Q What is the context ?
A Retired Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna has said that there is a blatant misuse of rape laws in the country.
Q What did Justice BN Srikrishna say?
- Lesser convictions: Statistics show that even after the amendment of rape laws, there have been less number of convictions.
- Need for objective analysis: It is time that rape cases be looked at in a very objective manner.
- Authencity of women’s claims needs to be checked: We need to question is the woman really subjected to cruelty and atrocities? Otherwise, in the general course of things, the accused is presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty should apply.
- Tilt of such laws is always against the men: However, in rape cases, whatever the woman says is treated as the gospel truth. But that is not the intention of the law. It is not the way to empower women.
Q What are various laws for the protection of women ?
- Various special laws relating to women include:
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
- Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
- Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
- Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Q What is an alleged rape case ?
- False accusations: Justice BN Srikrishna said that, sometimes some innocent men are being falsely accused of rape and later getting acquitted.
- Consensual sex is later cried as rape: There are many cases either in a consensual relationship or in co-habitation for a long time, there is a disagreement and the woman cries rape.
- Tool to preserve honour: There are instances where a secret affair is going on, people get to know of it and in order to come out of the ignominy of it, she cries rape, Justice Srikrishna said.
Q What are Issues with such alleged rape cases ?
- Whenever the man is accused of rape, he gets arrested, newspapers carry it on the front page.
- But when there is an acquittal, it is not carried in the same way. This is terrible.
- The balance is always tilted in favour of women in such cases.
Q What are Various sexual crimes in India ?
- Sexual Abuse/ Molestation/ Rape: Rape is one of the most common crimes in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, one woman is raped every 20 minutes in India.
- Marital Crimes: In India, marital rape is not a criminal offense. India is one of fifty countries that have not yet outlawed marital rape.
- Forced Marriage: Girls are vulnerable to being forced into marriage at young ages, suffering from a double vulnerability: both for being a child and for being female.
- Trafficking and forced prostitution: Human trafficking, especially of girls and women, often leads to forced prostitution and sexual slavery.
- Online abuse: Women are regularly subject to online rape threats, online harassment, cyber-stalking, blackmail, trolling, slut-shaming and more.
- Harassment at the workplace: Sexual harassment at workplace, mostly comprising of indecent remarks, unwanted touches, demands for sex, and the dissemination of pornography.
Q What are various initiative to protect women ?
A The Government has taken a number of initiatives for the safety of women and girls, which are given below:
- Nirbhaya Fund for projects for the safety and security of women
- One-Stop Centre Scheme to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces under one roof
- Online analytic tool for police called “Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences” to monitor and track time-bound investigation in sexual assault cases in accordance with Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018.
- National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) to facilitate investigation and tracking of sexual offenders across the country by law enforcement agencies.
Q What can be the Way ahead ?
- Breaking the cycle of abuse will require concerted collaboration and action between governmental and non-governmental actors including educators, health-care authorities, legislators, the judiciary and the mass media.
- Gender-based violence, an especially violent crime like rape, is a multifaceted problem.
- Although the incorporation of stringent laws and stricter punishments are important to deter people from committing such crimes, the solution to this is much more than just promulgation.
- Education of both men and women will lead to change in attitudes and perceptions.
- It is a mammoth task. We are just doing bits and pieces. A way ahead is obscure but in our sphere with concrete and pronounced steps.