in criminal laws to deal with crimes and atrocities against women which are as under: Punishment for Rape: The panel has not recommended the death penalty for rapists. It suggests that the punishment for rape should be rigorous imprisonment or RI for seven years to life. It recommends that punishment for causing death or a “persistent vegetative state” should be RI for a term not be less than 20 years, but may be for life also, which shall mean the rest of the person’s life.
Gang-rape, it suggests should entail punishment of not less than 20 years, which may also extend to life and gang-rape followed by death, should be punished with life imprisonment. Punishment for other sexual offences: The panel recognised the need to curb all forms of sexual offences and recommended – Voyeurism be punished with upto seven years in jail; stalking or attempts to contact a person repeatedly through any means by up to three years. Acid attacks would be punished by up to seven years if imprisonment; trafficking will be punished with RI for seven to ten years. Registering complaints and medical examination: Every complaint of rape must be registered by the police and civil society should perform its duty to report any case of rape coming to its knowledge. Any officer, who fails to register a case of rape reported to him, or attempts to abort its investigation, comm its an offence which shall be punishable as prescribed,” the report says. The protocols for medical examination of victims of sexual assault have also been suggested. The panel said, “Such protocol based, professional medical examination is imperative for uniform practice and implementation. ” Marriages to be registered: As a primary recommendation, all marriages in India (irrespective of the personal laws under which such marriages are solemnized) should mandatorily be registered in the presence of a magistrate.
The magistrate will ensure that the marriage has been solemnized without any demand for dowry having been made and that it has taken place with the full and free consent of both partners. Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure: The panel observed, “The manner in which the rights of women can be recognized can only be manifested when they have full access to justice and when the rule of law can be upheld in their favour. ” The proposed Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2012, should be modified, suggests the panel. “Since the possibility of sexual assault on men, as well as homosexual, transgender and transsexual rape, is a reality the provisions have to be cognizant of the same,” it says.
A special procedure for protecting persons with disabilities from rape, and requisite procedures for access to justice for such persons, the panel said was an “urgent need. ” Bill of Rights for women: A separate Bill of Rights for women that entitles a woman a life of dignity and security and will ensure that a woman shall have the right to have complete sexual autonomy including with respect to her relationships. Review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act: The panel has observed that the “impunity of systematic sexual violence is being legitimized by the armed forces special powers act. ” It has said there is an imminent need to review the continuance of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Power Act) in areas as soon as possible.
It has also recommended posting special commissioners for women’s safety in conflict areas. Police reforms: To inspire public confidence, the panel said, “police officers with reputations of outstanding ability and character must be placed at the higher levels of the police force. ” All existing appointments need to be reviewed to ensure that the police force has the requisite moral vision. The panel strongly recommended that “law enforcement agencies do not become tools at the hands of political masters. ” It said, “Every member of the police force must understand their accountability is only to the law and to none else in the discharge of their duty. ”
Role of the judiciary: The judiciary has the prim ary responsibility of enforcing fundamental rights, through constitutional remedies. The judiciary can take suo-motu cognizance of such issues being deeply concerned with them both in the Supreme Court and the High Court. An all India strategy to deal with this issue would be advisable. The Chief Justice of India could be approached to commence appropriate proceedings on the judicial side. The Chief Justice may consider making appropriate orders relating to the issue of missing children to curb the illegal trade of their trafficking etc.
Political Reforms: The Justice Verma committee observed that reforms are needed to deal with criminalization of politics. The panel has suggest that, in the event cognizance has been taken by a magistrate of an criminal offence, the candidate ought to be disqualified from participating in the electoral process. Any candidate who fails to disclose a charge should be disqualified subsequently. It suggested lawmakers facing criminal charges, who have already been elected to Parliament and state legislatures, should voluntarily vacate their seat. Conclusion : Only legislation and law enforcement agencies cannot prevent the incident of crime against women.
There is need of social awakening and change in the attitude of masses, so that due respect and equal status is given to women. It. s a time when the women need to be given her due. This awakening can be brought by education campaign among youth making them aware of existing social evils and the means to eradicate same. Mass media can play an active role here as in the present days it has reached every corner of the nation. Various NGOs can hold a responsible position here by assigning them with the task of highlighting socio-economic causes leading to such crimes and by disseminating information about their catastrophic effect on the womanhood and the society at large.