Current State of Affairs: Is Our Judicial System Insensitive to Rape Victims?

Must Read

What is the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016?

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (“RERA”) is an Act of the Parliament. It seeks to protect...

Should the Exorbitant Amounts Charged for RT-PCR Tests be Refunded?

Introduction A plea has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court of India seeking a refund of exorbitant amounts charged...

Should CCTV’s be Installed in the Police Station?

Introduction In a recent judgment, the bench led by Justice Nariman issued directions to both the state and Union Territory...

A Legal Analysis of the West Bengal Political Crisis on IPS Deputation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently summoned three IPS officers of West Bengal (WB). The decision was...

Explained: Postal Ballot for NRIs

At the end of November 2020, Election Commission sent a proposal to the law ministry to amend the Representation...

Explained: Constitutional Provisions and Legislations With Regards to a Person with Disabilities

The world celebrates December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is also called World...

Follow us

There is little doubt that rape is one of the most heinous crimes that exist in our current society. It is a crime that not only affects the victim but also the society. Even so, is our system doing enough to combat rape? Year after year, rapes in India have only been rising. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) points to dismal facts. India registers a rape every 15 minutes. Just over 85 percent led to charges. Another 27% end in convictions.

With such a poor rate of convictions, our system to combat rape comes into the limelight again. It begs us to ask the question, are we doing enough to combat rape? Is our system insensitive to the plight of rape victims?

The Outdated Approach

“The explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman. That is not the way our women react when they are ravished”. These were the words of Karnataka HC Justice Krishna Dixit. He said this while hearing a case of anticipatory bail.

Furthermore, he also commented on certain facts and circumstances of the case. He stated that there were a few reasons that put doubt on the victim’s claims. First was the fact that she consumed alcohol with the petitioner. Second, was that she allowed him to stay with her till morning. He also stated that there was no explanation offered as to why the victim did not go to the police immediately.

Problems Faced

One may debate that this was merely the case of anticipatory bail, not the final verdict given in the case. However, the doubts cast on our justice system still loom. Rape victims in our country have a long hard fight to get justice. The first and the biggest challenge faced by rape victims is society. In almost 90% of all registered rape cases, the victim and the abuser know each other. People are more concerned with the reaction of society to rape and the ‘reputation’ of the family. Hence, this leaves many victims to fend for themselves. This leads to pressure on the victim to not file a case.

The dynamics of India also play a major role. Many times, there is immense pressure put on Dalit/so- called-lower cast families. People pressure them not to pursue a criminal case. Or, they tell them to change their testimony if the accused is from a higher caste. 

The next fight faced by victims is the getting their case registered or investigated. Not registering rape cases is a crime punishable with two years’ imprisonment. Despite this, reports indicate otherwise. Police officers tend to pressurize victims into not filing a report. Often, the police attempt to help the victim ‘settle’ their dispute with the abuser. Powerful and ‘upper caste’ abusers usually bribe the police to do this. Lacks of witness protection laws also make survivors and witnesses vulnerable to threats. 

Current State of Affairs 

report of the Human Rights Watch sheds more light on this. The Government issued medical guidelines in 2014, for dealing with rape cases. These guidelines remain largely unfollowed. Their implementation depends on the states. Hence, there is lack of uniformity throughout the country. Medical professionals, especially in smaller States, do not follow guidelines. They still practice outdated methods of examination. 

Victims of rape, especially from marginalized communities, lack access to legal help. There is a plethora of judgments by Courts to provide legal aid to the victim. Despite this, there is no shortage of cases where the victim has had no access to legal aid. Even if victims fight all these challenges, their battle for justice is still not over. 

There is close to an 88% backlog in all rape cases in country. 700 fast track courts are currently operational. However, the total number of pending cases in these courts still stands in lakhs. So, there is a huge backlog problem that the Government needs to address. And even after fighting all these problems, victims of rape still face the agony of the court process. 

Defence lawyers continue to use biased and derogatory language towards sexual assault survivors. They use tactics that regularly question the ‘character’ of the woman. They portray her as an ‘impure’ and ‘easy’ person. Judges are also been complacent in this behaviour many times. There have been many instances where judges have passed comments such as:

“Never be blackmailed into being raped, or you will be showing ‘promiscuous attitude and a voyeuristic mind’”. These statements are not isolated incidents as already seen by the recent case. Many times, judges have passed statements that in every way contribute toward victim-shaming. 

Changes Required 

The first step of solving any issue is recognizing that there is one. The legislature needs to wake up. It needs to realize that merely implementing harsher punishment is not the solution. It is not the true that India does not have any guidelines issued by the Courts and the legislature. But what is lacking is the will to ensure strict implementation. 

The Government must take steps to improve implementation of these guidelines. Focus has to be shifted on implementation of sensitization programs that ensure complete help to survivors of rape. But the biggest change required is the societal change. Stigma and patriarchy still exist in India. Society needs to support victims, and stop doubting their stories. The law is balanced enough to protect the rights of the accused. What is lacking is adequate support by the judicial system to the victim. 


Libertatem.in is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgements from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also subscribe for our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest News

UK Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Policyholders in the COVID-19 Business Interruption Case

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court finally concluded the long-awaited COVID-19 business interruption case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Hiscox Action...

Kerala High Court Disposes of Writ Petition on Grounds That Reliefs Sought Are Already in Process of Being Granted, Directs State to Complete the...

Excerpt A single-judge bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Shircy V. gave orders on the writ petition filed by the Petitioner. This writ is filed by...

Supreme Court Directs Government To Provide Free Education To Minor Children of Rape Victims

The Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi was directed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday to make sure that minor children of rape victims are ensured free education till they attain the age of 14 years. The Court made the observation while hearing a plea filed by a woman who claimed that she belonged to the SC/ST group from Jharkhand. She was forced by a man after which her father lodged a complaint.

Aadhar Review Plea Rejected in a 4:1 Verdict by Supreme Court

The petition seeking the re-examination of the 2018 Aadhar Verdict which declares the Aadhar act constitutional and valid was dismissed by a 5-judge bench in a 4:1 verdict. In January the petitions were considered by a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, S Abdul Nazeer, Ashok Bhushan, and B R Gavai in the chamber and the order was up on the website on Wednesday.

New Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Amendments Are Valid Says Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld the amendments in the insolvency and bankruptcy code which makes it mandatory for a minimum of 100 or 10% of home buyers of a project to initiate insolvency proceedings against a builder for not delivering flats or commercial shops on time.

[HUL – Sebamed Ad War] Bombay High Court Passed Injunction; Permits Sebamed Ad Against HUL’s Dove

The ad war between the German personal care brand Sebamed and the consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has come to an end. On January 19th, Bombay High Court passed an injunction order permitting the Sebamed ad against Hindustan Unilever’s Dove without any changes. It was observed that Sebamed ads were backed with evidence-based data. However, Sebamed was ordered to put an end to its advertisement that compared HUL soap bars Lux, Pears, and Santoor with Rin and detergent category.

Bombay High Court Says White Collar Crimes Are More Dangerous Than Murder and Dacoity

The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court rejected 4 petitions of 4 businessmen after observing that white-collar crimes are more serious than murder and dacoity. The businesspersons were booked for fraud of evading GST by producing fake invoices.

Right To Protection Can’t Be Granted To Married Woman Involved in Live-in Relationship: Allahabad High Court

The Bench of Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition of a live-in couple, observing that a married woman in a live-in relationship is not entitled to any sort of legal protection whatsoever. The Court remarked that they are adults and should live as ‘husband and wife’ if they want no one to interfere in their lives.

Police To Decide on the Entry of Farmers To Delhi on Republic Day Says Supreme Court

While the Supreme Court heard a plea seeking an injunction against the tractor rally that is scheduled for January 26th, it held that it is the decision of the Delhi Police officers to see whether the protesting farmers should get entry into Delhi on Republic Day.

[Sushant Singh Rajput Case]: Republic TV & Times Now Hindered Investigation Probe Says Bombay HC

In November last year, the Court had reserved its judgement on the PILs that came from 8 former police officers from Maharashtra, lawyers, activists and NGOs, seeking restraining orders against the media trial in the Sushant Singh Rajput case.

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -