April 23, 2024
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Custodial rape is an awful reality that plagues the basic tenets of rights and justice at the core of the biggest democracy in the world. The word itself bears a strong nightmare significance, creating a picture of a scenario in which those who are supposed to uphold law and order rather commit the most horrific crimes imaginable.

Even though India has made achievements in many areas, the country continues to struggle with the widespread issue of custodial rape, which not merely compromises human dignity but also underscores fundamental deficiencies in the system of criminal justice.

custodial rape meaning

  • When someone is under the care or supervision of another person or organization known as the custodian, that person or organization is said to be in custody.
  • This custodian has complete control over the individual, and because of this dependency and control dynamic, the custodian is under a great duty of care to safeguard them.
  • Nevertheless, occasionally these authorities abuse their authority and coerce female prisoners into having sex with them; this is known as “custodial rape.”

Custodial Rape in India: Grounds for Increase

  • Lack of Strict Regulations: Strict and obligatory legislation must be passed in order to stop the problem of rape and violence against inmates. Custodial rape is illegal in India, but custodial violence is not, a distinction that has been abused for many years by individuals in positions of authority.
  • No Significant Jail Reforms: Poor prison facilities, overcrowding, a severe manpower shortage, and little protection from danger in prisons continue to be issued for convicts in India. Transparency is further limited by the opaque nature of the entire system.
  • Social Component: The people in positions of authority decide to employ force and violence against those who are accused of a crime in order to gather information by adopting the “eye for an eye” strategy.
  • Impact of Film and Media: The media and film are major contributors to the rising number of rape and custodial rape incidents because they frequently objectify and depict women as objects rather than as human beings. In addition, there are a number of explicit vulgar songs, dialogues, and shows in theatres that encourage people to commit these kinds of crimes.

Punishment for Custodial Rape

section 197 of crpc        

  • section 197 of crpc primary goal is to give the authorities the ability to investigate accusations made against “public servants” in order to protect them from “frivolous,” “vexatious,” or “false” prosecutions that are primarily intended to embarrass and harass the accused official.
  • Nevertheless, if a public worker abuses their authority to carry out illegal activities, they are not covered by Section 197 Cr.P.C. and must be regarded as beyond the scope of their official duties.

section 376 of ipc 

  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 376C, addresses “Sexual intercourse by a person in authority” and creates a new category of sexual offenses that includes a series of sections referred to as custodial rape.
  • These cases do not qualify as rape because the victim’s consent is obtained under specific and compelling circumstances.
  • These people abuse their positions of authority as supervisors by doing inappropriate things.       
  • Rape offenders will be punished by rigorous imprisonment of any kind or by a minimum term of 10 years, which may be increased to a life sentence.

case law on custodial rape

  • Mathura Case (1972): Mathura, an Adivasi girl, was instructed to wait back as her family departed after being invited to the Maharashtra police station for a general investigation at the age of 14 to 16. Then two police officers started raping her.
  • Rameeza Bee Case (1978): In Andhra Pradesh, police detained 26-year-old Rameeza Bee and her spouse. Three police officers sexually assaulted her, and when her husband attempted to object, they savagely beat him to death.
  • Maya Tyagi Case (1980): It involved a six-month pregnant woman named Maya who was beaten, nude, and sexually assaulted while under police detention in Baghpat.

custodial rape in india: Major Challenges

  • Police or other officials declined to accept the victim’s allegation or even recognize it. Furthermore, for a variety of reasons, victims frequently encounter barriers or difficulties while filing a complaint.
  • The authorities are under political pressure to suppress crime data, particularly those pertaining to rapes that occur in detention.
  • Instead of filing a formal complaint (FIR), police officers’ and other authorities’ informal behaviours are documented in the form of a Community Social Register, or CSR. This makes deleting the records of these offenses quite simple.
  • Furthermore, no action may be taken against a public servant for anything they do in the course of carrying out their official duties, according to Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Judges and public employees serve the public interest and society as a whole, and since they perform their jobs well, they need to be granted comparable security while carrying out their official duties in a sincere manner.

Custodial Rape in India FAQs

  1. What is the punishment for custodial rape in India?

One of the most heinous crimes that emerged in India throughout the 1970s and 1980s is custodial rape. The same offense carries a mandatory minimum ten-year sentence that can be extended to life in prison as well as a hefty fine.

  • What is the difference between Section 197 of the CrPC and Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988?

Judges and public employees are subject to prosecution under Section 197 of the CrPC, but Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 states that sanctions are only necessary when an offense is covered by Sections 7, 10, 11, 13, and 15 of the PC Act of 1988.

  • Can my wife file a 376?

If a husband violates Section 376 IPC, he may face punishment. Following his wife’s allegation, a husband filed a petition under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code to have the rape accusations against him dropped. However, the Karnataka High Court declined the appeal.

  • Is bail possible in 376?

Bail for serious offences may be granted after taking into account the nature of the allegations and the delay in filing the FIR. Bail – Offence according to Section 376 IPC – Applicant granted bail due to the charges’ nature and the delay in filing the FIR

  • What is the time limit for the sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC?

The Karnataka High Court has ordered that the case be decided by the appropriate authorities within six months of the investigative agency submitting their motion to prosecute public officers under Section 197 of the CrPC.

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