Fearless Case: What changes have been made to the law on the protection of women and changes in the definition of rape?

Summary

Nirbhaya is the nickname used for the infamous Delhi gang rape victim of 16 December 2012. The victim, a 23-year-old woman and her boyfriend were returning home from Saket Se in South Delhi that night after watching the movie ‘Life of Pi’.

Convicted in a fearless case
– Photo: Amar Ujala

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On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped by six men on a moving bus in Delhi. After being severely beaten, he was thrown out of the bus in a secluded spot. He died on 29 December 2012 in a hospital in Singapore. This outrageous case has shaken the conscience of the whole nation and people have taken to the streets in anger. The incident became an international headline and led to a debate on changing the law on sexual violence against women in India and calling for tougher punishment in rape cases.

Seeing the outrage of the people, the government also took action and handed over the responsibility of reforming the rape law to the Justice Verma Committee. Within three months of the incident, the committee reviewed laws relating to rape and sexual harassment of women and tightened legislation to protect women.

Take a look at the changes in the laws regarding the protection of women after the Nirbhaya incident

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 is also known as the Anti-Rape Act.

Under this change, new offenses such as harassment, acid attack and snooping were added to the definition of rape.

The threat of rape is also now a crime and the person will be punished for it.

The minimum sentence was changed from seven to ten years as the number of rape cases increased.

The minimum sentence was increased to 20 years in cases where the victim died or the victim became inactive or inactive.

Strict action against minor accused
Since one of the accused in the case was a juvenile, another loophole in the system was identified after this case. Minor offenders involved in the Nirbhaya case will not be punished for more than three years under the Juvenile Justice Act. After this, the debate began as to how the accused who had committed such a heinous incident could be sentenced to just three years and released. The adult trial age for violent crimes such as rape has since been changed from 18 to 16 years. The Juvenile Justice Act 2015 has been amended for this purpose.

This includes making complaints and conducting medical examinations. The law clearly states that any officer who fails to register a case of piracy or fails in an attempt to obstruct its investigation is punishable as a criminal.

2. Changes in the Indian Penal Code, 1860
326A and B acid attack problem covered under this section. Following the amendment law, acid attack is considered a specific offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a description or life imprisonment or a fine or both.

Section 354A relating to sexual harassment and its punishment has been incorporated.

The woman was forcibly removed from her clothes under section 354B.

It is an offense under Section 354C for a woman to look at private parts.

Under Section 354D, chasing a woman is also a criminal offense.

Section 376D deals with the crime of gang rape. Repeat offenses are punishable by life imprisonment or death.

The definition of rape expanded after the infamous incident. Under the amended law, the scope of rape was increased. Sexual harassment prior to a fearless incident was considered rape. But after this incident, false harassment and other forms of sexual abuse were also included in the categories of rape.

POSCO made the law
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act 2012 was enacted to protect children from sexual abuse. Action will be taken under this Act in cases of sexual abuse and abuse of minor children. Defendants arrested under the Pokso Act do not get bail as easily.

And what has changed?

Fast-track courts have been set up to provide immediate relief to rape victims as well as expeditious sentencing of perpetrators.

Strict laws on sexual harassment of women have become a topic of public debate, which has not been talked about much before.

Security has been beefed up in Delhi, patrolling has been increased and the police have been ‘gender sensitized’ to understand the safety and issues of women.

More women officers have been recruited into the Delhi Police Force so that women can share everything with them. Similarly in other states also efforts were made to recruit more women in the police department.

Establishment of the Fearless Fund
The Central Government set up the Nirbhaya Fund after the Nirbhaya incident. Its purpose is to create a relief and rehabilitation scheme for rape victims. The government has allocated Rs 1,000 crore in the Nirbhaya fund. It provides that each state government pays compensation to victims of sexual offenses, including rape, in collaboration with the central government. To date, the scheme has been implemented in almost 20 states and seven Union Territories.

Range

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped by six men on a moving bus in Delhi. After being severely beaten, he was thrown out of the bus in a secluded spot. He died on 29 December 2012 in a hospital in Singapore. This outrageous case has shaken the conscience of the whole nation and people have taken to the streets in anger. The incident became an international headline and led to a debate on changing the law on sexual violence against women in India and calling for tougher punishment in rape cases.

Seeing the outrage of the people, the government also took action and handed over the responsibility of reforming the rape law to the Justice Verma Committee. Within three months of the incident, the committee reviewed laws relating to rape and sexual harassment of women and tightened legislation to protect women.

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