Radical Change in Indian Rape Laws

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"While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless victim." - Justice Arijit Pasayat.

The most nefarious of all possible crimes, Rape is rarely treated as the felony it ought to be construed as. The Indian Criminal Regime is governed by the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which remains to be the sole penal law for nearly two centuries. S.375 and 376, the sections dabbling with defining rape and punishing the same, are not free from decadence and redundancy that time brings along- offering a mere ten year term in prison, with or without a fine as the case may be, as the punishment to a perpetrator of rape. Additionally, the system involving the interpretation and implementation of the existing legal system indicate one to many lacunae, what with myriads of offenders roaming the streets, scot free.

We, the undersigned, at Fight-Back, endeavour to bring to the attention of the legislature, the fact that the prevailing legal system neither acts as a deterrent nor as a retributive force to perpetrators of the crime. The following need to be changed-

1) The Definition of Rape.
Merely because a woman does not put up a fight, it does not mean that the act was consensual.

2) The Punishment.
Ten years to do time is hardly punishment for rape, considering the heinous nature of the offence. Life imprisonment at the minimum, and death penalty at the maximum should be the plausible punishments.

3) Registration as a Sex-Offender.
As is in The United States Of America, the offenders need to enroll/register as registered sexual offenders, indicating the need for a periodic review of the individual's track record if he is out of prison. It is imperative that the individual be labeled with this tag, to allow society to understand who to be wary of.

4) Sensitizing of Police Personnel. The implementing and enforcement entities need to be sensitized to the victims, and must mandatorily register a complaint, and see it through to the end.

5) Monetary Liabilities.
The rapist has to pay a hefty financial amount, including the amount incurred in the form of psychological treatment of the victim and other medical expenses.

6) Gender Neutral Law.
Rape is not a crime exclusively against a woman. It affects men as much as it does women, given that offences of sodomy and homosexual abuse is on the rise. Punishing women raping men and same sex rape in the same vein is mandatory.

7) Minor and Disabled Victims.
Raping of a minor should be considered even more heinous a crime, subjecting the offender to the death penalty alone, being that a minor and a disabled person is far more vulnerable to such attack, and is completely defenseless, not to mention lacking in knowledge of what is happening to them, even.


8) Training of Personnel.
Training of police or women's cell in police, and the forensic team to collect evidence in a rape case to enhance conviction is mandatory. The minimum evidence required should be spelt out and has to be in the victim's favour.

9) Legal Aid.
Victims of rape must be given sufficient legal aid, with enough privacy accorded to them, so as to avoid the ascription of unwarranted stigmatization.

10) In-Cameral Proceedings.
Victims of rape ought to be shielded from unnecessary stigmatization and should be accorded the opportunity to maintain their legal proceedings in court as in-cameral, at their option and choice.

Make the changes. Give us a safer place to live in.


The Fight-Back team
www.fight-back.net

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