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This article is written by Akash R. Goswami of the faculty of law, Aligarh Muslim University. In this article, he has discussed what exactly the amendments made by the Government Of India in pursuance for the protection of women. 

Introduction

The world is dynamic, changes occur according to the needs of the society and just as the general population who possessed a spot in that society. For example, during the 18th century, there was hardly any law to govern cyber crimes but due to technological advancements, dynamic features the Cyber Law developed rudimentarily. Therefore a sudden increase in the rate of crime regarding cyber threats, ransomware, and other cyber offences made us realize that there should be a law to deal with these advanced crimes. Similarly, Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2018 provides to amend relevant sections of IPC, Cr.P.C. and POCSO Act and also enhanced the minimum sentence for the offence of rape including the age part.

Need for Criminal Amendment Act, 2018

A report by the “Thomson Reuters Foundation” ranked India as the most dangerous country for women due to sexual violence, human trafficking, child labour, child marriage, and female foeticide. According to the National Record Crime Bureau (NRCB) in its annual report of year 2013 states that approx 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. And in 98% cases, the accused was found to be a relative of the victim.The per capita rate of assault is most minimal, as a rule of assault, goes unreported. But rape cases like Kathua rape case and the Unnao rape case incidents triggered and widespread hatred in public. And feeling of condemnation results in media attention, and public protest demonstrated for the sake of justice. this increases the willingness to report the rape cases, and this led the government of India to bring some changes in the existing penal laws. Hence, there was an indispensable need for this Criminal Amendment Act.

Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018

The Ministry of law and justice introduced the criminal law amendment bill 2018 in Lok Sabha on July 23, 2018, and the same was passed on 30 July and 6 August by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively. This bill aims to provide grievances to the victim, who has been sexually assaulted and ensure the death penalty for those who, convicted for raping a girl below 16 or 12 years. It replaced the ordinance promulgated by the President of India in April and also did relevant amendments in:

  1. IPC 1860
  2. Cr.PC 1973
  3. Evidence act 1872 
  4. Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) 2012

Salient Features Of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2018

This Act brings relevant changes for the protection of a girl form the heinous crime of rape in our penal laws. They are as follows:

  • Anyone who commits the offence of rape shall be punished for the minimum period 10 years earlier it was for 7 years.
  • If any person rapes a girl, who is below 16 years of age, shall be punished for a minimum period of 20 years.
  • If a person rapes a girl, who is below the age of 12 years, shall be deemed to punished rigorous imprisonment for 20 years or imprisonment for life or maybe liable for the death penalty.
  • In case if the offence of rape, is committed with the girl age below 16 years, the anticipatory bail will not be granted to the accused.
  • Convicted persons bound to compensate the victim, and such compensation will be used for the victim’s medical expenses and for rehabilitation. And the compensation will be just and reasonable.
  • If the offence of rape, is committed by the Police Officer, irrespective of the place shall be punished for rigorous imprisonment which is not less then 10 years. 
  • In the matter of rape, the police are under compulsion to complete the Investigation within the period of 2 months after the FIR lodged.
  • The offence of rape, time to disposed the appeal starts after 6 months.
  • Act provides to punish accused convicted of gang rape of woman below 16 years of age shall be given rigorous imprisonment for life and liable for fine.
  • The Act also provides to punish accused convicted of the gang rape of women, who is below the age of 12 years shall be given rigorous imprisonment for life and with fine or with the death penalty.

Amendments In Indian Penal Code

Criminal amendment act 2018 inserts three new sections in IPC-

  • 376AB
  • 376DA
  • 376DB

And amend three sections of IPC-

  • 166A
  • 228A
  • 376

Inserted Sections

376AB

This section was inserted just after Section 376A and provides that whoever commits rape with a woman, who is under 12 years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, and it may extend to life imprisonment which impliedly intends to introspect what he had been done is thoroughly illegal and off-base, or in legal sense, reminder for that person natural life, and with fine or death penalty. And also liable to pay compensation and such compensation shall be reasonable and just, to meet the medical expenses and for victim rehabilitation.

Additionally, commands that any payment by the denounced under this section will be paid to the person in question (victim).

376DA

After Section 370D, 376DA section inserted and states that when a woman under the age of sixteen years raped by one or more person constituting a group or done some action for the pursuance of common intention, each of that person deemed to commit the offence of rape and shall be punished with imprisonment for life which shall impliedly intends to introspect what he had been done is thoroughly illegal and off-base, or in legal sense, reminder for that person natural life, and with fine or death penalty. And also liable to pay compensation and such compensation shall be reasonable and just, to meet the medical expenses and for victim rehabilitation.

Additionally, commands that any payment by the denounced under this section will be paid to the person in question (victim).

376DB

This section states that where a woman who, is below the age of 12 years is raped by one or more person constituting a group or action for the pursuance of common intention, each person shall be deemed to commit the offence of rape, and punished with life imprisonment which impliedly intends to introspect what he had been done is thoroughly illegal and off-base, or in legal sense, reminder for that person natural life, and with fine or death penalty. And also liable to pay compensation and such compensation shall be reasonable and just, to meet the medical expenses and for victim rehabilitation.

Additionally, commands that any payment by the denounced under this section will be paid to the person in question (victim).

Amended Sections

166A

This section deals with public servant disobeying directions under the law, and has three clauses. 

And clause ( c ), is substituted with section 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA and 376DB.

228A

This section deals with disclosure of the identity of the victim of certain offences, and sub section 1 of this section was substituted with Section 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, and 376DB.

376

This section deals with the punishment for rape and under this section, the sub-section 1 was substituted as “whosoever commits an offence of rape shall be punished for the term not less than 10 years or which may extend to life imprisonment and with fine”.

And by this amendment in section 376, sub-section 2 clause (a) sub-section 1 has been repealed.

After sub-section 2 of section 376, new sub-section inserted namely “3” which provides that whoever commits the offence of rape with a woman, who is under the age of sixteen years shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less then 20 years, and shall extend to imprisonment for life which impliedly intends to introspect what he had been done is thoroughly illegal and off-base, or in legal sense, reminder for that person natural life, and with fine or death penalty. And also liable to pay compensation and such compensation shall be reasonable and just, to meet the medical expenses and for victim rehabilitation.

Additionally, commands that any payment by the denounced under this section will be paid to the person in question (victim). 

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The Criminal Amendment Act, 2018 amends two sections of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

  • 53A
  • Provision of Section 146

53A

This section deals with the evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases substituted with Sections 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, and 376DB.

146

This section deals with questions lawful in cross-examination (what are the questions must be asked by the Police Officer) when a witness is cross-examined, he may in addition to the question hereinbefore referred to, be asked any question which tends-

  1. Tend to test the veracity.
  2. To discover who he is and what is his position in life. 
  3. To sake his credit, by injuring his character, although the answer might tend directly or indirectly to criminate him, might expose him to a penalty or forfeiture.

Provision 3 or this section were substituted with section, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA and 376DB.

Amendment in Code of Criminal Procedure

By the Criminal Amendment Act, 2018 following sections of Cr.PC has been amended these are:

  • Section 173
  • Section374
  • Section 377
  • Section 438
  • Section 439

Section 173

In this section there is an amendment in sub-section (1A) which provides that rape of a child may be completed within 3 months, this sub-section was substituted with “an offence under section 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, and 376DB or section 376E of the Indian penal code shall be completed within 2 months”.

Section 374

In section 374 of Cr.PC, after sub-section (3), the following sub-section inserted i.e, sub-section (4) and read as when an appeal has been filed against a sentence passed under Section 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, and 376DB or Section 376E of the Indian penal code the appeal shall be disposed within period of 6 months from the date of filing of such appeal.

Section 377

In Section 377 of the code of criminal procedure, after sub-section (2), new sub-section was inserted i.e. sub-section (3) and read as when an appeal has been filed against a sentence passed under section 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, and 376DB or section 376E of the Indian penal code the appeal shall be disposed off within a period of 6 months from the date of filing the appeal.

Section 438

In Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, after sub-section (3), new sub-section inserted i.e. sub-section (4) and provides that nothing in this section shall apply to any case involving the arrest of a person on accusation of having committed an offence under sub-section (3) of Section 376, 376AB, 376DA, 376DB of the Indian penal code.

Section 439

In Section 439 of CrPC, after sub-section (a), (1) provision, another provision was added and says that “the high court and the session court shall, before granting bail to a person who is accused of an offence triable under sub-section (3) of Sections 376, 376AB, 376DA, 376DB, give notice of the applicant for the bail to the public prosecutor within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of such notice.

And after sub-section (1) of Cr.PC following sub-section was inserted i.e. (1A) which provides that the presence of the informant or any person authorized by him, shall be obligatory at the time of hearing of the application for bail to the person under sub-section (3) of sections 376, 376A, 376DA, 376DB.

Protection of children from sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012

By the Criminal Amendment Act, 2018 there is a change in Section 42 of POCSO Act, 2012. This section deals with Alternative Punishment and Sections 376A, 376C, 376D were substituted with 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA and 376DB of Indian penal code.

Conclusion

After going through various amendments and newly inserted Sections in IPC, Cr.PC, The Indian Evidence Act and in The POCSO Act. As we read that the criminal amendment act 2018 just intends to shield the women from a horrifying offense i.e., sexual assault. As the wrongdoing rate of committing sexual assault has expanded with legitimately relative merciless of people. In most of the rape cases, matter goes unreported and the lack of legal merit, social reasons are there which creats hinderances for the victim to access justice. But after doing relevant changes in these penal laws Government of India seeks to provide, welfare for all the women and feeling of safety, as it is necessary due to the recent cases that took place like Kathua rape and Unnao rape cases, these cases generating a pathetic situation for women in which women think that they are not safe even in their houses, as in most of the cases the accused found to be her relative or a known person of the victim so there is absloute need for the law regarding women and child safety.

References

  1. https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/CSdivTheCriminalLawAct_14082018_0.pdf
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/06/27/india-ranked-worlds-most-dangerous-place-for-women-reigniting-debate-about-womens-safety/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.45a37141fd60

 

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