The Supreme CourtSupreme Court on Monday dismissed pleas filed by three out of the four convicts seeking review of its verdict upholding the death penalty awarded to them in the sensational December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case. Let us read what sentence the law lays down for rape.
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. A large number of rapists would be let-off because there was no law to punish such acts.
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. The section has also clarified that penetration means "penetration to any extent", and lack of physical resistence 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. The revised statutes of 2013 Indian law, in section 376A 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. In April this year, It allows capital punishment for anyone convicted of raping children under the age of 12.
The executive order also increased the minimum punishment for female rape from seven years in prison to 10 years, extendable up to life imprisonment, and introduced measures to speed up court proceedings in rape cases. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) considers the forced sex in marriages as a crime only when the wife is below age 15. Thus, marital rape is not a criminal offense under the IPC. Marital rape victims have to take recourse to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA)