Suggestions in Law for the Punishment for Rape to J. S. Verma Committee: The Human Rescue Team & Research Repertory

Suggestions in Law for the Punishment for Rape

(In suggestion to the Justice J. S. Verma Committee “On amendments to criminal laws relating to safety & security of women’’ by “The Human Rescue Team & Research Repertory”, a knowledge network of individuals from institutes & common citizens purposed for human rescue)

Highlights of the draft:

· Punishment for the rape should be structured i.e. categorized and graded with severity of the injury to the victim & additional factors

· The prioritization of the cases for speedy justice

· Revenues related to Rehabilitation of rape victim, legal assistance and all expenses arising in Judicial probe to be bear by State machinery

· Each rape case should be reviewed by the panel of psychologists

· Rapes by close relatives sought special consideration*

· Reinvestigation and examination should be in provision

· Surgical  castration or sterlization  should be considered as an option as the part of punishment for repeated offenders only

· All custodial rapes should be investigated by specialized agency & reviewed by additional authorities

· There should be provision for registration of FIR with multiple authorities and through various means. Female officers should be in charge for registration of cases in each block

· The rarest of the rare cases to be reviewed by additional authorities for the possible error of the judgment or lapses in investigation

· Sexual assaults to the male & marital rapes should be defined

Punishment for the rape should be structured, i.e. the act should be categorized (as usual, rare or rarest of the rare) & punishment to it should be graded (a standard punishment should be fixed to each category that should regress with additional factors that may be related to either the victim or the accused).

Gradation of the Punishmentmay help to limit severity of the cases; as any additional injury caused to the victim may attract more stringent punishment to the accused. In reverse of it abrupt terminal punishments although may act as deterrent but once incidence has been committed, accused may try to kill the victim to escape identification, so severity of the cases will increase & it will an undue risk to the possible victim caused by inherent fault in law. A graded punishment will be justified to the accused also as it will care for the chances of reformation in the accused. The categorization of the cases and grading each as per severity will also help to prioritize the cases for hearing. It will result in speedy justice

The prioritization of the cases for hearing should be done as per category and severity: The hearing of the cases should be prioritized by the courts as per category and severity of the injury to the victim and appealed cases should be screened for the same. A citizen charter should be in practice by the courts to fast track the cases and same is reviewed by the judicial authorities for timely progress of the legal proceedings in the case. There should be a tracking system to follow the case and appellant should be allowed to view and repeal for the same.

Categorization for the rape cases (Usual, rare, rarest of the rare)

Sub categorization for the rare cases

Rape with life threatening injuries to the victim

Gang rapes

Rape to the minor

Custodial Rape

Rape used as a social treatment for torture or insult

Sub categorization for the rarest of the rare cases in the rape:

Victim was a child & killed or died due to associated injuries

-Victim was a grand lady & killed or died due to associated injuries

-Rape with murder

-Gang rape with life threatening physical injuries to the victim

-Custodial rape with life threatening injuries to the victim

-Rape used as a social treatment for torture or insult & associated with life threatening injuries

Special cases: Rape by close relatives*

Grading the each category as per severity of the injury & other factors:

1. Additional factors related to the victim: physical injuries associated with rape, Age of the victim, health. etc

2. Additional factors related to the accused: Age of the accused, Education & health. Etc

(All possible factors should be identified by a team of experts and inclusion or exclusion of these should be provisioned in the law)

Revenues related to Rehabilitation of rape victim, legal assistance and all expenses arising in Judicial probe must be bear by State machinery so that it will act as check and balance to the governments , which will be enforced to maintain the implementation of law& order in the state to escape additional responsibilities. Law implementing authorities should be under supervision of higher authorities to check the performance related to delivery of the cases and awarded or punished accordingly. Rehabilitation of the victim should a must to accomplish responsibility and reviewed by the same for special authorities.

Reinvestigation and examination should be in provision & request for it by the appellant should be considered by the hearing court. There should be a proper system in place to resolve the same.

The punishments awarded undercategory of rarest of the rare cases should be must reviewed by additional authorities for the possible error of the judgment or lapses in investigation even if the case is not appealed to the higher courts for review.

Each rape case should be reviewed by the panel of psychologists and their view should be respected in determining culpabilityof the accused in the case and punishments awarded for it. Intention of the rape should be reviewed by such panel and valued while structuring the punishment. No chance of reformation of the accused should be neglected and the panel should be asked for review in case of terminal punishments. Juveniles as convicted should be paid special attention for the same.

Special cases* (rape by close relatives) should be dealt in the same way as usual cases but reformation of the accused should be in priority as these persons may not be criminal by the nature & the incident might be born of psychological conflict , view of psychologists should be sought in such cases. The punishment to the accused should be reviewed yearly; the severity & duration of the punishment can be considered to decrease if the accused is showing satisfactory behavior during imprisonment & the victim is willing so, in the case it was an usual rape without significant additional injuries to the victim.

Surgical Castration or Sterilization should be considered as an option as the part of punishment for repeated offenders only but it shouldn’t replace the main course of punishment (Chemical Castration shouldn’t be applied due to known adverse effects of the drugs used for it)

All custodial rapes should be investigated by specialized agency formed for the purpose only and should be reviewed by additional authorities. A bias in investigation & judgment should be in precaution while constructing such teams which could favor the accused or responsible authorities to keep the incident in check.

The courts should take care that either victim or the accused shouldn’t keep without legal representation in any case, in case of announced incapability for the same by the victim/appellant or accused, court should instruct to the authorities to accomplish the same

There should be provision for registration of FIR with multiple authorities and through various means; the human right commissions or women commissions or offices of higher authorities or special centers purposed for the same could be directed for registration of the complaints and these centers could instruct the related police stations for necessary further proceedings. In each village or city block there should be at least one centre where female officials should in charge for registration of such cases. In each district head quarter at least one or more police stations should be which have female police officers only. At least a preliminary investigation in each case should be mandatory and appellant should be informed accordingly. In case the complaint is not registered, the authorities should be fixed for review of the same, where the complainant can report against responsible authorities for alleged negligence, such authorities should check merit of the complaint and should be in capacity to register it itself and instruct concerned police station for necessary investigation.

The information on investigation or judicial processes should be made available to the victim as well the accused under RTI act but categorization of the information should be made and in some cases permission of the hearing court may be necessary for the release of information and may be information may be denied if court considers that the asked information will affect the process of investigation or judgment. The appellant should be allowed to seek a review for the same

The sexual assaults to the male & marital rapes should be defined and provisions for prosecution should be introduced accordingly


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