Society

INDIAN WOMEN AND CRIMES: SOME CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

Authored by: Rekha Khandelwal*

* Research Scholar, Department of Law, University Of Rajasthan

Published in Journal of Contemporary Issues of Law (JCIL) Vol. 5 Issue 5

INTRODUCTION

Crime against women is a part of daily newspapers like rape with child, trafficking, kidnapping, sexual harassment at workplace, schools, colleges, and even in families. Moreover, there are many unreported crimes which do not come in news but women have to face them in routine life, like domestic violence against her in-laws, cruelty by husband and his relatives, discrimination on the ground of gender in the area of education, health, employment, microfinance, women in politics, violence against women in family, dowry death, etc. These issues have always been contemporary issues of law from the very middle era. Although there are large number of laws today for prevention of such crimes, but why these crimes are not being prevented even after being so much laws in the country. This is a subject of analysis that why women have to face injustice even after availability of so much laws and she is unable to use these laws and get justice. The crime against women can be enumerated as below:

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

“Speaking generally, sexual harassment is a behaviour with a sexual connotation that is abusive, injurious and unwelcome. It places the victim in atmosphere of intimidation, humiliation or hostility. It may be constituted by many or a single act and the intention of the harasser has no relevance. There is a whole range of behaviour and activity which may not fall squarely within the definition above but still it may constitute or may amount to sexual harassment. Following can be few of the illustrations of such behaviour and any of these may be perceived as sexual harassment:

  1. Sexual comment or sexually determined behaviour such as.
  2. Leering at another body and/or sexually suggestive gesturing
  3. Displaying sexually visual material such as pin ups, cartoons, graffiti, computer programs and catalogues of sexual nature
  4. Telling a women employee about the ways she dresses up.
  5. Calling her up late at night with a request to have dinner repeatedly with which she is not comfortable
  6. Making sweeping statement while delivering lecture on advertising, for example, women are the best models to sell product, that body of the car should be sleek and sexy like a woman, so has to be soft to touch and so on
  7. Any other verbal and nonverbal conduct sexual in nature.

A popular misconception about sexual harassment is that it inevitably includes physical sexual contact at any time, place and in any context. Also it may not be true always that every kind of sexual relation should involve visible proof. The conduct constituting sexual harassment encompasses both physical as well as psychological behaviour. It may be subtle and include verbal innuendos and affecting affectionate gestures that are inappropriate in the circumstances.

Women across age groups and class, face this menace. Younger and newer entrants into the profession, especially in private sector, are equally vulnerable as women on the verge of their retirement. Even widows who get job on compassionate grounds or divorced women are not spared. The Crux of the matter is that a major chunk of the population has to endure such sexual gestures and comments without any fault of theirs.”1

  1. Ritu Gupta : Sexual Harrasment at Workplace (Bharat Law House)

GENDER DISCRIMINATION

“Discrimination against girls and women in the developing world is a devastating reality. It results in millions of individual tragedies which add up to lost potential for entire economy. There is a direct link between a country’s attitude towards women and its progress socially and economically. The status of women is central to the health of a society. If one part suffers so does the whole.

Tragically, female children are most defenseless against the order of gender discrimination. The following obstacles are stark examples of what the female worldwide face. But the new generations of girls represent the most promising source of change for women in the developing world today.

DOWRY AT THE TIME OF MARRIAGE

In developing countries, the birth of a girl causes great upheaval for poor families. When there is a barely enough food to survive, any child puts strain on a family resources. But the monetary drain of a daughter feels even more severe especially in regions where dowry is practised. The dowry is originally intended to help with marriage expenses, dowry came to be seen as payment to the groom’s family for taking on the burden of another woman. The dowry practice makes the prospect of having a girl even more distasteful to poor families. it also put Young women in danger. UNICEF estimates that around 5,000 Indian women are killed in related incidents each year.

NEGLECT OF THE GIRL CHILD

Neglect of the girl child is seen from the very birth. Statistics show that the neglect continues as they grow up. Young girls receive less food, health care and fewer vaccinations overall then boys.

INFANTICIDE

In extreme cases, parents make the horrific choice to end their baby girl’s life. It is not just poverty, but preference for a boy child on religious background. A daughter is always regarded as liability. Sex selective abortion are even more common than infanticides in India.

ABUSES IN THE FAMILY

After infancy the threat of physical harm follows girls throughout their lives. Women in every society are vulnerable to different types of abuses, but the threat is more severe for girls and women who live in societies where women’s rights mean practically nothing. Mothers who lack their own rights have little protection to offer their daughters, much less themselves, from their relatives and other authority figures. The frequency of rape and violent attacks against women is alarming.

HOUSEHOLD WORK

School might be an option for a few years but most girls are pulled out at the age of nine or ten when they are useful enough to work all day at home. Nine million more girls than boys miss out on school every year according to UNICEF report.

EDUCATION OF WOMEN

Education is an important determinant of the status of women in society. Gender inequality in education directly affects the economic growth by lowering the average level of human capital. In addition, growth is indirect affected through the impact of gender inequality on investment and population growth. The status and growth of education in society indicates the social economic development.

WOMEN’S HEALTH

Women’s health not only confined to the deteriorated physical health, but also the mental trauma that discriminate between the sexes within the family and in the society. The constitution of the body of women is such that it continuously changes its physical form and gives mental stress and different forms the physical changes of women’s body during puberty, the starting of menstruation and resulting hormonal changes cause psycho-somatic disorders and mental stress in almost all adolescent girls. Women face irritation, mood swings and depression caused by the hormonal change during menopause.

VIOLENCE WITHIN THE SOCIETY

All types of violence outside the house and in the workplace come under this type of violence. Violence and abuse against women can be classified into these categories:

  1. Physical violence including threats of violence hitting with fists or weapons with or without physical injury is the most common understood form of abuse all forms of physical violence are crimes under the criminal code.
  2. Sexual violence is any form of non-consensual or forced sexual activity or touching, including rape. All forms of sexual violence are crimes under the Criminal Code. The term sexual assault encompasses a wide range of criminal acts ranging from unwanted sexual touching to sexual violence involving weapons and is categorised according to three levels of severity. The term “sexual offence” refers to the three levels of sexual result as well as other sexual offences which are designed primarily to protect children.
  3. Psychological or emotional abuse includes insult, humiliation, put-downs and yelling, and extreme jealousy. These are not crimes under the criminal code, but are often effectively used to control and intermediate intimate partners. It also includes harming pets and damaging property which are crimes under criminal code.
  4. Financial abuse, also referred to as economic abuse or material exploitation, includes restricting access to family resources, inheritance on employment opportunities, or to seize pay cheques. Unless theft, fraud or some form of coercion is used, financial abuse is not a crime under the Criminal code.
  5. Spousal abuse refers to physical and sexual violence of psychological or financial abuse within current of former marital or common-law relationships, including same-sex spousal relationships. The broader category of intimate partner abuse compasses spouse violence and violence committed by a current or former dating partner.
  6. Spousal assault is measured according to the Criminal Code and includes physical of sexual assault and threats of violence.
  7. Spousal homicide refers to the killing of a marital or common-law partner and includes first and second degree of Murder and manslaughter.
  8. Criminal harassment/ stalking is obsessive behaviour directed towards another person. It can involve persistent, malicious and unwanted surveillance, and invasion of privacy that is a constant threat to the victim’s personal security. Criminal harassment is an offence under the criminal code.
  9. Trafficking in persons is a crime under the Criminal Code. Trafficking is the use of deception, coercion or force to recruit, move or hold a person in order to use or exploit that person against their will for the sex trade or forced labour. The majority of transitional victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.”2

2. Dr. Sandhya Ram Das : Gender Dynamics in India

RECENT REPORTED CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN

A youth had barged into her house on Gorakhpur Road, where she lives with her two children, and tried to rape her on Thursday night, local police station in charge Yadvendra Pal said.

A history-sheeter was nabbed and beaten up for trying to molest a married woman in Dabhoi.

Four cops attached to CSMT railway police station have been booked allegedly for extorting money from a passenger on Pushpak Express on Saturday. The cops, whose names have been withheld, were off-duty.

Observing that the hurling of abuse attracts no offence of criminal intimidation, the Bombay high court has quashed an FIR lodged by a traffic constable against a 23-year-old engineering post grad student and his businessman father

Cyber crimes against women have increased since August 2017, said Kerala women’s commission (KWC) chairperson M C Josephine.

In an effort to control crimes against women, the state police has strengthened its all-women squads in several districts.

·         “Olympian Rower Dattu Bhokanal Charged For Allegedly Harassing Wife

India News | Press Trust of India | Saturday May 18, 2019

Olympian and Asian Games medallist Dattu Baban Bhokanal has been charged for allegedly harassing his wife physically and mentally between December 22, 2017 and March 3 this year, a Nashik police official said on Friday.

·         Policeman Flashes Women On Balcony In Mumbai Home, Arrested

Mumbai News | ANI | Wednesday May 15, 2019

A case has been filed against a police constable in Mumbai for allegedly flashing before women in Nehru Nagar, the police said on Tuesday.

·         UP Woman “Sold” For Rs. 10,000, Gangraped; Sets Herself On Fire

Meerut News | Press Trust of India | Monday May 13, 2019

A woman, who was “sold” for Rs. 10,000 and raped by people for whom she was forced to work as domestic help, set herself on fire after Uttar Pradesh police officials allegedly refused to register her complaint, according to the Delhi Commission for Women.

·         Thane Man Caught On Video Flashing Woman Inside ATM, Arrested

Cities | Edited by Swati Bhasin | Tuesday May 14, 2019

A man in Thane was arrested on Sunday for molesting a woman inside an ATM at around 3 am after a video of the accused flashing the woman went viral.

·         Woman Kidnapped, Raped By 4 Men In UP’s Muzaffarnagar

Muzaffarnagar News | Press Trust of India | Sunday April 21, 2019

A 23-year-old woman was allegedly kidnapped and raped by four men in Muzaffarnagar, police said Sunday.

·         States To Soon Have Cyber Forensic Labs To Check Crimes Against Women

India News | Press Trust of India | Saturday April 20, 2019

States are soon going to have cyber forensic laboratories and DNA examination facilities to deal with the growing number of crimes against women, officials said today.

·         22-Year-Old Woman Allegedly Raped In Front Of Mother In UP

Cities | Press Trust of India | Monday April 15, 2019

A 22-year-old woman was allegedly raped by two menin front of her mother in a sugarcane field in Kakrauli area of Muzaffarnagar district, police said.

·         Notice To Tihar Jail On Rape Convict’s Release Over “Good Behaviour”

Delhi News | Press Trust of India | Tuesday April 9, 2019

The Delhi Commission for Women has issued notice to the Tihar jail and and the Delhi Police seeking details of a rape convict who was set free before completion of his sentence.

·         Meerut Man Shoots Dead Woman, Injures Sister For Rejecting His Advances

Meerut News | Edited By Swati Bhasin (with inputs from ANI) | Tuesday April 2, 2019

A Meerut man has been arrested after he allegedly shot dead a woman for rejecting his advances. The woman’s sister was also critically injured when the accused, identified as Deepak, allegedly opened fire inside her house.

·         Pregnant Indian-Origin Woman Found Dead In Punjab Canal, Husband Suspect

Indians Abroad | Edited By Swati Bhasin (with inputs from ANI) | Wednesday March 27, 2019

The body of a pregnant Indian-origin woman from Australia has been recovered from Bhakra Canal in Punjab’s Ferozepur district.

·         Acid Attack An “Uncivilised And Heartless Crime”, Says Supreme Court

India News | Press Trust of India | Tuesday March 19, 2019

The Supreme Court has said that acid attack is an “uncivilised and heartless crime” which does not deserve any clemency.

·         Kerala Teen Set On Fire On Road, Accused Suddenly Poured Petrol On Her

Kerala News | Reported By Sneha Mary Koshy, Edited By Swati Bhasin | Tuesday March 12, 2019

A 18-year-old boy was arrested today in Kerala for allegedly pouring petrol on a girl and setting her on fire this morning.

·         Woman In Gurgaon Dies After Husband Smashes Her Head With Bricks: Police

Gurgaon News | Indo-Asian News Service | Saturday March 9, 2019

A man allegedly killed his wife by smashing her head with bricks after a quarrel between them, police said in Gurgaon on Saturday.

·         National Registry Of Sex Offenders Adds 5 Lakh Names To Database

India News | Press Trust of India | Sunday February 24, 2019

Names of over five lakh sex offenders, who were convicted for crimes against women, have been added to a database which can been accessed by law enforcement agencies to help crack sex crimes across the country, officials said Sunday.

·         Man Held Guilty Of Raping US Woman Despite “Negative Forensic Result’

Delhi News | Press Trust of India | Saturday February 16, 2019

A man has been held guilty of digital rape of a US citizen by a Delhi court, which said her testimony could not be said to be unreliable as she came all the way from her country to appear in the case.”4

“A New Survey Finds 81 Percent Of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment Activists participate in the Take Back The Workplace March and #MeToo Survivors March & Rally on Nov. 12, 2017, in Hollywood, Calif. A new survey offers the first set of nationwide data on prevalence, showing that the problem is pervasive and women are most often the victims.

Back in October 2017, women took to social media to share their experiences of sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement went viral, spurring a national and global discussion on the issue.

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Many women have since come forward with their experiences of being sexually harassed by colleagues and bosses, costing influential men in the entertainment industry and the media

including journalists here at NPR — their jobs.

And yet, there has been little data collected on the national prevalence of sexual harassment,   says Michele Decker, director of the women’s health and rights program at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. As a result, many people have asked, “Where’s the evidence?” she says.

Now an online survey launched in January by a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment offers some of that missing evidence. It found that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime.

Those numbers are much larger than suggested by other recent polls. Those polls used a more limited sample or narrower definitions of harassment, says Anita Raj, director of the Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego, who analyzed the results of the new survey.The new survey, on the other hand, included a larger, more nationally representative sample of men and women ages 18 and above, says Raj. The survey also involved a broader definition of sexual harassment that includes the “continuum of experiences” that women face, she says.

The results, released in a report Wednesday, show that 77 percent of women had experienced verbal sexual harassment, and 51 percent had been sexually touched without their permission. About 41 percent said they had been sexually harassed online, and 27 percent said they had survived sexual assault.

The report also looked into locations where people experienced harassment. The majority of women

— 66 percent — said they’d been sexually harassed in public spaces. “The public forums are where you see the more chronic experiences of sexual harassment,” says Raj. These include verbal harassment and physical harassment, like touching and groping.

However, 38 percent of women said they experienced sexual harassment at the workplace. Thirty- five percent said they had experienced it at their residence. These experiences are more likely to be assaults and the “most severe forms” of harassment, says Raj.

“The findings show that this is a pervasive problem and permeates all sectors of our lives,” says Holly Kearl, the main author of the report. “Most people who said they had experienced sexual harassment experienced it in multiple locations.”

“Sexual harassment until more recently has been viewed as part and parcel of what people experienced,” says Decker, who wasn’t involved in the survey. As a result, public health researchers don’t monitor it. “It’s often been dismissed, because it’s considered not as egregious as sexual assault or rape.”

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Rape and sexual violence are closely monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. As a result, public health agencies and health workers are more aware of their prevalence and have been able to take steps to help victims and offer programs aimed at preventing sexual violence.

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The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

The new report shows that sexual harassment, too, is worth monitoring, says Decker. “We want to know that we’re responding to things that are prevalent and common, and this is showing that sexual harassment is really prevalent.”5

“Death by dowry” claim by bereaved family in India

Reported suicide is alleged to be part of alarming trend that sees 20 women die every day as a result of harassment over a dowry – either murdered, or compelled to take their own lives

A wedding mural on a wall in Udaipur. Dowry payments were criminalised in India in 1961, yet the conviction rate is low and the custom continues. Photograph: Duncan Vere Green/Alamy

Before leaving Delhi for a work trip earlier this year, a man paid a visit to his local police station. He was so afraid his daughter’s life was in danger that he wrote a letter, which he left with the police. In it, he accused his son-in-law and his relatives of abusing and tormenting her over their demands for dowry.

If anything happens, he wrote, then this family are responsible.

Just weeks later, his daughter is reported to have killed herself. Shortly before, she had texted a family member saying: “Because of him, my life is going to go.”

Police believe it to be suicide, although her family claim that she was murdered. They assert she was the victim of continuous beatings. “He kept demanding money from her. This is not a suicide. It is murder over dowry,” says her father.

Police say the husband told them that the woman texted him threatening to kill herself minutes before she jumped to her death.

Her death could prove to be another of India’s dowry death statistics. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 7,634 women died in 2015 – 20 every day – due to dowry harassment. They were either murdered or felt compelled to take their own lives.

These were women whose parents had already given a usually hefty dowry at the time of the arranged marriage, but the husband wanted more – cash, land, property, a car, a scooter, a flat screen TV or an iPhone.

Friends say the dead woman was financially and socially independent, from an affluent upper middle class family. The couple shared similar backgrounds and the marriage was not a traditional arranged one.

But even love marriages are not immune to the scourge of dowry demands, says Subhashini Ali, president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

“The husband’s parents often taunt him with lurid details of what parents of prospective ‘arranged’ brides were offering. When the husband himself is a drinker and abuser then the mix can be deadly,” says Ali.

One man who knows how hard it is to change the Indian dowry custom is Satya Naresh, a web entrepreneur in Hyderabad. In 2006, he set up India’s first matrimonial site for dowry-free marriages. The words on the homepage say: “I want just u … I don’t want dowry.”

In 12 years, only 5,399 men have registered. The brutal reality, as Naresh admits, is that hardly any men are prepared to forego the prospect of hard cash. “It’s way harder than I thought it would be to fight dowry,” he says. “It’s just greed. No matter what nice things people say in public, they all want the money. Even if a bridegroom doesn’t want a dowry, his parents want it and he can’t defy them.”

The reasons dowry and post-marriage dowry demands have persisted, despite a 1961 law making them a crime punishable with a minimum five-year jail sentence, are complex.

These are rooted in Indian culture and include arranged marriages, the subordinate status of women, parents’ fears that no one will marry their daughter without a dowry, and the centrality of the institution of marriage, which makes it difficult for parents to even contemplate their daughters remaining single.

Experts say a more consumerist and aspirational society has simply fuelled the traditional drivers for dowries. And the conviction rate is low. The NCRB’s figures show that police nationwide have charged around 93% of the accused in dowry deaths. Yet only about 34% result in convictions.

Last year research by the Hindustan Times newspaper found there had been 15 dowry deaths in the Indian capital alone over the previous five years but not a single conviction.

Women’s rights groups blame shoddy police investigations, and out-of-court settlements. Often, the woman’s family are reluctant to take on the burden (and expense) of a case that might go on for 20 years because of the 27 million pending cases of all kinds clogging the legal system.

NEWS ON WOMEN TRAFFICKING

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Ghaziabad News | Press Trust of India | Monday October 22, 2018

Twenty-eight women from Nepal, who were allegedly being trafficked on the pretext of jobs in gulf countries, were rescued today from two flats in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, the police said. Based on a tip-off, raids were conducted and the Nepali women, within the age group of 20-30 years, were rescued from two flats in Sarjan Vihar society of Nyay K…

·         Police Say “Rescued” Girls Stayed At Paharganj Hotel Willingly

Delhi News | Press Trust of India | Wednesday August 1, 2018

At least 39 Nepalese women were “rescued” from a hotel in Paharganj, the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) claimed today.

·         16 Women, Trafficked From Nepal, Rescued By Delhi Police

Delhi News | Press Trust of India | Wednesday July 25, 2018

With the help of the police, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) rescued 16 women, who were allegedly trafficked from Nepal and were about to be taken to Gulf countries, from southwest Delhi’s Munirka area, the police said today.

·         Massage Parlours Drive Demand For Thai Sex Slaves In Bengaluru, Mumbai

Reuters | Wednesday August 9, 2017

The booming spa and massage parlour business in India has led to increasing demand for women from Thailand, many of whom are being duped and trafficked into slavery in the country’s sex industry, police, diplomats and activists said today. At least 40 Thai women have been rescued this year during police raids on massage parlours acting as fronts …

·         Traffickers Find New Ways To Smuggle Girls From Remote Northeast

Thomson Reuters Foundation | Wednesday July 5, 2017

Mumbai: Young girls from remote northeast are lured with promises of good jobs and trafficked to Southeast Asia and the Middle East on Nepalese passports, campaigners say, amid fears traffickers are finding new ways to escape checks. “Over a 100 girls from the northeast and northern part of Bengal were trafficked in the last two years, nearly 50 …

·         Over 1.25 Lakh Women Trafficking Cases In India Last Year: Official

Indo-Asian News Service | Monday July 3, 2017

Kolkata: There were 35,000 reported cases of child trafficking and 1,25,750 women trafficking cases in the country in 2016-17, with West Bengal topping in both categories, a senior National Anti-Trafficking Committee (NATC) official said here on Saturday. “Among 35,000 reported cases of child trafficking, 13,000 were registered from West Bengal….


·         1 Month, 5,800 Kms: All About India’s Anti-Human Trafficking Caravan

Thomson Reuters Foundation | Wednesday May 24, 2017

New Delhi: You know when the “anti-human trafficking caravan” is in town. The loudspeakers blare as the large white bus moves slowly through towns and villages and an animated voice calls on residents – young and old – to come and join the fun. And the fun really is fun – ranging from music, dance performances and street plays to puppet s…

·         Delhi Police Rescues 6 Women In Trafficking Raids: Women’s Commission

Delhi News | Press Trust of India | Friday March 24, 2017

Delhi Police conducted raids and rescued six women from a gang involved in human trafficking, a Delhi Commission for Women official said.

·         Sold, Raped, Injected With Hormones. Now Free, She Wants Her Sons Back

| Friday September 2, 2016

She was 12 when she went to a crowded market, not far from her home in the old quarters of Delhi, to buy some staples and suddenly blacked out after being forced to sniff something. She woke up in hell.

·         29 Philippine Women Rescued From Trafficking In Malaysia

World News | Agence France-Presse | Wednesday June 22, 2016

Malaysian police have rescued 29 Filipinas who had been trafficked into work in bars, the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur said today.

·         Mumbai Dance Bars To Reopen Amid Worries Trafficking Of Women May Rise

Mumbai News | Reuters | Wednesday March 16, 2016

After a 10-year hiatus, dance bars are set to reopen in Mumbai and Maharashtra with activists warning women and girls could be trafficked and abused in these venues but bar owners arguing this is legimitate, needed work.

·         Trafficked Nepali, Bangladeshi Women Trapped In Syria

World News | Agence France-Presse | Sunday March 13, 2016

Nepali villager Sunita Magar thought she was heading to a safe factory job in Kuwait, but only when she landed in Damascus did she realise “something had gone very wrong”.

·         Bangladeshi Women Trafficked To War-Torn Syria As Sex Slaves, Maids

World News | Reuters | Tuesday March 1, 2016

Scores of Bangladeshi women have been lured with the promise of a good job in the Middle East and then trafficked to war-torn Syria, where they are forced into domestic or sex work, a senior Bangladeshi police official said.

·         Delhi Commission for Women Chief Meets Delhi Chief Secretary on Trafficking of Women

Delhi News | Indo-Asian News Service | Wednesday September 2, 2015

Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal today met Delhi Chief Secretary KK Sharma and urged him to reconstitute the state-level coordination committee to combat trafficking of women.

·         Minor Girl Trafficked From Bengal, Married Off to Haryana Man, Escapes

India News | Written by Tanima Biswas | Friday August 7, 2015

By the tender age of 17 years, this girl from Bengal’s Raniganj area has had a lifetime’s worth of bad experiences – sold off four times, forced marriage, abuse by husband, and captivity. Three days ago, she finally managed to escape.”6

“10 women are kidnapped in Delhi everyday”7

Laws relating to crime against women and efforts by government

Especially the condition of women with regards to criminal justice is poor in our country. There are a number of laws in our country to provide justice to women like Female Infanticide Prevention Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, Domestic Violence Act, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Child Marriage Act, Section 376 of IPC, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal) Act, etc.

6 Source : https://www.ndtv.com/topic/women-traffickingRetrieved on 21.05.19

7 https://www.indiatoday.in/mail-today/story/10-women-are-kidnapped-in-delhi-everyday-1268826-2018-06-25

retrieved on 21.05.19

“The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 has been passed in June 2012 and came into force with effect from 14th November 2012. The major amendment in sexual offences under IPC has taken place with effect from 3rd February, 2013 by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013. The existing law pertaining to sexual crimes can further be divided into three categories

(i) penetrative sexual assault, (ii) sexual assault for sexual intended act and (iii) sexual intended behaviour to insult womanhood.

Firstly, penetrative sexual assault includes rape under section 376 of IPC with aggravated forms of rape under section 376A, gangrape under section 376D and repetition of rape or gangrape under section 376E. Illegal sexual intercourse does not amount to rape but is also punishable under section 376B and section 376C. Besides, penetrative sexual assault of a child is punishable under Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and aggravated penetrative sexual assault is punishable under section 6 of the said act. Secondary sexual assault on sexual intended act is punishable as assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage the modesty (molestation) under section 354, sexual harassment under section 354A, disrobing under section 354B, voyeurism under section 354C and stalking a woman under section 354D of IPC. When the victim is a child below 18 years, the sexual assault is punishable under sections 8 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and aggravated sexual assault is punishable under section 10 of the said act. Thirdly sexual intended behaviour to insult womanhood is punishable under section 509 of IPC where speaking of word, gesture or act is intended to insult the modesty of a woman (eve teasing). We have special statutory provisions too to protect the dignity of women against sexual acts, i.e., offences under the indecent representation of women (prohibition) Act 1986 and publishing or transmitting of obscene and sexually explicit material in electronic forms under sections 67, 67A, 67B of Information Technology Act, 2000.

Irrespective of offences under section 493 to 498 of IPC relating to mock marriage, bigamy, adultery, criminal elopement with wife of other, maximum number of offences are committed under Section 498A of IPC i.e. cruelty by husband and his relatives. Abetment to suicide under section 306, dowry death under section 304B of IPC and offences under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 are also offences against the Institution of marriage.

Kidnapping and trafficking of women irrespective of general kidnapping or abduction, procuring of minor girl, below the age of 21 years, for commercial exploitation is special offence under section 366A or import of a girl from foreign country is also a special offence under section 366B. Besides, selling or purchasing of a girl for the purpose of prostitution is an offence under section 372 and 373 of IPC. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 has substituted section 370 of IPC and introduced section 370A to curb the offence of human trafficking with a wider meaning of human trafficking including trafficking of a person for the purpose of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. We also have specialization i.e. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1956 to curb the trafficking of a woman for the purpose of immoral sex.”8

Crimes relating to institution of marriage include mock marriage, bigamy, concealment of former marriage, dishonest or fraudulent marriage, adultery, criminal elopement, hiding of HIV positive status by either party at the time of marriage, cruelty to woman by her husband and relatives, demanding of dowry, dowry death, etc. Mock marriage means to cause a woman to believe that she is lawfully married to a man and having sexual intercourse with her under that belief where she is not actually lawfully married to him. For this, Section 493 of IPC provides for imprisonment for upto 10 years and fine. Bigamy means doing second marriage by a man already having a wife who is alive and is punishable with imprisonment for upto 7 years and fine u/s 494 of IPC, subject to some conditions. Concealment of former marriage is punishable with imprisonment for upto 10 years and fine u/s 495 of IPC. When a marriage is done under a ceremony knowing that it will not be a lawful marriage, then it is punishable with imprisonment for upto 7 years and fine u/s 496 of

8 Law and Social Transformation in India, 2014 Malik & Rawal P. 110-113.

IPC. Adultery, i.e., sexual intercourse of a man with wife of another without his consent, not amounting to rape, is punishable u/s 497 of IPC with imprisonment for upto 5 years or fine or both. Cruelty by husband and his relatives is punishable with imprisonment for upto 3 years and fine u/s 498A of IPC. Also, a separate act Prevention of Dowry Act, 1961 is there to prevent giving and taking of dowry and its adverse effects on women. Tripple Talaq is not less than a crime. This is related to muslim society. Just by saying words in front of wife, or even on phone or written or electronic mode, husband can easily give divorse to his wife. This adversely affects the interests on muslim women. However, the government has come with

Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 to save muslim ladies from Tripple Talaq, which has been passed by Lok Sabha.

Further women are not treated equal to men in the society. Even after modernization of society, the overall position of women in society is miserable. Even when women are holding highest positions on one side, there are still large number of people who don’t want birth of a female child in their home. So, there are a large number of cases of female foeticide and female infanticide. To curb this, government has passed The Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 2002. Still a large number of cases are reported every year where diagnostic centres are declaring the sex of the child before birth, just for their selfish interests. They charge heavy fees for this illegal action of declaring sex before birth. Not only this, recently a case was reported where a diagnostic centre was declaring every child to be female to such parents who wanted to know the sex before birth, even some were male out of them, but they declared all to be female and earned money for their abortion also. There are a large number of orthodox families who still have preference of male child over female child. The female child is subjected to malnutrition, illiteracy and poor health in such families. Child marriage is also a grave issue. A girl married at age of a child, gets deprived of enjoying her childhood, her education, her growth and development. When such a girl gives birth to a child, it is very harmful to her body and also the body of the newly born baby. To curb such practices, government has passed Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Some other acts have been passed by the government to safeguard the interest of women. These include The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 and various other laws.

Thus we see that there are a large number of legal provisions to protect women in India. But these laws are neither properly implemented not strictly followed, due to which, the condition of women is to poor and they are facing various crimes like cruelty, dowry, domestic violence, rape, crimes relating to Institution of marriage, kidnapping and trafficking, sexual harassment, adultery, eve teasing, child marriage, physical and mental torture, acid attack, honour killing, female foeticide and various other crimes.

There are various reasons why women are still unable to get justice. The reasons to include, lack of knowledge and awareness, fear of society, influence of family members, patriarchy system in family, illiteracy and various other reasons. Women feel themselves unable to fight for their rights due to physical, mental and financial weaknesses. “The trend of reported crimes against women is shocking the nation. The government report of 2007 has revealed the fact that half of the cases are not reported to the authorities. The trend reveals that crimes against women are constantly increasing since 2003. It is observed that the police is not reporting some of the cases to show fewer crimes on the record, or are counseling for compromise or settlement or just letting it go. In some of the cases, experience of women while complaining to the police is very bitter.”9

Further the Judiciary System is quite complicated in your country and further weak especially regarding cases related to crimes against women. “The backlog of cases reported as crimes against women are pending 6 times more than the courts are completing work in a year and it increases in compounding manner. Second issue is the composition and withdrawal of the cases from the court.

Only few cases had been withdrawn from the list and the maximum of them are compounded with or without permission of the court.”10

The government is doing much efforts for women empowerment, still the efforts are not much fruitful. Therefore some more efforts are needed. There is a need of creating awareness in women for their rights and the laws available to protect their rights. Firstly, the Judiciary should be made easily approachable to women. Special Courts can be set up where only ladies can file suits. Awareness programs should be started by the government where ladies can be provided knowledge of the rights and related laws and can be motivated not to accept injustice. The courses of school education can also be modified to provide knowledge in this regard. Justice delayed is justice denied, therefore, a maximum time may be fixed for deciding cases related to women. Awareness can also be created by television and newspaper advertisements. It is only when the women get justice, then we can expect a better future of not only the women but of the whole country.

Posted by : Rekha Khandelwal (Author of the research paper)

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