After Indian supreme court judgment on arrest procedure (CrPC 41) all Indian national channels have featured discussion on the judgment and questioned the law misuse. Feminists, however, have always said nonconviction in a case does not mean it is a law misuse. Let’s look at one such debate on Indian national broadcaster DD News –
Feminists in this discussion have pointed out that in cases of murder, adultery, rape the conviction rate had been low. Does that mean we should ban all laws? Now let’s look at each crime and try to understand the nuances –
Rape (IPC 375, 376, Nirbhaya Act) – Considered most heinous crime today. 75% of rape cases turn out in acquittal as of today (see some of these cases here). With a change in rape law, this situation is sure to increase. Question is will that mean more rapes are happening in the society? or India has suddenly become a rapist country? Is conviction on a simple allegation is in the best interest of justice?
To understand this we need to understand the definition of rape or sexual assault. It is very important to understand that rape is no more “Forceful sexual intercourse” as people may mostly think. It encompasses many different acts. We consider all of these acts as rape when this happens to women and do NOT even consider that as a crime when happening against men, that becomes an issue. Even if we consider the erstwhile definition of rape then we will see that rape could have been gender neutral (read – Can we have a gender-neutral rape law in India?).
When we consider this crime one way then always we will see the crime against women happening and keep on considering that men have been criminals while completely ignoring the same crime happening against men. One simple example – Sex on the premise of marriage is considered rape in India when the boy refuses to marry the girl, however the same is NOT true when the girl refuses. That becomes women empowerment and if the boy talks about it he becomes a loser to the society.
Thus if we consider rape as a serious crime then women need to take up the responsibility of their behavior first. The law need to be gender neutral and frivolous cases need to be punished. Also, sex before marriage can’t be rape as the women need to take responsibility for their conduct and the blame can’t be one-sided.
Also, cases where it is found that the rape was filed for an ulterior motive, to extort money or to marry the boy of her choice the complainant needs to be punished. Because as we make the stricter punishment for a crime and the accused undergo severe treatment on being accused, we just can’t ignore frivolous cases.
Murder– It is said that most of the murders in India too end in acquittal due to insufficient evidence after trial. But in these cases even for a false case, a dead body is required as evidence. So it does not matter whether one has committed the murder but in absence of a dead body or evidence, a murder case can not be registered. The case may be found to be false or end in acquittal later but the point that a prime evidence is required for a criminal case is very important for us to note.
Adultery (IPC 497) – A husband can file adultery case on the paramour of wife under IPC 497. For which if he wants to prove adultery he needs loads of evidence. This case can not be filed against the wife and hence even if the wife has kept her paramour in dark about her marital status and had sex still the man will be punished if proven guilty. So acquittal in these cases is 94%.
A husband can get a divorce under adultery only if the wife is ‘living in’ adultery. That is only if she is living separately with her paramour. However, in cases where the wife is living with her husband and having sex with other men in her matrimonial house when the husband is absent, it is next to impossible for anyone to prove adultery. Any attempt to record video, install CCTV camera etc will be considered as a grave offense by the husband for which he will be instantly sent to jail. Also, any husband filing divorce under this clause is considered as extremely cruel and the wife is granted immediate maintenance under several sections till the time husband proves his case.
This law earlier said ‘where wife lived in’ adultery but was later changed by feminists to ‘living in adultery’ thus making it very difficult for the husband to prove the same. Also, the cases where the wife has an illicit baby out of her paramour it is even more difficult as getting a DNA test done is just impossible in India without a court order (read – Paternity Fraud and related crime to continue in India). So winning an adultery case is very difficult for a husband even though he is the one who can file it.
One important point to understand here is that in these IPC 497 cases there is no immediate arrest or even arrest threat to the accused. The accused goes to jail only after the case is proved. Rather when a husband files such a case against the paramour of his wife, the husband himself is in danger of getting a false 498a case and paying maintenance to wife.
Dowry Harassment (IPC 498a) – Now let’s see what happens in IPC 498a cases. This is a case of mental cruelty by husband and his family. As discussed in earlier cases these cases are filed mostly without any evidence. For example to file a murder case against someone you need a dead body, to file rape case only verbal statement of the woman is enough as she can file even years later, to file adultery husband needs a lot of proof.
Indian Supreme court has already defined the cruelty of 498a earlier, As defined by the supreme court cruelty under 498a is where the life and limb of the woman are under threat. So ideally there should be a medical report but mostly these cases are filed without any material substance and most of the cases where dowry death (IPC 304B) is filed, only in those cases we see a conviction. (dowry death cases always have added 498a cases in it). Hence the acquittal percentage is 98% in only 498a cases and 85% in all 498a cases (498a+304B).
So we understand that now filing criminal cases in Indian social system has become too easy for women. Also when the cruelty under 498a is defined still many frivolous cases are filed and goes to court because police are duty bound to register all cases under ‘Crime against women’ and only a court can decide or dismiss them.
Thus we can see that in rape (IPC 375, 376 and under Nirbhaya Act) and in IPC 498a cases some cases that do not even qualify as the crime are filed and all of these clog our judicial system. Police can arrest the accused with immediate effect in these cases. Thus the SC order and hence so many debates. These cases are the reason why justice is delayed and most often denied to the real victims. However, feminists who are supposed to act on behalf of women do not understand this and in fact act against the interest of real victims.
Remember, making every interaction a crime does not make Indian society any better place to live in. That is definitely not women empowerment and only creates disturbance in our lives. This makes our life miserable and helps the legal terrorists and those who do business with women empowerment.
are responsible for your future. Don’t ruin it.