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The state has 13 special courts to hear cases of atrocities against women. The state government has decided to start 100 fast track courts in the next five years. The procedure of reserving 25 of these 100 fast track courts to exclusively deal with crimes against women is underway.
These are extensive steps taken by the Legislature to safeguard the women of state, to protect their modesty and endow them with a free environment. The amendments were made in accordance with and in such a form that would empower women themselves against the offences.Explanation of the term ‘Sexual Intercourse’ and ‘Penetration’These two terms are redefine after the amendment of 2013 before 2013 intercourse only meant to be penile-vaginal penetration.
The courts interpreted the term sexual intercourse as “mere slightest or partial penetration of the male organ within the labia majora or the vulva or pudenda is sufficient to constitute ‘sexual intercourse’”. The courts have stressed on the fact that the depth of the penetration is immaterial. It is also laid down that there is no requirement for injuries to be present on the private part of the woman to constitute rape. The hymen need not be ruptured. Thus the essential condition of rape is penetration and not ejaculation. Ejaculation without penetration will constitute as an attempt to rape and not rape actually.
These conditions were expressly mentioned by the Supreme Court in the case of “State of Uttar Pradesh v Babulnath”. The court in this case while delving into the essential ingredients of rape made the observation that “To constitute the offence of rape it is not at all necessary that there should be complete penetration of the male organ with the emission of semen and rupture of hymen. Even slightest piercing by male organ within the labia majora or the vulva or pudenda with or without any emission of semen or even an attempt at penetration into the private part of the victim would be quite enough for the purposes of section 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code. That being so it is quite possible to commit legally the offence of rape even without causing any injury to the genitals or leaving any seminal stain”.
An important issue of widening the ambit of section 375 to include the any bodily penetration as rape was raised in the case of Smt Sudesh Jhaku v KCJ & Ors. The petitioners wanted to increase the ambit of the definition to include penetration of any male body part into any orifice in the woman’s body. This however was rejected by the court which was not in favour of tinkering with the existing definition of the term. The court said that it was necessary to prevent chaos and confusion in the society with regard to the changed definition of rape and hence Section 375 should not be altered.
If the logic of the Supreme Court verdict making marital rape of a child is considered sound, adult marital rape should no longer have legal sanction. The court said it cannot make a distinction between a married and an unmarried child in the context of rape as it would create two classes of people, leading to discrimination and a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality before law. This reasoning too would apply to adult women.Besides, if the Supreme Court believes marriage is personal and not institutional, the same standard should apply in the context of adult women as well. If tradition cannot be used as an excuse to exempt sex with a minor wife above 15 years of age, can that same tradition be used to justify non-consensual sex between two adults?
Attempts were made in order to criminalize marital rape in India but on the different ground declined the plea. After the delhi gang rape case, the verma committee suggest to penalise marital rape but government pleaded that penalising marital rape will destroy the institution of marriage. Gender-neutral or Gender-specific OffencePast few year the sexual assault was not gender specific but now it is women centric. Now it is considered that men are only capable to perform these act against the women.
The aspect of gender neutrality was required in following aspects:Neutrality with respect to the victimOften the members of the marginalised sex like ‘Transgender’ are also victim of this offence and as such they cannot claim any protection because the crime of rape is not gender neutral.[xxiv]Neutrality with respect to the perpetratorDuring the war in Iraq it surfaced that many women officers also involved themselves in torturing the prisoners by variant sexual assaults[xxv]. This strengthened the assumption that even women can be perpetrator of such crimes.
There are two occasions when the need for gender neutrality arises even in India. Firstly, when during some communal or casteist violence a women is found to be participus criminus. Secondly, when a transgender person is an offender. The recent case of Pinki Pramanik, where her partner filed a case of rape against her, shows the very real possibility of female to male transgender persons or male to female transgender persons (either pre- or post- transition) causing sexual assault on a woman[xxvi].
False Accusation Of Rape And Punishment For False Complaints In IndiaRaising concerns over the “misuse of rape laws” for implicating men, a special fast-track court acquitted a man of rape charges and has directed the court official to initiate proceedings against the woman for giving false evidence.If with some malafide intentions any false complaint is registered against any innocent person or any false proceeding carried against that innocent person, the Indian Penal Code has codified certain offences wherein falsifying has taken place and the following defences can be taken.
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