This article is written by Janvi Johar, 2nd year student pursuing B.A.LLB (H) from Amity University, Noida.
Though we have come up with certain laws, the question arises as to whether we have the mechanism to implement the law in its letter and spirit. In order to understand this and come to any conclusion, we must look into and analyze deeply the working of the police force and judiciary.
The law provides that in case of rape, the investigation process starts with the filing of an FIR (First Information Report) under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Thereafter, the actual investigation of the offence starts, and finally, the case is sent to the court with the relevant findings and evidence under section 170 of the code of criminal procedure. In case the investigation reveals that no case can be made out then, a petition can move to the court for the closure of the case.
However, in India, the main crux of the problem lies in the first step of lodging the complaint. Most of the victims are hesitant to lodge a complaint and even after lodging the complaint justice seems denied. This happens because there is a general belief in the police force that victims, in general, are responsible for the act and that majority of genuine cases never come forward and those who come forward are with an intention to extort money and hamper the reputation of the accused.
The authorities are often reluctant to lodge a complaint because they want to portray a lower crime rate in their districts as it increases the chances of their promotion. It has also been seen that corruption is prevalent in the scenario and the police are highly biased towards the people in powerful positions. At times the medical certificates and forensic reports are fudged in favor of the accused. This favoritism towards ‘money power’ leads to a vicious cycle of suffering of the victim while allowing the accused to go scot-free.
Moreover, legislative on the face of it appears to portray a progressive pro-women image but it was not duly well supported in this venture by the judiciary. The Judiciary has reflected a biased against women in many of its judgments. The courts have in some cases ignored the physical and psychological trauma that a woman and her family have to go through during a rape trial.
The Supreme Court in one of its landmark judgments held that virginity is the precious possession of an Indian girl and that she would never part with this proud and precious possession. This orthodox view of the courts makes it difficult for women to obtain justice
In addition to this, most of the victims in rape cases are very reluctant to report the crime due to fear of social stigma and social disapproval. Furthermore, they are also suspected of humiliation and harassment during the course of the investigation which in turn leads to secondary victimization.
Last but not least is the backlog of cases which leads to further delay in the trial. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2018,1,56,327 rape cases were on trial and out of which only 17,313 cases were completed and this resulted in a conviction in only 4,708 cases. Furthermore, there was an acquittal in 11,133 rape cases while discharge in 1,472 cases.
It would not be wrong to say that inefficiency of witness protection programs, under-equipped forensic laboratories and police personnel have led these low conviction rates. Apart from making the machinery effective and efficient, only fast track courts can combat this problem.
This article is edited by Rupreet Kaur Dhariwal.
Also read about Gender Neutrality in India
Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India Implementation of Anti-Rape Laws In India