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Nirbhaya Gang Rape & After

How Effective Are The New Laws

December 9, 2014
On a cold winter night in
December 2012, a gang
rape in a bus on the roads
of Delhi shocked the
nation, leading to
widespread public
outbursts, forcing the then
Congress Government to
take notice and act.
Exactly two years later,
again on a cold winter
night on the roads of
Delhi, there is another
rape.
In these two years, do you
think the number of rapes,
harassment and violence
against women has come
down? What changes
exactly took place in the
legal system? How far are
these implemented and
enforced? To what extent
are they successful? What
measures did the
Government take during
these two years for the
protection of women?
Let’s take an overview on
the improvements of the
legal system, especially for
women’s protection,
undertaken after the
Nirbhaya gang rape and
ponder whether we are on
the right track or not.
Improvements in legal
system
In December 2012, due to
huge public protests, a
judicial inquiry committee
was set up so as to study
the scenario and make
recommendations to
amend the present laws
for effective prosecution of
sex offenders. More than
80,000 suggestions from
the public were
considered and the
committee submitted a
report in which it was
mentioned that the root
causes behind crimes
against women were the
failures on the part of the
Government and police.
Subsequently, the Criminal
Law (Amendment)
Ordinance, 2013 was
promulgated.
Certain stringent changes
in laws have been made
and six new fast-track
courts were set up only for
rape cases. The objective
was to reduce the number
of rapes and sexual
harassment cases. The
amended laws have made
it clear that there is now
harsh sentence for rape
convicts, which include
death as well as life term
penalty, stringent
punishment for other
offences against women
like eve teasing, acid
attacks, stalking and
voyeurism. Various
sections of the Indian
Penal Code, the Indian
Evidence Act, the Code of
Criminal Procedure, and
the Protection of Children
from Sexual Offences Act
have also been amended
by the Government.
According to law, a rape
convict can be sentenced
to imprisonment for not
less than 20 years, and can
extend till his natural
death. Rape convicts who
are repeat offenders can
be sentenced to death.
Stalking and voyeurism,
for the first time, have
been considered as non-
bailable offences, while an
acid attack convict can be
sentenced to a 10-year
imprisonment.
Safety measures in public
transport for women
Some measures taken by
the Government for the
safety of women in Delhi
are as follow:
Installation of GPS
devices on all public
buses
Verification of the crew
of all public transport
vehicles, including
owners of chartered
buses
Appointment of lady
police officers
Increasing the number
of PCR vans
Recruiting more people
for the proper running
of transport
department
Introduction of Home
Guards in the night
buses of DTC
Police verification of
school bus staff
CCTV cameras at various
places in Delhi. At
present, CCTV cameras
are operational at 34
markets and four
border check posts in
Delhi.
The Government
announced in 2013
that verification needs
to be done by the Delhi
police on all passenger
vehicle drivers and
after that the transport
department would
issue public service
vehicle (PSV) badge to
them.
Present status
So far GPS is installed in
6321 DTC and cluster
buses, 45,000 in autos,
5,549 chartered buses,
while the actual number
of public transport
vehicles is much more
than this. So far, over two
lakh PSV badges have
been issued and 3,000
auto and taxi owners’
addresses have been sent
for verification. In fact,
after the Nirbhaya case,
the only measures that
have been successful to a
certain extent are DTC’s
night service which
increased from 42 to 80
buses now and the
services of ladies buses
have also increased to 26.
Statistical data
Immediately after the
gang rape, several laws
were amended, cases
were heard promptly but
the number of pending
cases continues to rise.
According to the reports of
the National Crime
Records Bureau (NCRB),
the number of rapes in the
last 40 years in the
country has increased
eight-fold. Compared to
other serious crimes like
robbery, murder,
kidnapping, the rise in the
number of rape cases is
more. In 2012, a total of
24,923 rapes in India were
reported, out of which
only 24% resulted in
convictions. Till October
2013, rape complaints
went up by as much as
125%, compared with the
previous year.
According to NCRB data,
the number of rapes
reported in India was
33,707 in 2013. Between
October, 2012 and
October, 2013, the number
of molestation complaints
increased by 440%.
According to 2012
statistics, New Delhi has
the highest number of
rape reports among Indian
cities. According to a
recent compilation of data
by Delhi police, 616 rapes
and 1,336 molestation
cases were registered
between January 1 and
April 30, 2014, which is
36% increase compared to
the previous year.
Considering the latest
statistics of the NCRB, 93
women in India are being
raped everyday.
Where we stand now? Do
we see any change?
Sorry to say, considering
the statistical information
given above, not much
change has been seen.
Delhi is still unsafe for
women. Not only Delhi, all
other States of India are
equally vulnerable. In
spite of amendments in
the legal system, in spite
of adopting safety
measures in public
transport, things have not
improved so far. But, yes,
to a certain extent,
women have come
forward to report these
issues and fight for their
rights, which was initially
a taboo in the Indian
society. Maybe that is the
reason, the number of
reported cases has risen.
But again, lot many
questions come to our
mind. Police reforms, law
reforms, strict
punishments, educational
reforms, rape crisis
centres, counselling, public
transport safety are just
the amendments that we
can think of for women’s
safety.
But, how can we change
the minds of the perverts
of our country?


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