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Rape in India

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 Acquaintance rape
 Date rape
 Gray rape
 Marital rape
 Statutory rape
 Prison rape
 Gang rape
 Serial rape
 Campus rape
 Corrective rape
 Genocidal rape
 Unacknowledged rape
 Rape by deception

Effects and motivations

 Effects and aftermath

 Pregnancy from rape
 Rape trauma syndrome
 Causes
 Post-assault mistreatment
 Weinstein effect
 Sociobiological theories
 Rape culture

By country

 Afghanistan
 Belgium
 China
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
 Egypt
 Finland
 France
 Germany
 India
 Pakistan
 Papua New Guinea
 Philippines
 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
 Sweden
 United Kingdom
 United States

During conflicts

 Nanking Massacre
 Soviet occupation of Poland
 Occupation of Germany
 Occupation of Japan
 Bosnian War
 Bangladesh Liberation War
 Rwandan Genocide
 Darfur genocide
 Kashmir conflict
 Syrian Civil War
 Iraqi insurgency


 Marry-your-rapist law
 Rape shield law
 False accusation of rape
 Rape investigation
 Rape kit

Related articles

 History of rape
 Date rape drug
 Rape statistics
 Rape by gender
o Rape of males
 Anti-rape device
 Rape crisis centers
 Rape investigation
 Rape myth
 Rape pornography
 Rape and revenge films
 Rape fantasy
 Rape schedule
 Anti-rape movement


Law portal

 v
 t
 e

Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India.[1][2] According to the National Crime
Records Bureau (NCRB) 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in
2012.[3] Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim (98% of the cases).[4]
India has been characterised as one of the "countries with the lowest per capita rates of rape". [5][6] Many
rapes go unreported in various countries including India.[7][8] In India, consensual sex given on the false
promise of marriage constitutes rape.[9] The willingness to report the rape has increased in recent years,
after several incidents of rape received widespread media attention and triggered public
protest.[10][11][12][13][14] This led the Government of India to reform its penal code for crimes of rape and
sexual assault.[15]
According to NCRB 2015 statistics, Madhya Pradesh has the highest raw number of rape reports among
Indian states,[16] while Jodhpur in Rajasthan has the highest per capita rate of rape reports in cities
followed by Delhi, the capital city.[17]


 1Definition in Indian Penal Code

 2Rape statistics
o 2.1Rape of minors
o 2.2Estimates of unreported rapes
o 2.3Convictions
 3Notable incidents
o 3.1Jammu and Kashmir
o 3.2Northeast India
o 3.3Uttar Pradesh
 4During riots
 5The partition of India
 6Disputed rape cases
o 6.1Potential abuse concerns
o 6.2Notable cases
 7Tourist advisories
 8Legal response
o 8.1National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
o 8.2Fast track courts
o 8.3Marital rape
o 8.4Education programmes
 9See also
 10References
 11External links
 12Further reading

Definition in Indian Penal Code

Annual rape and all forms of sexual assaults per 100,000 people, for India compared to select

Before 3 February 2013, Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defined rape as:[20]
§375. Rape. A man is said to commit "rape" who, except case hereinafter excepted, has sexual
intercourse[21] with a woman in circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-
Firstly. –– Against her will.
Secondly. –– Without her consent.
Thirdly. –– With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom
she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
Fourthly. –– With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is
given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully
Fifthly. –– With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind
or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or
unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she
gives consent.
Sixthly. –– With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen[22] years of age.
Explanation. –– Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of
Exception. –– Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of
age, is not rape.
The above definition excluded marital rape, same sex crimes and considered all sex with a minor below
the age of sixteen as rape.
After 3 February 2013, the definition was revised through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013, which
also raised the legal age of minor to eighteen.[23]
§375. A man is said to commit "rape" if he:–– (a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina,
mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (b) inserts, to
any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a
woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (c) manipulates any part of the body of a
woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or
makes her to do so with him or any other person; or (d) applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of
a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any
of the following seven descriptions:
Firstly. –– Against her will.
Secondly. –– Without her consent.
Thirdly. –– With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom
she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
Fourthly. –– With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is
given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully
Fifthly. –– With her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind
or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or
unwholesome Substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she
gives consent.
Sixthly. –– With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.
Seventhly. –– When she is unable to communicate consent.
Explanation 1. –– For the purposes of this section, "vagina" shall also include labia majora.
Explanation 2. –– Consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the woman by words,
gestures or any form of verbal or non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in
the specific sexual act;
Provided that a woman who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not by the reason
only of that fact, be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity. Exceptions –– 1. A medical procedure
or intervention shall not constitute rape; 2. Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife,
the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
Even after the 2013 reform, marital rape when the wife and husband live together continued not to be a
crime in India. Article 376B of the 2013 law made forced sexual intercourse by a man with his wife – if she
is living separately – a crime, whether under a decree of separation or otherwise, punishable with at least
a 2-year prison term.[15] Forced sex by a man on his wife may also be considered a prosecutable
domestic violence under other sections of Indian Penal code, such as Section 498(A) as well as
the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.[24] The crime of sexual assault on a child, that
is anyone below the age of eighteen, is further outlined and mandatory punishments described in The
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.[25]
All sexual acts between the members of the same sex, consensual or forced, was previously a crime
under Section 377 of Indian penal code, after the 2013 Criminal Law reform, with punishment the same
as that of rape[26] but it was later overturned in a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court on 6
September 2018 which stated all consensual sexual acts between adults who have met the age of
consent are not violative of Section 377, hence decriminalizing gay sex in India. [27][28]
Rape statistics

Reported Rape rates per 100,000 population 2010-2012.

Rape of minors
See also: Child sexual abuse laws in India

Using a small sample survey, Human Rights Watch projects more than 7,200 minors – 1.6 in 100,000
minors – are raped each year in India. Among these, victims who do report the assaults are alleged to
suffer mistreatment and humiliation from the police.[29] Minor girls are trafficked into prostitution in India,
thus rape of minors conflates into a lifetime of suffering.[30] Of the countries studied by Maplecroft on sex
trafficking and crime against minors, India was ranked 7th worst.[30]
Estimates of unreported rapes
Most rapes go unreported because the rape victims fear retaliation and humiliation, both in India and
throughout the world.[31] Indian parliamentarians have stated that the rape problem in India is being
underestimated because many cases are not reported, even though more victims are increasingly coming
out and reporting rape and sexual assaults.[32]
Few states in India have tried to estimate or survey unreported cases sexual assault. The estimates for
unreported rapes in India vary widely. The National Crime Records Bureau report of 2006 mentions that
about 71% rape crimes go unreported.[33] Marital rape is not a criminal act in India[34] though sexual
intercourse with wife aged between 15 and 18 years is considered as rape. [35] Madiha Kark estimates
54% of rape crimes are unreported.[36] A UN study of 57 countries estimates just 11% of rape and sexual
assault cases worldwide are ever reported.[37]

Verdicts in Delhi Rape Cases, 2013[38]

The conviction rate for rapists has fallen at a steep rate over the past 40 years. Out of all the rape trials in
India, only one out of four leads to a conviction.[39] The conviction rate for rape cases in India was 44.3
percent in 1973, 37.7 percent in 1983, 26.9 percent in 2009, 26.6 percent in 2010, 26.4 percent in
2011,[40] 24.2% in 2012 and 27.1% in 2013.[39]

Rate(%) Year

44.3 1973

37.7 1983

26.9 2009

26.6 2010

26.4 2011

24.2 2012

27.1 2013

India's conviction rate is higher than developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, which recorded a
conviction rate of 7% in 2011-12. The conviction rate as low as 10% in Sweden and 25% in France.[39]

Notable incidents

People silently marching to protest with candlelight at Salt Lake City in Kolkata after the female victim's
death on 29 December 2012
People in Bangalore protesting outside Bangalore Town Hall on 30 December 2012 demanding justice for
the 23-year-old student who was gang-raped in Delhi on 16 December 2012

The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a public bus, on 16 December 2012, sparked large protests
across the capital Delhi.[13] She was with a male friend who was severely beaten with an iron rod during
the incident.[41] This same rod was used to penetrate her so severely that the victim's intestines had to be
surgically removed, before her death thirteen days after the attack.[42]
The following day, there was an uproar in the Indian parliament over the incident. MPs in both houses
had set aside their regular business to discuss the case and demanded strict punishment for those who
carried out the attack. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, demanded that
"the rapists should be hanged".[43] Thousands of people, mostly young, participated in a massive
demonstration on 22 December in protest.[44] Police arrested six men suspected of rape.[45]
In August 2013, a 22-year-old photojournalist, who was interning with an English-language magazine in
Mumbai, was gang-raped by five persons, including a juvenile, when she had gone to the deserted Shakti
Mills compound, near Mahalaxmi in South Mumbai, with a male colleague on an assignment. This caused
protests throughout the country since Mumbai with its very active nightlife was previously considered a
safe haven for women. The city sessions court found the accused guilty and sentenced death penalty to
the three repeat offenders in the Shakti Mills gang rape case, making them the first in the country to get
the death sentence stipulated under the newly enacted Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code. [46]
On 14 March 2015, a 71-year-old nun was allegedly gang-raped in Ranaghat, West Bengal by intruders
at Convent of Jesus and Mary.[47] The six intruders were recorded on CCTV during their crime of
ransacking the chapel, destroying religious items, looting cash and the gang rape. Six men were arrested
and charged with the crime by 1 April 2015, and identified to be Bangladeshi Muslims.[48]
On 29 March 2016, the corpse of Delta Meghwal, a 17 year old Dalit girl, was found in her hostel's water
tank. Following the registration of the police case the hostel warden, physical education teacher and
principal were arrested by Bikaner police and kept under judicial custody. [49] The State eventually
acceded to a CBI inquiry after the issue became politicised.[50]
On 17 January 2018, Asifa, an 8-year old minor girl, was raped and murdered in Rasana village
near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. The incident made national news when charges were filed against
eight men in April 2018. The arrests of the accused led to protests from groups, one of which was
attended by two ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party, both of whom have now resigned. The rape
and murder, as well as the support the accused received, sparked widespread outrage. [51][52][53]
The Unnao rape case saw an allegation that lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar had raped a 17-year old
girl in 2017.[54][55] In 2018, the alleged victim's father was jailed under the Arms Act, and died in prison
after being allegedly beaten up by Sengar's brother and several others. [56] Also in 2018, a witness to the
alleged assault, Yunus, died and was immediately buried by his family with no autopsy and no
communication to police or investigators. Yunus' wife and family said Yunus had been ill and died a
natural death.[57] The uncle of the alleged victim was arrested and jailed in 2018 due to an 18 year old
gun-firing case.[58] In 2019, a truck with blackened license plates hit the car in which the alleged victim
and others were riding in. As a result, the victim's paternal and maternal aunts were killed. The alleged
victim and her lawyer were critically injured. The police officers assigned to provide security for the
alleged victim were not present, with the explanation that there was no space in the car in which the
alleged victim was travelling in.[56]
Jammu and Kashmir
There have been allegations of rape and mass rape in Jammu and Kashmir. Reports have shown that
rape has been carried out by both Indian armed forces and Islamist militant groups. [59][60]
The rapes by Islamic militants have been reported since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. On 22 October
1947, Pashtun militants invaded Baramulla in a Pakistan army truck, and raped women including
European nuns.[61] In March 1990, Mrs. M. N. Paul, the wife of a BSF inspector was kidnapped, tortured
and gang-raped for many days. Then her body with broken limbs was abandoned on a road. [62]
The International Commission of Jurists have stated that though the attacks had not been proven beyond
a doubt, there was credible evidence that it had happened.[63] In 2011, the State Human Rights
Commission (SHRC) asked for the reopening of the case.[64]
Militant organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat ul-Ansar have been
accused of carrying out rapes.[59] The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front has been accused of ethnic
cleansing of using murder, arson, and rape as a weapon of war to drive out hundreds of thousands of
Hindu Kashmiri Pandits from the region.[65][66] Following the rise of rapes by the Indian armed forces and
militants, HRW has submitted that the victims of raper suffer ostracism and there is a "code of silence and
fear" that prevents people from reporting such abuse. According to the HRW, the investigation of case of
rape by Indian forces and militants is difficult because many Kashmiris are reluctant to discuss it for the
fear of violent reprisals.[67]
Northeast India
Human rights groups allege that the Indian armed forces under the protection of the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act, 1958 have carried out a large amount of rapes in
the Nagaland, Assam and Manipur provinces.[68] Karlsson writes that there are reports that much of the
violence against civilians, including sexual assault, is inflicted by the rebel groups and armed criminal
gangs in the region.[68]
Uttar Pradesh
There is wide discrepancy among reports of rape and sexual assault. For example, according to
the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the majority of those assaulted in 2007 were poor women
from remote areas and Dalits. SR Darapuri of the PUCL alleged, "I analysed the rape figures for 2007 and
I found that 90% of victims were Dalits and 85% of Dalit rape victims were underage girls." [69] Darapuri
allegations do not match with the data compiled by National Crime Records Bureau of India, which found
6.7% of rape and sexual assault victims were Dalits in 2007, where nearly 16% of Indian population is
classified as Dalit.[70] There were 391 cases of rape of Dalit victims reported in Uttar Pradesh in 2013 or
about 1 per 100,000 Dalits in the state of about 200 million people (21% of which is classified as Dalit). [71]

During riots
In recent years, variety of rapes have taken place during the communal riots. During the post
2002 Godhra train burning, in the certain parts of Gujarat, rape was carried out by rioters. [72] Thirteen rape
and assault cases were reported during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.[4]

The partition of India

Main article: Rape during the partition of India

During the partition of India, some 100,000 women claimed to have been kidnapped and raped.[73][74]
Disputed rape cases
Potential abuse concerns
In April 2013, Judge Virender Bhat has suggested that the legal proposition of relying upon the sole
attestation of the victim became "an easy weapon" to incriminate anyone in rape case. [75] Justice Kailash
Ghambhir of the Delhi High Court stated that penal provisions for rape are often being misused by women
as a "weapon for vengeance and vendetta" to harass and blackmail their male friends by filing false cases
to extort money and to force them get married.[76] Saamna, mouthpiece of Shiv Sena in an editorial noted
while supporting the Deputy Inspector General Of Police in Mumbai in an alleged rape complaint that it
has become "a fashion to create sensation by charging someone for rape and molestation"[77] while
Shonee Kapoor, founder of Sahodar Men's Right Group, demanded that the name of the accused should
not be made public till conviction.[78]
In 2014, as per a report submitted by Delhi Commission for women 53% of reported rapes in 2012-13
were found to be 'false'. This report considered the cases that were dropped before going to trial as false,
and failed to differentiate between the cases dropped due to coercion and cases where it was clear that
women were lying.[79]
The Hindu journalist, Rukmini Shrinivasan, investigated the cases further by only considering the cases
that went to full trial. Out of 460 such cases in Delhi district courts in 2013 only 2% (12) were found to be
committed by strangers. 41% (189) of these cases were filed by parents to criminalize and end consented
sexual relationships, 24% (109) were filed under 'breach of promise to marry' and 30% (141) were found
to be committed by acquaintances and relatives.[38]
Notable cases
In 1991, the 4 Rajputana Rifles unit are alleged to have entered the village of Kunan Poshpora and raped
between 30 and 100 women aged between 13 and 70. [80][81] The Indian government carried out three
inquiries into the allegations and concluded that it had been a hoax. [82]
In May 2014 two girls aged 14 and 16 were allegedly gang raped and murdered in the northern state of
Uttar Pradesh, though later investigations have alleged suicide as the cause of death in this instance.
Two police officers were suspected of involvement in the crimes.[14] The alleged gang rape was widely
reported in the press both in India and globally.[83] After an extensive investigation, the CBI concluded that
the rape and murder allegations were false.

Tourist advisories
Rape cases against internationals have led several countries to issue travel advisories that "women
travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group; avoid
hailing taxis from streets or using public transport at night, and to respect local dress codes and customs
and avoid isolated areas".[84]
In March 2013, a Swiss couple who were cycling from Orchha to Agra, decided to camp for a night in a
village in Datia District. There they were physically assaulted by eight locals, robbed, the man was
overpowered and tied up, while the 39-year-old woman was gang-raped in front of her husband at the
village.[85][86] The Swiss government issued a travel advisory in 2013 about the "increasing numbers of
rapes and other sexual offences" happening in India.[87]
The news coverage of the rapes and updated travel advisories have worried Indian tourism
industry.[88][89] Some media reports stated that high-profile rape cases had led to tourist numbers to drop
20 to 30 per cent compared to previous year. The Assocham agency found that of 1200 businesses
surveyed more than 70% reported cancellations by female tourists from Britain, Canada, the U.S. and
Canada along with a 25% decline overall.[90] However, tourist arrivals in India increased from 6.5 million
arrivals in 2012 to 6.8 million arrivals in 2013.[91] Tourist arrivals in 2014 observed another 10% increase
over 2013 levels.[92]
In January 2015, the Tourism Ministry of India introduced emergency helplines for female tourists.[93] The
Indian government announced in April 2015, that tourists are now being given a "welcome card" by the
immigration officer on arrival with resources to ensure their safety, that GPS-embedded tracking system
are being introduced in all taxis, and tourist helplines in 12 foreign languages have been instituted.[94]
In a non-tourism related case, Russia issued travel advisory to its citizens after a Russian national was
raped in December 2009.[95] The case was widely covered after a member of Indian
parliament Shantaram Laxman Naik blamed the victim and the media for over emphasising the Russian
rape case after, "she was raped by a state politician in his car after they had dinner together". [96] Naik was
criticised by leaders of Indian political parties such as CPI-M, BJP and SP for blaming the rape victim and

Legal response
The Indian law prior to the Nirbhaya Incident took into account only acts of penile-vaginal intercourse
within the definition of rape and forcible acts of penetration of vagina, mouth, urethra or anus through
penis or an inanimate object did not fall within the definition of rape. Many rapists were not prosecuted
because there was no law to punish such acts.[23] The definition was expanded in 2013 to consider rape
as any acts like penetration by penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into
the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or making her to do so with another person or applying of
mouth to sexual organs without the consent or will of the woman constitutes the offence of rape.[97]
The section has also clarified that penetration means "penetration to any extent", and lack of physical
resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain aggravated situation the punishment
will be imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall
also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which
shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to
Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Indian law lays down certain provisions for medical
examination of the accused.[98] Section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the medical
examination of the victim.[99]
The revised statutes of 2013 Indian law, in section 376A, mandates minimum punishment in certain
cases. For instance, if the sexual assault inflicts an injury which causes death or causes the victim to be
in a persistent vegetative state, then the convicted rapist must be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment of
at least twenty years and up to the remainder of the natural life or with a death penalty." [97][24] In the case
of "gang rape", the same mandatory sentencing is now required by law. [24] The convicted is also required
to pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and
rehabilitation of the victim, and per Section 357 B in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Death penalty for
the most extreme rape cases is specified.[24]
The 2013 law also increased the age of consent from 16 years to 18 years, and any sexual activity with
anyone less than age of 18, irrespective of consent, now constitutes statutory rape. [24]
The new law has made it mandatory for all government and privately run hospitals in India to give free
first aid and medical treatment to victims of rape.[100]
As well, in May 2013, the Supreme Court of India held that the two-finger test on a rape victim violates
her right to privacy, and asked the Delhi government to provide better medical procedures to confirm
sexual assault.[101][102]
On 3 November 2015 the Allahabad High Court observed that a child born out of rape will have
inheritance rights over the property of the assaulter and will be treated as illegitimate, [103] however if the
child is taken for adoption then he/she will not have any rights on the property of the biological
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
The government on September 20, 2018 launched the National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO).
The database contains entries of offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, POCSO and eve
teasing. The portal as of now contains 440,000 entries of cases that have been reported since 2008. It's
managed by the National Crime Records Bureau. The database is accessible only to the law enforcement
agencies for investigation and monitoring purpose.[106]
Fast track courts
As a result of the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, the Indian government implemented a fast-track court
system to rapidly prosecute rape cases.[107] The fast-track court system has been welcomed by some, but
their fairness questioned by legal experts and scholars. [107] The legal scholars state that the fast-track
courts may not be fair in an impoverished country where millions of cases are backlogged, and there are
an average of just 14 judges per million people - among the lowest in a United Nations study of 65
nations.[108] Fast track courts divert limited judicial resources and add delays to prosecution of other
crimes.[107][108] They noted that Delhi state had instituted five fast-track courts in 2013 to handle rape
cases, but there are no fast-track courts for murder.[107] Mrinal Satish, of New Delhi's National Law
University said, "there is a risk that in this emotional response and clamor for immediate justice, we could
end up putting innocent people in prison". [107]
Marital rape
Marital rape is not a criminal offence within Indian legal framework,[109] except during the period of judicial
separation of the partners. The marital rape exception, that is exception 2 of section 375 of the Indian
Penal Code states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 18 years
of age, is not rape. In the 1980s, women's rights groups lobbied for marital rape to be declared
unlawful.[110][111] Government officials argued that the contract of marriage presupposes consent to sex
and that criminalising marital rape in turn would degrade family values in India.[109] Forced sex by
husbands upon wives does have legal consequences in Indian matrimonial law, in that it can be treated
as a matrimonial fault, resulting in dissolution of the marriage.[112] All religious personal laws and the
secular law governing marriage and divorce in India deem ‘cruelty’ by one spouse to the other to be a
ground for divorce.[112] The originally enacted Hindu marriage Act provided that in order to constitute a
cause for divorce, an act of cruelty should be such that it ‘produces a reasonable apprehension in the
mind of the petitioner that it will be harmful or injurious for the petitioner to live with the other
party.’[112] Marital rape also amounts to ‘sexual abuse’ under the law regarding domestic violence enacted
in 2005, under which aggrieved wives or female live-in partners can claim civil remedies, like injunction
against violence, dispossession from home or direction to the husband/partner to pay
maintenance.[112] The law kicks in to regulate sexual violence in marriage only in cases when it is
accompanied by extreme physical violence or when the health and safety of the wife is endangered, as in
the case of minor wives.[112]
This exception has restricted application when the wife has been living separately from the husband, with
or without a decree of judicial separation. In such cases, the husband can be prosecuted for rape. If
convicted, the minimum punishment is imprisonment for two years and imposition of a fine (Section 376B,
IPC).[112] This clause was ratified in the year 1983, a period of great upheaval in the history of rape law
reform in India, when major changes were made for the first time since enactment of rape laws by the
colonial state in 1860.[112] The parliamentary committee that gave final shape to the 1983 amendments
was disinclined to treating non-consensual sex between a separated couple as amounting to rape, on the
grounds that a rape charge would heighten the possibilities of divorce by making reconciliation that much
harder for the couple. Hence, the minimum sentence stipulated for this category of rape was set much
lower than usual.[112]
Until 2017, there was a discrepancy between two sub clauses of Section 375. Exception 2 stated that
“sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not
rape.”[113] However, the same provision stated that a man is said to commit rape if he has sexual relations
with a woman with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years of age.[114] Independent Thought, a
non-governmental organisation, in a petition in 2013, had challenged Exception 2.[114] In a landmark ruling
on 11 October 2017, the supreme court upheld the age of consent as 18 years. [115] The court held that the
distinction made between a married girl child and an unmarried girl child was illogical and ran against the
provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Such a distinction also violated a
child's right to liberty and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. Two other significant statutes
undermined by the original IPC section were the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and the Juvenile
Justice Act, both of which define a child as someone below the age of 18.[116] Irrespective of her marital
status, sex with a minor girl will now attract a minimum rigorous imprisonment of ten years.
Education programmes
In February 2017, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unveiled resource material relating to health
issues to be used as a part of a nationwide adolescent peer-education plan called Saathiya. Among other
subjects, the material discusses relationships and consent. The material states, "Yes, adolescents
frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It
is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such
relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such
feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner. ... Boys should
understand that when a girl says 'no' it means no."[117][118]

Statistics on rape in India and some well-known cases


(Reuters) - Indian police shot dead four men on Friday who were suspected of raping and killing a
27-year-old veterinarian in the city of Hyderabad, a police official told Reuters, drawing applause
from her family and citizens outraged over crimes against women.

A poster is seen at a candle-lit march by the resident doctors and medical students from All India Institute Of
Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 27-year-old woman on the outskirts of
Hyderabad, in New Delhi, India, December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

More than 32,500 cases of rape were registered with the police in 2017, about 90 a day, according
to the most recent government data.

Indian courts disposed of only about 18,300 cases related to rape that year, leaving more than
127,800 cases pending at the end of 2017.

(Graphic: Rape cases in India - here)

Instances of brutal rape and violence against the women who report it have given India the dismal
reputation of being one of the worst places in the world to be female. Here are some cases:
Nov. 1973: Aruna Shanbaug, a 26-year-old nurse, is attacked by a ward attendant at a Mumbai
hospital during her night shift. Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki, who was later convicted and jailed,
sodomized and strangled her with a dog chain - cutting off the oxygen supply to her brain and
leaving her in a coma.

Left in a vegetative state for more than 40 years, Shanbaug died in 2015.

1990: Hetal Parekh, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, is raped and murdered by Dhananjoy Chatterjee in
Kolkata. Chatterjee is sentenced to death and hung in 2004, the first hanging in India in 13 years.

1995: A Jaipur court acquits five men accused of gang-raping Bhanwari Devi, a lower-caste
woman who worked with the Women’s Development Project in Rajasthan, in 1992.


Later, a petition is filed in the Supreme Court, which leads to the Vishaka Guidelines being put
into place, to protect women against sexual harassment at the workplace.

1996: Law student Priyadarshini Mattoo is found raped and strangled in her Delhi flat. Santosh
Kumar Singh, a fellow law student and son of a former senior police officer, is sentenced to death,
after being initially acquitted due to a lack of evidence and then retried following a public outcry.

Dec. 2012: A 23-year-old student is beaten and gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital New
Delhi and later dies of her injuries. Five men and a juvenile are arrested - four of the men have
been sentenced to death and one hanged himself during the trial. The juvenile was freed after
completing three years in a reform home.

The crime sparked large-scale protests and led thousands of women across India to break their
silence over sexual violence that often goes unreported. Authorities stiffened penalties against sex
crimes, introduced fast-track trials in rape cases and made stalking a crime.

Jan. 2018: An 8-year-old Muslim girl is drugged, held captive in a temple and sexually assaulted
for a week before being strangled and battered to death with a stone in Kathua town in northern

Six men, including a Hindu priest and three police officers, were convicted of the crime. Three
were given life sentences.

Jul. 2018: Eighteen men are charged in Chennai with repeatedly raping a 12-year-old girl over a
seven-month period, sedating her with drugs and then taking her to vacant apartments in the block
to assault her.

Oct. 2018: Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal is arrested in Kerala after a nun accuses him of
raping her repeatedly over two years. He has denied the charges.
July 2019: A young woman who accused Uttar Pradesh state lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar of
raping her in 2017 and her lawyer are critically injured in a highway collision, when a truck hit the
car in which they were traveling. The woman’s two aunts, who were also in the car, were killed.

Sengar denies the rape and any involvement in the car crash.

Press Information Bureau

Government of India
Ministry of Women and Child Development
08 FEB 2018 6:21PM by PIB Delhi
1,04,976 cases registered under PoCSO Act during the year 2014-16

As per National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 34,449, 34,505 and 36,022 cases are registered under Protection of
Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, related with other section of IPC during 2014, 2015 and 2016
respectively. The details are given below:

2014 2015 2016

344 283 227 417 366 26 345 301 380 410 376 45 360 308 322 421 378 38
49 93 5 32 53 86 05 13 9 90 83 67 22 91 6 96 72 59

Cases Registered (CR),Cases ChargeSheeted (CCS),Cases pending investigation at the end of the year
(CPIEY),Cases Convicted (CON),Cases Pending Trial at the end of the year (CPTEY),Persons Arrested
(PAR),Persons Chargesheeted (PCS),Persons Convicted (PCV)

As informed by Ministry of Human Resource Development, no such cases of corporal punishment in schools
resulting in serious and grievous injuries which caused mental trauma resulting in suicides and those of sexual abuse
by family members, in schools and other places incidents were reported.

The POCSO Act, contains effective provisions to curb the menace of child abuse. The Act provides mandatory
reporting, child friendly provisions of recording of statement and evidence and speedy trial of the cases. There are
adequate penal provisions under POCSO Act, 2012 for the sexual offences against the children, as per the gravity of

This information was given by Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr. Virendra Kumar in reply
to a question in Rajya Sabha today.
33,000 cases registered under POCSO in 2017: WCD Press Trust of India, New Delhi, JUL 26 2018,
19:04PM IST UPDATED: SEP 21 2018, 17:22PM IST A total of 33,000 cases of sexual assault of
children were registered under the Prevention of Children f...
Quoting the National Crime Records Bureau, Minister of State of the Women and Child Development
Ministry Virendra Kumar said, "While 33,000 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from
Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2017, about 36,022 cases registered in 2016." In 2017, Uttar Pradesh
registered 6,782 cases of sexual abuse of children, Maharashtra recorded 4,354 and Madhya Pradesh
4,118, Kumar said. In 2016, 3,659 people were convicted under the POCSO Act with 792 convicti...

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/33000-cases-sexual-assault-683740.html

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/33000-cases-sexual-assault-683740.html

A Closer Look at Statistics on Sexual Violence in India

Taking into account that crime statistics, especially those on sexual violence, tend to suffer from under-
reporting, here is a look at the data on sexual violence in India.

Credit: PTI

Sujan Bandyopadhyay




Recent incidents of rape have stirred the conscience of the nation. Even as India reels from the shock of the
cases in Kathua (Jammu and Kashmir) and Unnao (Uttar Pradesh), there are more such incidents being reported
almost on an everyday basis, such as the ones in Surat (Gujarat) and Nadia (West Bengal).

These barbaric incidents at various parts of the country have once again put the spotlight on India’s poor track
record in protecting its women, almost five years after the brutal Nirbhaya case, in which a young medical intern
was gang-raped and tortured in a moving bus in South Delhi.

This case had led to changes in India’s legal system, including the passing of stricter sexual assault laws, and
the creation of fast-track courts for prosecution of rapes. Recent cases have also led to legislative changes. At
least four states – Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, and Arunachal Pradesh – have introduced the death
penalty for rapes of minors, defined as below 12 years of age. According to news reports, the Centre is also
contemplating amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to introduce the
provision of the death penalty for raping minors aged below 12 years.

Understanding the issues concerning violence and crimes against women are critical to generating sustainable
solutions to the problem. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a government of India agency, collects
statistics and information on crimes. These crime statistics, especially those on sexual violence, tend to suffer
from under-reporting. In fact, some studies have found that reported crime rates and actual crime rate could
have a negative correlation, due to other issues like education, legal infrastructure etc.

Keeping this in mind, we take a closer look at the data.

Rape accounts for about 12% of all crimes against women. The distribution of reported cases (shown below) is
quite uneven across the nation.
Heat map of reported cases of rape (per 100,000 of the population) in India (2016). Source: NCRB

India’s average rate of reported rape cases is about 6.3 per 100,000 of the population. However, this masks vast
geographical differences with places like Sikkim and Delhi having rates of 30.3 and 22.5, respectively, while
Tamil Nadu has a rate of less than one. Of course, one must be careful in interpreting these state -wise
differences as these are ‘reported’ cases and could suffer from under-reporting.
Even India’s average rate of 6.3, which is not very high when compared with the rest of the world, suffers from
under-reporting. According to a recent report by the Livemint, about 99% of cases of sexual violence go
unreported. If true, this would put India among the nations with highest levels of crimes against women.

Region-wise break up of reported cases of rape over 2001-2015. Source: NCRB

India’s cases of reported rape have seen a massive jump in the last few years, mainly owing to the outrage and
awareness created out of the unfortunate Nirbhaya case. Reported cases jumped by a massive 26% in 2013, the
highest in the last 15 years, mainly driven by an increase of reports in the states of Northern India, like
Rajasthan, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. The trend is also mirrored for all crimes against women, and not just rape,
which also saw an increase of 26% in 2016.

What could possibly account for these differential rates? Looking at state -wise differences in legal institutions,
economic indicators, and social indicators could provide possible answers.

Legal institutions

Good proxies for the state of the legal system are the conviction rates for crimes against women, and the amount
of time taken to investigate cases.
Heat map of conviction rates for crimes against women in India (2016). Source: NCRB

While the conviction rate for all crimes against women stands at a measly 19% across India (compared with an
average conviction rate of 47% for all crimes), again, there are wide differences across different states.
Northeastern states, quite notably, have relatively high conviction rates ranging from 25% to 70% (with the
exception of Assam). On the other hand, states like West Bengal, Gujarat, and Karnataka have rates of less than
5%. Data on conviction rates for rapes as well follow the same trend, with an all India rate of about 25% in
Scatter plot of conviction rate and reported cases of rapes per 100,000 of the population (2016). Source: NCRB

While it is difficult to generalise results for the entirety of India, a scatter plot of conviction rates and reported
cases of rapes per 100,000 of the population indicates a slight positive correlation, alluding to the fact that better
chances of conviction encourage the reporting of this crime. Of course, higher conviction rates should also act
as a strong deterrent against committing crimes, and this could be a reason why the correlation is not very

A troubling observation is that while cases being reported have increased over the last five to six years,
conviction rates, unfortunately, have remained stagnant to slightly falli ng. It is important to note that conviction
rates refer to only cases which have completed court proceedings in the current year. They do not include cases
that carry forward, which incidentally are a large number. At the beginning of 2016, over 118,537 ca ses of rape
were pending at the courts. At the end of the year, the pending cases went up to 133,813, an increase of 12.5%.
For crimes against women overall, pending cases increased from 1,081,756 to 1,204,786. Of course, this is a
consequence of the larger inefficiency in the judicial system which had pending cases increase from
9,012,476 to 9,703,482, a truly staggering number.
Comparison between Conviction Rates and Rape Cases Reported (2010-15). Source: NCRB

What’s more, it is not just slow court proceedings that are an issue. Over 16,500 cases, or just under a third of
reported rape cases in 2016 were pending investigation by the police at the end of that year. For all crimes
against women, the number stood at 164,181, or exactly a third of the cases. The highest number of cases
pending police investigation as a percentage of all cases was the highest in Manipur at 84% and Delhi at 62%,
and lowest in Rajasthan at seven and Haryana at 15%.

Economic indicators

There are wide-varying differences in GDP per capita in Indian states, with Goa, the richest, having a GDP per
capita of Rs 260,000, over ten times that of Bihar, the poorest, of only Rs 24,572.

The scatter plot of GDP per capita and reported rapes per 100,000 of the population has a positive correl ation,
indicating that higher levels of income and associated benefits have a positive impact on reporting of rapes.
Again, one must keep in mind that there may be two effects at play here – firstly, higher income may encourage
women who have faced this crime to report it more openly, but at the same time it may also act as a deterrent
against the violent sexual behavior.
Comparison of State GDP per capital (2014-15) and reported cases rapes per 100,000 of the population (2016).
Source: Reserve Bank of India, NCRB

Similarly, the correlation between the poverty rate of a state and reported cases of rapes per 100,000 of the
population is negative, indicating that states with lower poverty rates tend to have a higher reporting of rapes
per 100,000 of the population.

Social indicators

Sex ratio, or the proportion of females per 1,000 males, is an important indicator for the position of women in
society. Due to the legacy of female infanticide, several states in India have very low sex ratios.
Comparison of Sex Ratio (2011 census) and reported cases rapes per 100,000 of the population (2016). Source:
Reserve Bank of India, NCRB

Here, we observe a clear negative correlation between sex ratio and reported cases of rape. It seems likely that
state with higher sex ratios have lower reported cases because the actual number of cases is lower.

Unlike the relationship with sex ratio, there exists a positive correlation between the female literacy rate of a
state and reported cases of rapes per 100,000, indicative that women are more likely to report crimes with higher
levels of education.

Concluding Remarks

Interestingly, better levels of social indicators, economic indicators, and legal institutions tend to be correlated
with higher levels of reported crimes for most indicators; indicative of the underreporting of sexual violence
crimes in India. While stricter laws are a welcome step in dealing with the problem, they are not enough. As
observed, stricter laws in the aftermath of the 2012 Nirbhaya case have led to high er levels of reporting but not
necessarily to higher conviction rates or quicker investigations. Thus, what is required is an overhaul of the
current legal infrastructure in place to deal with these cases in a quicker and more efficient manner, along with
other remedies of social welfare, economic growth, awareness programmes, sex education etc.

Haryana, a state known for its dismal sex ratio, has recently reported that its ratio has improved to 914 girls to
1,000 boys. Not long ago, it used to have one of the worst indicators in the country with a ratio of only 879 to
1,000 boys in 2011. While it still has a long way to go to ensure gender parity, the state has achieved progress
through of a combination strong laws, their strict enforcement, and innovative awareness campaigns like ‘Beti
Padhao, Beti Bachao’. It’s time to implement a similar holistic approach to deal with sexual violence across

Sujan Bandyopadhyay currently works for CAFRAL, Reserve Bank of India and holds an MSc in Economics
from LSE.