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.
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.