December 12, 2023
symbolizing the legal focus

At first, rape was regarded as a crime against property rather than a crime against the victim. Women who intended to belong to their fathers or husbands were the property in dispute. In terms of Indian law, in 1860, the Indian legal code established “rape” as a distinct offense. In 1860, the Indian penal code established “rape” as a distinct offense.

The “nirbhaya case study”

  • On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman was brutally attacked and sexually assaulted while riding a bus in south Delhi. Jyoti Singh endured beatings, group sexual assault, and mental torture. One of the adolescent assailants tore her intestines apart by stabbing her in the intimate parts with an iron rod. As all of this was happening, the bus driver traveled throughout Delhi. Only five percent of her intestines were remaining within her body when she passed away. Significant rallies and protests were held across the nation in response to the tragedy.
  • On March 11, 2013, bus driver Ram Singh killed himself at Tihar Jail. In September 2013, a trial court sentenced Mukesh, Akshaya, Pawan, and Vinay to death.

The “Nirbhaya case judgment”

The Nirbhaya case judgment includes:

  • The court found all six of the men, including the juvenile, culpable in the Nirbhaya rape case.
  • The bus driver, Ram Singh, killed himself on March 11(2013), at Tihar Jail while the case was still pending.
  • The minor received a maximum sentence of three years in a rehabilitation institution after being prosecuted separately in a juvenile court.
  • The trial court sentenced Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan, and Vinay to death in September 2013. The three prisoners who were convicted after Akshay requested a review of the ruling, but their request was denied. The Supreme Court rejected Akshay’s review plea on December 18, 2019, and it finally hanged on March 20 (2020).

Major Amendments and Reforms: Post Nirbhaya case law

The various laws went through reforms and changes after the Nirbhaya case. Some of them are:

Criminal Law Amendment Act (2013)

  • Another name for this Act of 2013 is the Anti-rape Act.
  • The standard definition of rape was amended and went through changes after Nirbhaya Case to include new offenses like stalking, attacks with acid, and voyeurism.
  • These days, even making threats of rape is illegal, and the perpetrator will face consequences.
  • Additionally, as per Nirbhaya case ipc section 376 was changed to toughen the penalties for rape. The modified clause made rape punish by a minimum of seven years in jail, which was later amended to ten years.
  • Rape that resulted in death or a vegetative state was punishable by a minimum of twenty years in prison.
  • When it comes to rape cases, the victim’s personality was completely unimportant, and it has no bearing on how the crime is punished.
  •  After this particular incident, another weakness in the system was found because one of the defendants in this case was a minor. Due to the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015, changes in juvenile law after Nirbhaya case was that the age at which violent offenses such as rape may be tried as adults was lowered from 18 to 16.
  •  Additionally, the registration of complaints and the medical examination were included. The report said unequivocally that any official who seeks to obstruct the investigation into a reported incidence of rape or fails to record it as a crime is guilty of the stipulated punishment.

Recommendations of Justice Verma Committee

  • The death punishment for rapists was not suggested by the panel. It makes the case that rape ought to carry a life sentence or a restraining order. It is suggested that people who cause death should be sentenced to life in RI, or at least 20 years, depending on how long the offender lives.
  • It makes the case that gang rape ought to carry a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, with the potential for imprisonment for life, and that gang rape that results in death ought to carry a life sentence.
  • The committee issued the following recommendations after acknowledging the need to address all forms of sexual crimes:
  • The maximum sentence for voyeurism is seven years in prison;
  • The maximum sentence for stalking or making repeated attempts to get in touch with someone is three years.
  • Drug trafficking has a potential seven-to-ten-year prison sentence, while
  • Acid attacks carry a maximum seven-year sentence.
  • A distinct Bill of Rights for Women that protects a woman’s freedom to exercise full sexual independence, including in her relationships, and her right to a life of security and dignity.

Criminal Law Amendment Act (2018)

  • The goal of those measures was to stop the growing trend of sexual assault against minors.
  • Section 376AB established a new offense in which the minimum penalty for raping a woman under the age of twelve was twenty years in jail, with the possibility of a life sentence, that is, the rest of the offender’s natural life, and the maximum penalty being death.
  • The Act of 2018 significantly raised the obligatory penalty to 20 years without any reliable research or explanation, replacing the amending Act of 2013’s 10-year minimum requirement.

The nation saw numerous legal and social improvements as a result of this case. A number of important initiatives were put out by the center and various governments to ensure the safety of women in the area and displayed the deficiencies in our legal system as a whole that are subject to reforms.

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