oppn parties Delivery of Justice in Rape Cases

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
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Delivery of Justice in Rape Cases

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
After the Nirbhaya rape incident, rape laws in India were made more stringent. But no law can ever hope to overcome misuse of position or status, fear or greed. There has been a rush (I hate to use this word, but cannot avoid it) of rape cases recently with Unnao, Kathua and Surat all troubling the minds of all right-thinking citizens. But in between, there was another report that has troubled me immensely and has got me thinking.

A girl in Delhi has filed a case against her parents for accepting Rs 20lakhs from the accused who raped her and forcing her to change her statement in order to let him off the hook. After bowing to that girl for her huge courage, I think that this is one of the reasons why convictions for rape are so low in India. In 2016, only 25% of rape cases filed resulted in conviction. This girl has had the courage to protest. Others are not so strong. Many cases are ‘settled’ by the families of the victim and the accused in this dastardly manner.

Very often, as it will happen in both Unnao and Kathua, misuse of position and fear play a huge role. On one side are powerful people who have committed ghastly crimes – in Unnao, from the ruling party and in Kathua, protected by the ruling party – and on the other side are powerless people who can only hope for support from activists, lawyers and the judiciary. The accused will misuse their status to destroy the case against them. Also, fear of reprisal will prevent witnesses from coming forward and may even make the families of the victim to withdraw the cases.

There was even a judge in the Madras High Court, Justice P Devadass, who encouraged ‘settlement’ of rape cases if the accused agreed to marry the victim. Calling it alternative dispute resolution, the judge granted bail to a rape accused and asked him and the victim’s family to ‘mediate’ so that the victim could marry the girl whom he raped.

It is sad that educated people can call rape a ‘dispute’ and say that there can be alternative ways of resolving it. A dispute is defined as a “disagreement or argument”. Is rape a dispute or disagreement or argument? It is forced violation of a person that infringes on her/his individual liberty and deserves punishment according to law. The person asked by the Madras High Court to ‘seek’ marriage had been sentenced to 7 years in prison by the trial court. The victim obviously refused to even consider marrying him. And what if the person married the victim to escape punishment and then abandoned her after some time?

Instead of prescribing fancy ways, the legislature, the investigating agencies and the judiciary must work to eliminate misuse of status, greed, fear and other such factors that come into play in reducing the rate to conviction for rapists. Justice for victims must be swift and as per law. If needed, more procedural delays must be eliminated and better ways of collecting, submitting and admitting evidence must be introduced for rape cases to make the delivery of justice fast and just.