Legal Reforms In India Post Nirbhaya Rape

While the statistics of rape cases in India are horrifying, the one case that completely shook the country and made one billion people rise in unison against this heinous crime was the Nirbhaya episode. A rape that left people numb and startled with its severity brought under the scanner not only the state of women safety in the country but even the law system which the people do not fear. Its five years past this incident that sparked off many legal reforms in the country. Here’s a run-down some of the major reformations around the rape crime in country.

Nirbhaya Rape

Criminal law amendment 2013 – This law brought about changes in the way to deal with juvenile offenders and the facility of medico-legal care to be given to victims/ survivors of sexual assaults. The major change was in the rape definition. As per the IPC rape was retained as different offence which not only included vagina penetration but also anus or mouth. Even a penetration without consent to be considered under rape.

Fast Track Courts to deal Rape Cases – A three-member committee was formed in December 2012 for speeding up the trial process through fast-track courts so the victims get the justice that too without undue delay.

Harsher Punishments – Other than the minimum of seven years of prison for rape, separate punishments for repeat offenders were also introduced with the provision of death sentence added to it.

Abolishment of Two Finger Test – The two-finger test which only added to victim shaming further was officially abolished because it never helped in telling anything about the heinous crime and was only to know the history which was of no relevance to the crime.

Marital Rape – The committee also suggested to bring non-consensual martial intercourse within the scope of rape.

Sexual Assault Considerations – The committee also recommended that even non-penetrative offenses be brought under the scanner of sexual assault.

Juvenile Justice Amendment 2015 – The Nirbhaya rape case involved a juvenile/minor as well who walked free post three years of living in the juvenile home. But, this did bring about a change in the law associated with juvenile justice. The main amendment made around it was trying a juvenile in the age bracket of 16-18 years committing heinous crimes like rape, murder, and robbery as an adult. The same would be done based on the judgment of the juvenile board members.

Not only amendment but the government has also been swift in creating awareness programs beginning at the grass-root levels and educate children about sex and literacy programs for women, in order to empower them.

Having said that, Delhi is still under the dark shadow of these crimes but it has definitely paved a way towards improving the state of safety of women and brought forth the fact that the society is determined to take action against such issues.

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Search and Siezures Law in India – Police Powers

While it is the duty of the police to ensure law and order in the society, we all have heard of instances where police have crossed their lines and invaded our human rights. But, many of us due to ignorance are not able to take suitable measures to use our rights when the time comes. So, here is a brief overview about police powers related to search and seizures in India.

Search and Siezures Law in India

Police Interrogation – While there is no law where you can skip police interrogation when normally fit and stopped for one, its only good for you to answer them like a lawful citizen. If you do not cooperate with interrogation they do have the powers to arrest you.

Eg. You are driving on the road in the wee hours of the night and the police stop you. They might want to check your car for any illegal weapons or if its a dry area for unauthorized alcohol. At such a point you need to stop and cooperate further.

Search – Usually a search warrant is required as per the 1973 Criminal Procedure Code of India when it comes to searching your house or offices, but if there is no time to attain the warrant and an immediate search is important they can do so. But, the search has to be carried out in presence of the owners and the seized items if any need to be listed. Two witnesses have to be present alongside as well. Police can carry out a search in your house or office without a warrant if they suspect that you have been hiding a criminal of stuff that is considered unlawful like drugs , etc. As for shared house, in case you are not present, shared areas can be searched by police without warrant but not your private stuff. Police can also search without permission a towed or seized car.

So, it’s advisable for you to cooperate with them and be aware of the law. Having said that if you find any misbehavior or unnecessary harassment from the police, you might as well file your complaint with the human rights commission.

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