The Ordinance passed on child rapists today aims at protecting girl child by laying down ‘new laws’ with deterrent punishments such as: ‘in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, minimum punishment has been increased from 10 years to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which shall mean imprisonment till that person’s natural life. In case of rape of a girl under 12 years, the minimum punishment is that of 20 years imprisonment, which can be increased to imprisonment for life or the death penalty.’
Some may claim, commemorate and celebrate that a new and a huge step has been taken for safety of our daughters, sisters, and mothers etc., but the ugly truth is, this new law is a barren, vain and above all a close imitation of an existing collapsing measure taken in alacrity and is far from the reality. This ‘new law’ on child rape may not instill fear or trepidation amongst rapists; they are prone to commit such heinous crimes without any hesitation whatsoever and statistics have proven it in the contemporary past.
As we all recall the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill 2018, passed in the Rajasthan Assembly by a voice vote to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860 it principally aimed in protecting girl child by laying down deterrent punishments and included death sentence, to offenders of child rape of girls below 12, however, a mere perusal of the National Crime Record Bureau 2016 report will confirm that the number of crimes registered against children has progressively ascended in the State of Rajasthan and it ranks 4th in crime against children and women category. In 2015, the State had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, whereas it is alarming and distressing to note that the State of Rajasthan recorded 4,034 such cases in the year 2016. Thus statistics prove that crimes against children have significantly increased by 345 in a year under review which is an increase of 3.8% of crimes against children and the State of Rajasthan. The State police registered about 728 cases of child rape in the year 2015, which was increased to 858 in 2016 with the so-called implementation of a ‘stringent law’ that was extolled, eulogized and hailed.
At this instance, the proposed law on the rape of a 12-year-old being dominant over the rape of a 16-year-old is ambiguous, dubious, illogical and spacious and principally lacks coherency. There is no harmony between its illogical aim in protecting children and the pitiable blemished enactment which is self-contradictory with significant variance of its own professed principles. It is extraordinarily apparent that this flawed law is drafted and passed in a spur-of-the-moment as a result of which this flawed law will continue to remain discrepant, incompatible and incongruous especially from the point of view of truth, reasoning and logic.
Children are usually referred to as minors in the eyes of law, there seems to be a sudden rather futile sub-division within minors themselves. Would this sub-division and the dominance of the so-called stringent rape laws justify itself merely because the average age of a girl attaining puberty was taken into consideration? If that be the case, this flawed law clearly creates a selective and hostile discrimination, which is a violation of Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, amongst minors in case of rape.
This flawed law also fails to deal with two major aspects namely: the trauma of the child, recording of the statements of the child victims under the Criminal Procedure Code and also remains inconclusive as to whether the new law takes prospective effect or a retrospective effect. Sexual assault on children should be made a specific offense under the Indian Penal Code in addition to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 with stringent punishment like death penalty regardless of how old the child is maybe because Rape is Rape, and age is just a number!
This is a flawed law that is passed must not be celebrated! Child rape is an epidemic in India; it needs more attention than what it has ever received. Individually and collectively the Pillars of the Constitution, i.e., the Legislatures, the Executive and the Judiciary has failed us from protecting girl child, young and old women – our daughter, sisters, mothers etc., we cannot afford to lose any further. Periodic gruesome and grisly child rape cannot be classified as crimes anymore – this is civil unrest, it is a war between the diminutive young and the old, it is a battlefield and as our venerated and honored Indian Army has protected our nation as a whole since time immemorial in times of war, it is now time for them to protect our daughters, sisters and mothers etc., and eradicate the disgraceful, evil, epidemic parasites from this society and secure peace. The intervention of our ever vigilant, forthright steadfast soldiers and provide the women of India a safe and secure environment from these attacks, we know even if we are in the last line of defense, they will not fail us.
About the Author
Maffei Devadoss is a bright, talented and ambitious lawyer with 5 years of legal experience in the United Kingdom and India. Has a proven record of providing effective advice to clients delivering positive outcomes.
Maffei did both Bachelors and Masters Degree in Law from the City Law School, London. She did internships with two of the most prestigious law firms in London (UK) and the High Court Legal Aid Services Committee in India. Maffei has also participated in a number of conferences pertaining to the legal domain such as :
• National Leadership Conference, Chennai, India
• Regional Conference at National Green Tribunal, Chennai, India.
• Madras High Court Heritage Conference, Chennai, India.
• Merchant Shipping Conclave, Chennai, India.
• Legal Literacy Camp, Chennai, India
Maffei has also authored a number of publications on various topics relevant to the legal domain.
Maffei specializes in Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, Family Law (NRI Marriages), Land Law and Corporate Law. Maffei is also an accomplished mediator in resolving disputes between clients.