Nirbhaya Act
Nirbhaya Act

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 popularly was enacted, following the brutal rape and murder of a 23-year-old Delhi student on December 16, 2012. Her identity was kept secret and she came to be called Nirbhaya for whose justice, the nation witnessed an unprecedented uproar, paving for the tabling of the new anti-rape law, which is called the Nirbhaya Act. 

The Act which came into force on April 3, 2013, has stringent punishments to deal with sex crimes against women. The new law expanded the definition of rape including forced penetration, oral, vaginal or anal, with any foreign object. This new Act has expressly recognised certain acts as offences which were dealt under related laws. 

Stalking and voyeurism are liable to be punished with seven years of imprisonment. It recognised certain acts as offences which were hitherto dealt separately under IPC. These are acid attack (Sec 326A), attempt to acid attack (Sec 326B), sexual harassment (Sec 354A), act with intention to disrobe a woman (Sec 354B), voyeurism (Sec 354C), and stalking (Sec 354D).

According to, following the enactment of the law in 2013, a number of complaints of sexual harassments poured in. Under the new laws, police and other public servants can be booked if they fail to take action following complaints from women. 

This amendment was introduced as many victims protested that police would not act on their complaints if the assaulter was an influential person. The new offences also include hospitals refusing to treat sexual assault victims, a person in authority sexually abusing a woman, unwanted sexual advances, sexually coloured remarks, acid attack and attempt at acid attack.

The law prescribes life imprisonment as the maximum sentences for rape. But, the law calls for death penalty for repeat offenders and those whose victims are left in a "vegetative state." Even insulting modesty of a women, by uttering any word or gesture shall be punished with jail up to three years.

The government is at present said to be drafting a bill to award death sentence for the rape of a minor below the age of 12 years. It wants to amend the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the purpose.