Shaken by the atrocious gang rape and murder involving a 23-year girl in Delhi and several other increasing child rape cases across the country, the Indian women seem to have finally woken up to the harsh realities of living in intimidation and fear. In the wake of such incidents, protests were unleashed all over the country even as the public ventured into the streets demanding the government to act, while some took to the internet to voice their views.
Recently, the news about a new rape law IPC-233 — that it grants rape victims the right to kill her assaulter — went viral in the social media. The news, though is a hoax, gives you an insight into existing rape laws in India that we citizens should know.
Rape Laws in India:
Search for Indian penal code 233 in google and you will find that the law actually relates to making or selling of instruments for counterfeiting coins. The Indian constitution already has anti-rape laws in place such as the IPC section 376. As per the law, the guilty will be charged with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum of seven years, in addition to paying a fine unless the victim is his wife and not a minor (under twelve years of age).
Laws Concerning Private Defence:
According to the Private Defence Act enlisted in the IPC section 100 of the Indian constitution, a person has a right to defend his or her body against any physical assault, irrespective of the damage caused to the assaulter.
Section 96 narrows it down to the cases of sexual assault, which gives full right to women to defend her body to the extent of causing voluntary death or of any other harm to the assailant who acts with an intention of rape or lust.
At the same time, the law warrants the victim to provide the necessary evidence of sexual assault/rape either by herself or from the witnesses. Moreover, according to IPC section 97, during the assault, any person associated with the woman also has the legal right to defend her body and fight/kill the assailant.
Whatever the laws in place, rape cases have surged in the country at an alarming rate of roughly 25 percent in the past six years. The rising assaults against women and the indifference of the administrators towards curtailing such crimes in India, has really endangered the largest democracy in the world.
It is a sad plight that a country such as India, which is admired for its humanistic, people-friendly culture and feared by countries around the world for its rapid economic growth rate, has a despicable record of mistreating its women. Our country can never become the superpower it dreams to be, unless we stop devaluing our women folk who form half of India’s population, but instead give them the freedom they deserve.