Development of Rape Laws over the Years


India is a patriarchal country.  From the initial time, Indian societies are influenced by a patriarchal system. This system gave a negative effect on women’s life. In the present time rape recognizes as a crime but if you look back in history rape was not recognized as a crime against the state, at that time the family of the victim just got compensated by the rapist. Then some people come with the thought that marrying the girl(victim) to the man who raped her, is a punishment for rape.

No one asked or think about whether the girl she wants to marry that man or not. How can a girl marry a person who raped her and destroyed her reputation, giving her mental, physical, and emotional trauma? When a woman gets raped in India nobody question the rapist instead start putting the question on her dressing sense, on her behavior, if she talks to boys and comes late from office or college then she is characterless in their eyes and they justify the crime happened with her and the rapist.

In the present time, we have strict laws against sexual offenses against women but are they helping in their true sense the answer is no because having laws is not enough their use and implementation are important but the sad part of Indian societies is that the Indian families don’t support their women.

If something happened to a girl she won’t tell her parents because they never had that frank relationship and at the same time she knows that if she talk to her parents about the misbehavior, her parents won’t allow her to go outside and prevent her to go school, college, office. The fear of restriction and prevention from studies made the girls remain silent, which encourage the criminals.  Not only the rape is a problem but there are many crimes against women if she rejected his proposal then throwing acid is the best way to take revenge, if she is not ready to get physical to him record her private pictures and video to blackmail her, staking her, call her unnecessarily, threatening her and many more. If he is her husband then it is justified that he is asking for her consent or not, her physical condition allowing her or not to have intercourse with him.

Similarly, a girl child abused by her relatives and near once, but parents fear taking steps because they feel it will damage their reputation and let the criminal free. It is horrible to see that small girl child get raped,  one month child, a six-month child, and old ladies are also not safe. Who will take responsibility or are going to continue to go for candle march after each rape? why can’t we stop it before the crime happens


Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 defines rape as a crime. Any sexual intercourse against her will or without her consent.  And this definition of rape remains the same for 100 years. Then a case got registered named as Mathura custodial rape case and in this case, the Apex court of the country released the culprits just because there was no mark on victim’s body, which means it was with her consent.

In the reality, she was at gunpoint by the police officers, and then they commit raped her. This judgment was highly criticized and then some changes took place in Indian laws and section 114 was added To the Indian evidence act which stated that In considering the normal course of natural events, human conduct, and public and private business in connection to the circumstances of the individual case, the Court may infer the presence of any fact it believes is likely to have occurred. And also makes releasing the name and identity of the victim punishable under section 228A of IPC.

Adding section 155(4) made a woman relieved from character assassination by the defense lawyers. In-State of Haryana AIR 2013 SC 1784: the Supreme Court said that the two-finger test and its interpretation violates the right to privacy of the rape victim and bodily and mental integrity and dignity and hence even if the report is affirmative, cannot ipso facto, be given rise to the presumption. Inhumane behavior shown by doctors in many cases, they used to ask the victim to undress for the test in public and perform a two-finger test by inserting his two-finger into her vagina to measure to what extent the pines were inserted.


The national crime bureau noted a significant increase in child abuse cases from 2001 to 2011. Prior to this, the legislation governing sexual offenses against children was the statutory rape clause, which made sexual intercourse with a kid under the age of 16 illegal regardless of permission. Because the offender in most cases of child abuse is someone close to the kid, the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) Act of 2012 was enacted. The police were in charge of the kid victim’s care during the trial in these circumstances. This legislation was gender-neutral, and it acknowledged various types of penetration in addition to peno-vaginal penetration. This Act encompassed everything from child pornography to child abuse to kid sexual harassment.


After the Nirbhaya gang rape case2013, the amendments took place. A girl was raped and murdered by the rapists in the running bus and thrown on the road. But nobody helped them as a part of society we should help each other but in this case, it was alleged by the victim’s friend that everyone was leaving after seeing them in the nude condition no one tried to cover them even the police officer didn’t take a step to save them. After the matter come to the news people protested against it and some laws were amended but the justice got delay a lot which is equivalent to justice denied.

After section 354 of the Penal Code, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:- Insertion of new

Section 354A talks about sexual harassment  and its punishment

  • Asked for sexual favors
  • Against her will showing her porn
  • By gestures making sexual remarks

section 354B, stated that Assault and use of criminal force with the intention to disrobe the women

section 354C Voyeurism means when a man sees or capture the picture of a woman’s private movements.

section 354D Stalking if a man who follows a woman and tries to make contact with her repeatedly is committing the offense of stalking.

Section 376A. Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative.

Section376AB. Defines punishment for rape on a woman under 12 years of age

Section376B. Sexual intercourse by husband upon his wife during separation

Section 376C. Sexual intercourse by a person in authority

Section 376D  talks about Gang rape


Rape laws in India have gone a long way since they were first codified in the Indian Penal Code in the 1860s. Many of the legal improvements have been progressive, but certain changes that have been long overdue, such as criminalizing marital rape, still need to be implemented. Despite their best intentions, certain laws, such as the POCSO, have unintended consequences. When you look at the growth of rape laws in India, you’ll find a pattern: there’s a high-profile rape case that shocks the nation, and the government responds by making amendments to the existing rules to lessen public indignation. However, for every rape that is recorded and made public, thousands of other cases are never given the same level of attention. It’s time to take a proactive approach to combat this scourge. Let us not wait for the next big case to alter our laws; let us do it now, while we still have the opportunity.

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(MARCH – APRIL 2022)



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