New Delhi: The Congress will finalize its stance on the Juvenile Justice Bill on Tuesday, but said some provision must be made to deal with brutal cases like the gang rape of a young woman in the capital in 2012.
Congress spokesperson PL Punia said the party will decide its stance at a meeting on Tuesday morning.
But we agree that some provision must be made to deal with cases like Nirbhaya.
The bill is likely to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. There have been demands by members that the bill should be sent to a select committee.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, provides for the trial of those between 16-18 years of age as adults for heinous offenses. Also, anyone between 16 and 18 years who commits a less serious offense may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21. (IANS)(Picture Courtesy:livelaw.in)
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”
New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.
Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.
But did she never decide to approach the authorities?
To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”
Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.
This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.
Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.
The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.
Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”
While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.
Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.
Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.
According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.
And what about rape committed by husbands?
In light of the debate over marital rape, a reminder: if you actually ask women, almost all the sexual violence they face is from husbands pic.twitter.com/BRVXk0cbbJ
These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,
Because of the stigma associated with it
Because of the presence of a defunct justice system
Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.
Marital Rape In India
While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.
A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.
The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.
In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.
Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.
Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.
Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.
In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.
Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective
Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women
Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.
But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?
The Debate Around Marital Rape In India
Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”
Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?
South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.
India can learn something from its neighbours. Nepal has laws against marital rape, so does Bhutan
Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”
In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.
The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,
It might be misused by people
It will be difficult to prove
It might break up marriages
But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?
In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.
NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate
Kolkata: Following a long wait of over two and half years, three of the Kamduni rape convicts were handed death sentences while the three others were awarded life-term in the gangrape case that traumatised West Bengal in 2013.
While Amin Ali, Saiful Ali Mollah and Ansar Ali were awarded death sentences, Bhola Naskar, Aminur Islam and Imanul Islam were given life term by the City Session Court today.
Nine men dragged a second-year Derozio College student while she was returning home and gang raped and butchered her in Kamduni, of Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district. They brutally tore apart her legs up to the navel and slit her throat and dumped the body in a fish pond. The body was discovered on 8 June, 2013. The gruesome event occurred just nine months after the Nirbhaya rape case of Delhi.
One of the accused died during the trial process while two were acquitted for lack of evidence.
Prime accused Saiful Ali Mollah showed no remorse during the trial process. He even enacted before the magistrate how brutal they were during the inhuman incident.
The investigation officers had earlier claimed that the incident was ‘rarest of rare’ case. They said the case was built on circumstantial evidence as there was no eyewitness available
The defendant counsel would appeal to higher court.
While the people of West Bengal was eagerly waiting for the verdict, the Court’s decision would have a cascading effect on the people or the hamlet, Kamduni. The convicts’ allegiance to the ruling Trinamool Congress had embedded fear in the mindset of the villagers.
Though the villagers welcomed the verdict but they apprehend a backlash from the close aides of the convicts.
New Delhi: On Tuesday, the parliament passed the juvenile justice bill, a day after members cutting across party lines concurred that the important legislation should be commenced immediately.
Those between 16 and 18 years of age should be considered as adults for heinous offences as provided by the bill. Also, anyone between the age of 16 and 18 who perpetrates a less serious offence may be tried as an adult if he is apprehended after he attains the age of 21.
Key provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015
· Juveniles aged 16-18 accused of heinous crimes (rape, murder) to be tried as adults
· Could face imprisonment up to 7 years but won’t get life sentence or death penalty
· Juvenile Justice Board to decide if every accused minor should be tried under Juvenile Justice Act or in regular trial court
· Juveniles convicted under the regular justice system cannot contest polls and are ineligible for government jobs
· Corporal punishment has been made an offence and is punishable between 6 months and 3 years in jail
· Employing a child for begging will invite up to 10 years in jail
· Use of children by militants will carry up to 7 years in jail
Currently, a juvenile incriminated (under 18 years) is tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and if convicted, sent to a reform home for a period of maximum 3 years ( as in the case of Nirbhaya gang rape and the recently-released convict).
On Tuesday, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said a custodial institution for young offenders would be set up as per the proposed law to house juveniles accused of horrendous crimes. The existing law emboldened the juvenile crime, she said.
“Juvenile’s crime is increasing at a rapid speed. Children walk into police stations saying we have murdered, send us to a juvenile home.”
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said there should be a seperate place for the juvenile convicts and they should not be kept in jail with “hardened criminals”.
M. Venkaiah Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the bill has been listed several times by the government in the monsoon season as well as the winter season, but it could not be taken up. The law will not be applicable on the rape convict who has already been released.
However, none of the notices to send the bill to a house panel were presented to Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechurycalled it an emotional move and questioned, ” if a 15-year or 11-months old commits a crime will the definition be changed again?”
Kurien, however, said there was no proposal to send the bill to a panel, after which members of the Left parties staged a walkout.
The bill was passed through voice vote after that.