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Decoding India’s Rape Law Back

The Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act have provisions against rape and sexual assault. With the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, the definition of rape and sexual assault has been expanded and punishments made stricter. Here, we explain the salient features of this amendment in a simple manner.

What is rape?
According to the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, rape takes place when:

  • A man penetrates a woman’s vagina, mouth, urethra or anus without her consent, with his penis or with an object.
  • A man forcibly applies his mouth to the vagina, urethra or anus of woman.
  • A man forcibly manipulates a woman’s body in order to cause penetration.
  • Two individuals below the age of 18 engage in sexual activity, even if it is consensual.

What is consent?
Consent, in this context, is a woman’s willingness to have sexual intercourse. It can be expressed through words, gestures or non-verbal communication. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act specifically states that if a woman does not physically resist forced sexual activity, it does not mean that she has given her consent.

Under this law, a woman’s consent is not taken if she is told that she or anyone she knows will be hurt or killed; if she is drugged or incapable of giving consent; if she is physically or mentally disabled; or if she is led to believe that her assailant is her husband.

What’s different about the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013?

Under this law:

  • Trafficking, acid attacks, sexual harassment, disrobing, voyeurism and stalking have been recognized.
  • If a public servant does not perform his/her duty or does not adequately investigate a case, he/she can be fined and imprisoned for 6 months to 2 years.
  • If a survivor of sexual assault is treated in an unlawful manner at a public or private hospital, the director of that hospital can be fined and imprisoned up to 1 year.
  • Rape trials must be completed within 2 months of filing charges.

What is the punishment for rape?

  • The minimum punishment for rape is 7 years, but it can extend up to life imprisonment.
  • The punishment for a repeat offence of rape or rape that leads to a vegetative state or death is 20 years, which may extend to life imprisonment or death.
  • If a rape is committed by a gang, the punishment is no less than 20 years for each member of the gang, and he must also give compensation to the survivor.
  • If a non-military public servant commits rape, he can be imprisoned for life, and fined.


Disclaimer:In case you are a victim/survivor or know a person who has been raped, or has been/being physical abused and/or been/being sexually assaulted, Star India Private Limited and Aamir Khan Productions Private Limited hereby advise and direct that in such case the victim should (if not done already) speak and discuss or confide in a trusted family member(s), visit the nearby hospital equipped to deal with such crimes and also lodge necessary complaint with the local police station. Your use of the website shall be subject to the terms and conditions of this website, the user generated content and the privacy policy, as available on this website

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