The incident of brutal gang-rape resulting in death of the victim i.e. Jyoti Singh was the driving force behind the passing of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. This Act has been one of the most important changes that has been made in the existing criminal laws namely Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 is more popularly known as the Anti-Rape Bill. The Act came into force on 3rd February, 2013 because of the protests and outrage of the nation which was due to the brutal gang rape that took place in Delhi on the night of 16th December 2012. The anger was directed not just at the rapists, but our society, our police, and our justice system, all of which provided an atmosphere for the culprits to commit crimes like these and rarely face any consequences.
It wasn’t like no rapes were committed before, there were a lot of cases, but no amendments were made and the punishment was negligible so it never bothered culprits like these. Thankfully, all the anger over what happened to Nirbhaya wasn’t in vain. A lot of reforms and amendments were made after this incident in favor of the society.
AMELIORATION IN LAW ON RAPE
The emphasis in the 2013 Amendment Act were obviously about rape. (FACT) One of the most terrible aspects of the case was the way in which a blunt rod was used to Probe her, damaging her intestines and eventually causing her death. The old definition of rape wouldn’t have considered this aspect of the incident as rape. The punishments by courts of rapist were made stricter. Separate punishments were made for repeat offenders, including the possibility of death sentence. The sentence of rapists was increased from the minimum sentence. The 2013 Act improved and widened the definition of rape to include oral sex and even the insertion of objects into a women’s vagina, urethra or anus.
This new Act also took into consideration some other acts which were recognized as offences under the eye of law. Some of the acts were stalking and voyeurism which will lead to seven years of imprisonment. The act also highlighted the point which was made by the protestors which was that if the person who committed the crime was an influential person, the court wouldn’t consider it. The Act also considered that it would be an offence if any hospital refuses to treat sexual assault victims, a person sexually abusing a woman, acid attacks and attempt at acid attack. The law states life imprisonment as the maximum sentences for rape. Even insulting any women by words or gestures will be punished with up to 3 years of jail. Section 370 and 370A of India Penal Code have been inserted as substitutes to section 370. These two new sections deal with the trafficking of a person for exploitation.
WERE THE REFORMS EFFECTIVE?
All the efforts and amendments made by the Indian courts were remarkable and covered all the crime that could’ve been possible, but was it really effective?
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