This article was written by Aviva Jogani and further updated by Pruthvi Ramkanta Hegde. This article explains the facts, issues, and judgement of the case of Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra. This case is also called as Mathura rape case. The article also covers the overview of rape under the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the impact of judgement, and also covers related case laws.

This article has been published by Shashwat Kaushik.


Rape is one of the most serious crimes in India. Rape in general, is when someone hurts another person’s body and rights in a really bad way without their consent. It causes a lot of pain, thus making people feel very bad, both in their bodies and in their minds. In many places, in India, rape victims face many difficulties when they try to seek justice. This is even more difficult for people from poorer backgrounds, tribal communities, or minority groups. 

The case of Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra (1978) case, also called the Mathura Rape Case, contains a lot of arguments and changes to how India deals with rape. It is not just what happened to Mathura, (a young tribal girl who was raped), the case also highlighted how the system failed her and how society’s biases made it even harder for her to get justice. This case shows us why we need to change the way we deal with sexual violence and support victims better. 

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Rape under Indian law

India, as per the report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), recorded 31677 rape cases in 2021, in which Rajasthan has reported the highest number of rape cases with 6337 incidents. In India, the offence of rape was earlier governed by the Indian Penal Code of 1860, which is now replaced with the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita of 2023. The important provisions of the enactments are as follows:

As per Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (now Section 63 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023), rape is when a man forces himself on a woman in different ways. This includes:

  • By putting his private parts inside her private parts or mouth, or making her do it.
  • By using any object or body part other than his private parts to penetrate her private parts, mouth, or anus, or making her do it.
  • By touching her body in a way that causes penetration into her private parts, mouth, anus, or any part of her body, or making her do it.
  • By using his mouth on her private parts, anus, or urethra, or making her do it.

The Section further says that this happens in different situations, including:

  • When the woman does not agree. Such acts are against her will.
  • When she has not said yes.
  • When she says yes because she is afraid of being hurt.
  • When she thinks the man is her husband, but he is not.
  • When she says yes, but she can’t understand what she is agreeing to because of mental issues, being drunk, or being drugged.
  • When she is under eighteen years old.
  • When she can not express her agreement.

The Section defines consent as the woman agreeing to the sexual activity using words, gestures, or any form of communication. If a woman does not physically resist, it does not mean she is agreeing to the sexual activity.


The following acts are not considered rape within the ambit of this Section: 

  • Medical procedures are not considered rape.
  • Having sex with a wife who is not under fifteen years old is not rape. However, the age of fifteen is replaced as eighteen years in Section 63 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023.

Punishment for the Rape

Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (now Section 66 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023), prescribes the punishment for rape. Accordingly, it contains:

  • Section as per Section 376(1), if someone commits rape, they can be put in prison for at least ten years, it can be extended up to life imprisonment, and they may also have to pay a fine.
  • As per Section 376(2), if certain people commit rape, they face harsher punishment. These include:
    • Police officers who rape someone while on duty or in their custody. 
    • Government officials who rape someone while in their custody. 
    • Military personnel who rape someone in areas where they are deployed. 
    • Staff or managers of jails, hospitals, or other institutions who rape inmates or patients.
    • Relatives, guardians, teachers, or people in authority who rape someone.
    • Those who commit rape during riots or violence.
    • Those who rape pregnant women.
    • Those who rape someone incapable of giving consent.
    • Those who have control or power over someone and rape them.
    • Those who rape people with mental or physical disabilities.
    • Those who cause serious harm or endanger the life of the victim while raping.
    • Those who repeatedly rape the same person.

Section 376(3) of the code (now Section 66(1) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita) prescribes the provisions for the rape of minors. If someone rapes a girl under sixteen years old, they can be imprisoned for at least twenty years, up to life imprisonment, and they may have to pay a fine. 

Plight of women

This case marked a significant moment in the fight for women’s rights in India. It exposed the harsh reality of how women were treated in the legal system and society at large. Rape is not just about sexual violence; it is about power and control over another person. This power comes from social structures like caste, class, and the authority of institutions such as the state or employers, all intertwined with patriarchal beliefs in society. In the Indian feminist movement, rape has been linked to broader issues of oppression by the state and dominant social groups. During colonial rule, rape was seen as a form of resistance against foreign oppressors. After independence, feminists in the 1970s highlighted rape by police, army, and landlords as part of systemic oppression.

Mathura’s case was monumental, both socially and legally. It sparked the first public protests about rape in India and led to changes in sexual assault laws. It also led the women’s movement in India, by inspiring many groups dedicated to empowering women. 

In a small house with just two rooms in a village in Maharashtra, a small Gond tribal woman prepares a simple meal of lentils and rice for her son. She had to eat it without pickles. Then, she goes to a corner to dye her shoulder-length grey hair black. There are no official documents like Aadhaar, PAN card, or voter card that connect this woman to the name Mathura. Mathura was an orphaned tribal girl who did the toughest jobs to survive. One of her tasks was collecting cow dung by hand, shaping it into patties, drying them on walls, and selling them as fuel. This was a common sight and smell in many places in Maharashtra. 

Despite her low social status and the stigma attached to rape, she bravely spoke out and took her case to court, which was a rare and courageous act for women in those times. This shows the challenges and struggles women like Mathura faced in seeking justice for sexual assault. With the support of a young feminist lawyer named Vasudha Dhagamwar, she fought the case for free from 1972 to 1979. Initially, the case went to a Sessions Court where the defendants were found not guilty. When Mathura’s case reached the Sessions Court, it was a big issue as the medical report also confirmed that she had no injury. Her hymen revealed old ruptures. The vagina admitted two fingers easily. The judgement shocked many as the defendants were found not guilty. The reason was disturbing that Mathura’s previous sexual history was used against her, by implying that her consent was voluntary. This mindset reflected a deep-seated patriarchal bias. 

However, upon appeal, the Bombay High Court reversed this decision and sentenced the accused to one and five years in prison respectively. The High Court’s ruling emphasised that mere submission due to fear or threats could not be considered consent. Unfortunately, despite this important ruling, justice remained elusive for Mathura. In September 1979, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s judgement and declared the defendants not guilty. However, finally, people began to recognise gender-based violence as a brutal abuse of power.

Details of Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra 

Name of the case 

Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra 

Date of Judgement

September 15, 1978

Supreme Court Bench

Honourable Justice A.D. Koshal,

Honourable Justice Jaswant Singh,

Honourable Justice P.S. Kailasam.

Parties to the case


Tukaram and others


State of Maharashtra

Equivalent citations

1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR (1) 810

Represented by


Advocates namely M. N. Phadke, S. V. Deshpande, V. M. Phadke, and N. M. Ghatate.


Advocates namely H. R. Khanna and M. N. Shroff.

Author of the judgement

Honourable Justice A.D. Koshal.

Court Name

Honourable Supreme Court of India.

Related laws

Indian Penal Code Section 375 – Rape.

Facts of Mathura Rape case

Mathura, a young orphan, lived with her brother Gama. She worked as a labourer at the house of Nushi. During employment, she developed sexual relations with Ashok, the son of Nushi’s sister. Thereafter, they decided to get married. 

On March 26, 1972, a report was filed by Gama saying that Mathura had been taken by force, and all the concerned people, including Ashok, Nushi, and other family members, were taken to the police station. They gave their statements, and around 10:30 pm, they started leaving. However, Ganpat, the first person accused, asked Mathura to stay back at the police station. He then took her to the washroom, turned off the lights, and despite her protests, he raped her. Later, Tukaram, the second accused, also came and touched her inappropriately. He tried to rape her too, but he was too drunk to do so. After reuniting with her family and friends, Mathura told them what had happened.

A medical examination conducted by Dr. Shastrakar looked for signs of sexual activity or assault. It was conducted twenty four hours after the incident. During this examination, Mathura had no physical injuries on her body that indicated recent trauma or assault. Further, her hymen, a thin membrane at the entrance of the vagina, showed old ruptures. This suggests that she might have had sexual intercourse in the past. Dr. Shastrakar further noted that Mathura’s vagina could easily admit two fingers. This observation is likely a reference to the two-finger test, where the doctor assesses the laxity or looseness of the vaginal muscles. There was no evidence of matting or disturbance in Mathura’s pubic hair, which could indicate recent sexual activity. Based on his examination, Dr. Shastrakar estimated Mathura’s age to be between 14 and 16 years old. 

In this case, the doctor examined Mathura by doing this test. The doctor found that Mathura’s vagina could easily admit two fingers, which means it was not tight. This observation might suggest that Mathura had previously had sexual intercourse. Additionally, samples of Mathura’s pubic hair and vaginal smears were collected and sent for further analysis to the Chemical Examiner. However, no traces of semen were found in these samples.

Issues of Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra 

  • The main issue revolved around whether the victim agreed to the sexual activity willingly or if she was forced into it. 
  • Did the minor girl provide consent to the act?
  • Will the appellants face charges under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code?
  • Does the act committed by the police officer constitute rape as outlined in the relevant section of the IPC?
  • Are the reasons for the acquittal of the police officer by the Session Court deemed valid?

The decision of sessions judge

The session judge ruled that the accused were not guilty because what happened was not rape, but rather consensual sex. Further, it ruled that Mathura was habituated to sexual intercourse, implying that she may have had consensual sexual relations in the past. This seemed flawed because he suggested that Mathura might have wanted to have sex with Ganpat and gave her consent. The judge even suggested that the semen found on her clothes might have come from someone else she had sex with before the incident. However, he used a different explanation for the semen found on Ganpat’s clothes, saying it was because of “nightly discharges.” It’s confusing why the court had different standards for men and women. According to Section 376(3) of the Indian Penal Code, having sex with a girl under 16, even if she agrees, is still considered rape.

Even after Dr. Shastrakar presented evidence that Mathura was between the ages of 14-16, the Sessions Judge held that the evidence determining Mathura’s age was inadequate. He further held that to sound “virtuous before Ashok”, Mathura fabricated a story of being raped. The sexist tone in this judgement is startling as the Judge assigns a specific role to Mathura by implying that she needs to concoct a story to prove her chastity to her lover. In his words, Mathura was “a shocking liar” whose testimony was riddled with falsehood and improbabilities.

Decision of Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench)

In 1975 the Bombay High Court rightly distinguished between passive submission and consent. It held that since the accused were strangers to Mathura and her brother had just filed a case in the same police station, the chances of her making advances on them were highly improbable. Further, they were in a position of authority and any resistance to them could prove detrimental to her or her brother. This situation clearly shows that Mathura submitted passively due to the threat of harm. The fact that the constables kept her confined at the police station and that she immediately told her family about the incident indicates a lack of consent. The court rightly pointed out that the absence of semen on the vaginal smears and pubic hair was because Mathura was examined more than 20 hours after the incident, and it’s likely she had taken a shower during that time.

The High Court noted that both accused were strangers to the victim, Mathura. There was no indication that Mathura knew them before the incident occurred. This made it highly improbable that Mathura would initiate any sexual advances toward the accused. Since the accused were strangers and Mathura had no prior relationship with them, the High Court reasoned that the initiative for sexual intercourse must have come from the accused themselves. They likely took advantage of Mathura’s vulnerable situation, especially considering there was a pending complaint against her brother at the same police station. Mathura’s lack of resistance was seen as a result of fear or threats, not a genuine desire for sexual intercourse. The Court stressed that mere resignation to the other’s lust due to threats or fear cannot be equated with consent.

The High Court considered circumstantial evidence, such as the presence of semen stains on Mathura’s and the accused’s clothes. While semen was not found in specific bodily areas, this was attributed to the time lapse between the incident and medical examination, as well as the probability that Mathura had taken a bath in the meantime. Further, Mathura’s immediate statements to her relatives and others after the incident, along with her behaviour, left no doubt in the High Court’s mind that she had been subjected to forcible sexual intercourse.

The High Court reversed the order of acquittal. The High Court further in its decision said that what happened to Mathura was indeed rape. They believed it was not likely that Mathura, who did not know the accused, would ask them for sex. They thought maybe the accused made the first move, and if that was true, Mathura could not have said no. The Court thought one of the accused, Tuka Ram, did not try to rape her, but he did touch her inappropriately after the other person, Ganpat, had forcibly taken advantage of her.  

Judgement of Supreme Court in Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra

In 1979 the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of the High Court and acquitted the accused. The Supreme Court agreed with the Sessions Judge that this was a case of consensual sexual intercourse. On this point, the Supreme Court further added that since “no marks of injury” were found on Mathura’s body there was “no resistance” on her part and since she did not “raise an alarm” for help she “consented to sex.” 

Supreme Court while deciding this case has referred Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which defines the offense of rape and outlines various circumstances under which sexual intercourse constitutes rape. This section defines what constitutes rape under Indian law. It outlines five scenarios where sexual intercourse with a woman constitutes rape, including situations where it is against her will, without her consent, or where consent is obtained through fear of death or hurt. Court stated that consent must be inferred from circumstances. Lack of physical injury and presence of submission cannot alone prove lack of consent.  In cases of sexual intercourse, consent may not be valid if obtained through fear of death or injury. However, fear must be clearly established as fear of death or injury, not merely fear of authority figures. Court also refers to the burden of proof in criminal cases, a fundamental legal principle that the prosecution must prove each element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court mentioned that inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony about who was involved in the incident could raise doubts about the truthfulness of her statements. Further, the court noted that merely being present at the scene of the incident is not necessarily incriminating for the accused and may have multiple explanations. The court also emphasised the importance of carefully assessing the credibility of witnesses and evidence before reaching a conclusion. 

Aftermath of Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra

Many activists and lawyers protested after the judgement of this case. They felt that there was a need for many changes to the existing laws. They believed that the courts had made serious mistakes that needed to be addressed. 

One issue highlighted was the use of medical evidence in court cases. Medical expert’s opinions are considered under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The two-finger test, as described in the examination, is now widely criticised for its lack of scientific validity and invasive nature. However, at the time of this case, it was a common practice in assessing sexual assault cases. However, the honourable Supreme Court had downplayed the importance of this evidence, and considered it as a “poor type of evidence.” This evidence is very important in criminal cases.

Another issue was that the court made it hard for Mathura to prove her case. Instead of considering the unfair power dynamic in custodial rape situations, they expected Mathura to prove everything beyond any doubt. They should have focused on what the officers did wrong and how Mathura’s rights were violated, rather than doubting her honesty. The courts unfairly blamed Mathura, the victim. They thought she might have wanted the sexual encounter or tempted the police officers. The court focused on Mathura’s past sexual experiences, suggesting she was used to it, which was not fair because it implied her consent did not matter.

The decision of the Mathura Rape Case was opposed by some of the people. They contended that the courts did not handle things well. They blamed the victim and said she did not fight back enough, so they thought she agreed to what happened. This made a lot of people angry because it seemed unfair. Even the Honourable Supreme Court made similar mistakes, which upset many people. This resulted in the Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983. Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (now as per Section 72 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita) was added through this amendment. The purpose of Section 228A is to discourage the disclosure of the identity of victims of specific sexual offences. Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code deals with the disclosure of the identity of victims in certain offences. It states that:

  • If anyone prints or publishes the name or anything that might reveal the identity of a person who is a victim of specific offenses like rape, they can be jailed for up to two years and fined.
  • But there are exceptions:
    • If the police officer in charge of investigating the case allows it for the investigation.
    • If the victim agrees in writing.
    • If the victim is dead, a minor, or mentally unfit, their next of kin can allow it in writing. However, this permission can only be given to certain welfare organisations recognized by the government.
  • Printing or publishing anything related to a court case about these offences without the court’s permission can also lead to imprisonment for up to two years and a fine.

It is important to note that sharing court judgments from the High Court or Supreme Court does not count as an offence under this section. Further, this Act amended Section 114(A) of the Indian Evidence Act, which stated that if the victim does not consent to sexual intercourse then the Court would presume that she did not consent. Section 376 of the IPC was also amended, making custodial rape an offense punishable with not less than 7 years imprisonment. Sections 376A, 376B, 376C, and 376D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deal with various aspects of sexual offences. These sections were added through this Amendment Act to address different aspects related to sexual crimes. Section 376 shifts the burden of proof from the victim to the offender, once sexual intercourse is established. The amendment also banned the publication of victims’ identities and held that rape trials should be conducted as in-camera proceedings. After this case, the courts started being more careful in cases of rape, especially when it happened in police custody. 

Later a letter was written by Upendra Baxi, Vasudha Dhagamwar, Raghunath Kelkar, and Lotika Sarkar, who were teachers of law at various universities in India. They wrote this open letter to the Chief Justice of India, Justice Yeshwant Vishnu Chandrachud on September 16, 1979, to bring attention to a Supreme Court decision in the Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra case. They found it troubling and believed they sacrificed the human rights of women. They expressed their concerns about the judgement. They further called for a reexamination of the case, by emphasising the importance of protecting human rights. They also addressed issues of consent and gender discrimination within the judicial system. 

The letter consists of, “as citizens and law educators, feeling compelled to address a recent decision made by the Supreme Court on September 15, 1978, in the case of Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra (1979) 2 SCC 143. In this case, Mathura, a young orphan girl aged between 14-16, was subjected to horrific sexual assault by policemen while in custody. The court’s decision in Mathura’s case did not consider her difficult life situation or the power difference between her and the police. Instead, it continued harmful ideas about consent and sexual assault. The court focused too much on legal details and thus ignored Mathura’s suffering. The court did not stand up for equality, fairness, and human rights. This decision might make it hard for people to trust the court to protect those who need it most. As people who care about fairness, ask the court to think again about its decision and make sure survivors of sexual violence are treated with respect and dignity. They also requested that they want the case to be looked at again by a bigger group of judges to make sure justice is done and the law is followed properly.

Critical analysis of the judgement in Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra

The Session Court and Supreme Court’s acquittal based on the absence of physical injury on the victim’s body is a critical failure in this case. Rape does not always leave visible physical injuries, and the absence of such injuries should not present the victim’s testimony. This overlooks the trauma and coercion that victims may experience, regardless of physical evidence. Further assumptions made, like, if someone does not fight back or sound an alarm during a sexual assault, it means they agreed to it, is really wrong. Sometimes, people freeze or can not react because they are scared, shocked, or forced into it. Thinking someone consented just because they did not resist ignores the unequal power between the victim and the attacker. The court also blames the victim instead of holding the attacker responsible. 

Consent is really important in any sexual situation, especially when one person is underage. Ignoring this fact takes away the rights of the victim and does not make the person who did it take responsibility for what they did. Further, the loophole in criminal law regarding punishments for sexual offences needs attention. When young people commit rape, they should not get off easily. They should face serious consequences for such a terrible crime. We should not just focus on reforming them if they show no remorse or if they are still a danger to others. The idea of giving them a chance to change should be rethought in these cases.

Even though changes made law to help victims of rape, there are still big problems in how courts handle these cases. One problem is that courts sometimes do not believe a victim’s story if they do not have physical injuries. But rape does not always leave marks, and just because there are not any does not mean it did not happen. Also, sometimes courts think that if a person did not fight back during a rape, it means they agreed to it. But that is not always true. Blaming the victim for not fighting back only makes things worse. Another problem is that courts do not always take consent seriously, especially when the victim is young. Consent means agreeing to something, and it’s really important, especially in sexual situations. But sometimes courts ignore this and do not punish the person who did such a thing. 

Relevant case laws 

In Mohd. Habib v. State (1989), the Delhi High Court acquitted the accused for the rape of Aruna Kumari. The court again equated no “marks of injury” on his genital parts to a lack of resistance by the victim. The fact that Aruna was between 7-10 years old, her hymen was ruptured, there were bite marks on her body and there was an eyewitness to this entire incident was also considered inconsequential to this Court.

In Bhanwari Devi (1992), the court held that the accused couldn’t be held guilty of rape even after the semen of five different men was found in her vaginal swab and on her clothes since the victim was a Dalit while the accused was from an upper caste and would “not stoop so low to have sexual relations with a Dalit”.

Mukesh & Anr v. State For Nct Of Delhi & Ors  (2017), on December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman named Jyoti Singh and her friend were returning home after watching a movie. They boarded a bus, where they were assaulted by six men, including the bus driver. Jyoti was brutally gang-raped and tortured, and both she and her friend were thrown out of the bus afterwards. Jyoti died on December 29, 2012. The incident sparked nationwide protests and led to changes in laws related to violence against women. All six attackers, including a juvenile, were convicted. One of them, Ram Singh, committed suicide during the trial. The juvenile received three years’ imprisonment, while the others were sentenced to death. Despite some appeals, the Supreme Court upheld the convictions, and the last review petition was dismissed in December 2019. The case is famously known as the ‘Nirbhaya case’. 

Mahmood Farooqui v. State (Govt Of Nct Of Delhi) (2017), there was a woman who was studying for her PhD, and as part of her research, she met Mahmood Farooqui several times. One day, Farooqui invited her to a wedding with him and his wife. But when they were alone at his home, Farooqui was drunk and forced the woman to perform oral sex on him. She said no and tried to stop him, but he held her down and did it anyway. Later, she sent him an email saying she did not want to do it, but she was scared something worse might happen if she did not go along with it. The court agreed that she didn’t consent to what happened and that she resisted. However, the court also said that because the woman was educated, she should have made it clearer that she didn’t want to have sex. They said it was hard for Farooqui to understand her “no” because they had a previous relationship. This decision went against the law on consent that was introduced in 2013. So, even though the court agreed that what happened was wrong, they made it harder for the woman to prove she did not consent. They also used a law about fear or suspicion to make their decision, instead of focusing on the specific laws about sexual harassment and consent.

In a case in Tamil Nadu called N. Vijayabadri v. State of Tamil Nadu (2021), the court said the victim should get compensation because she suffered mentally and physically. This court was understanding and said the police did something wrong. This is different from what happened in the Mathura Rape Case, where the courts said things that hurt the victim more. 

In contrast, the Supreme Court, in the case of Aparna Bhat & Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr, (2021), warned against stereotyping rape survivors and addressed misconceptions about rape. This case was about how courts handle cases involving sexual offences against women. The Supreme Court made an important decision on March 18, 2021, which said that courts need to be more careful about how they treat survivors of rape and other sexual crimes. The people who appealed the decision were worried about certain conditions that a court in Madhya Pradesh had set for someone accused of a sexual offence. That includes:

  • The court said that bail conditions should not allow any contact between the accused and the person who filed the complaint. If bail is granted, the complainant should be informed quickly, and she should receive a copy of the bail order within two days.
  • Bail conditions must strictly follow the rules in the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 (Cr.P.C.), and they should not reflect biassed views towards women.
  • Any suggestion for compromise, like getting married or mediation, should be ignored by the court because it is not the court’s role to make such decisions.
  • The court ordered that all judges should undergo training to handle cases involving sexual offences sensitively. This training aims to reduce societal biases and sexism.
  • The National Judicial Academy was asked to include gender sensitization in training for new judges. Similarly, the Bar Council of India was asked to include gender sensitization topics in law school curriculums and in the bar exam.

The Honourable Supreme Court thought these conditions were unfair and might set a bad example for future cases. The Supreme Court highlighted how courts sometimes have old-fashioned and unfair views about women. It said that our society often sees things from a male point of view, which can make it hard for women to speak up about what happened to them. The court said that we need to understand and respect the feelings of survivors and not make their experiences seem less important. The court also mentioned some guidelines for judges to follow, which say that they should avoid certain stereotypes. For example, one stereotype they mentioned was the idea that if a woman drinks alcohol, it’s alright for men to make unwanted advances towards her. This decision was considered as a landmark decision because it reminds everyone involved in the legal system to treat survivors of sexual crimes with respect and understanding, without relying on old-fashioned or unfair ideas.


In India, the Mathura rape case remains a significant and controversial chapter in legal history. This case made people think about important things like how sexual assault cases are handled, what consent means, and how victims are treated by the legal system. It is confusing that while convicting the accused of rape, the court referred to them as “gentlemen”. It showed that we need to be more caring towards victims in such cases. Because of this case, the government made some important changes to rape laws through the amendment to Criminal Law in 1983. The Mathura case reminds us that sexual violence is a serious issue, and we need better laws and attitudes to deal with it and help victims get justice. Even though rape laws in India have been reformed over time, the occurrences of rape keep increasing every year. Besides causing tremendous physical injury to the victim, this crime has devastating psychological effects as well such as PTSD, depression, flashbacks, sleep disorders, and more. One step towards the elimination of this crime would be to improve the safety and security of women in the State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a two-finger test?

The two-finger test, which is also known as a per vaginal examination, is a process which involves a doctor inserting two fingers into a woman’s vagina to check for certain things. It is generally used to see if a woman has had sex before or to check for signs of recent sexual activity or assault.

What is custodial rape?

Custodial rape refers to a situation where sexual assault or rape occurs while the victim is in the custody or under the control of law enforcement or other authorities. This could include instances where police officers, prison guards, or other individuals in positions of authority use their power to coerce or force someone into sexual activity. It is a severe violation of human rights and often involves a significant abuse of power.

What legal reforms followed in this case?

The legal reform following the Mathura case included the enactment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1983. This amendment brought changes to India’s rape laws, emphasizing consent and victim protection. Additionally, Section 114A was inserted into the Indian Evidence Act, which addresses the presumption of absence of consent in certain rape prosecutions if the victim states so.



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