Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Rights Of Rape Victims In India

 Rape cases are getting worse and worse these days. In statistic research, we found India is the 3rd topmost country in committing rape after USA and Brazil. According to the National Crime Bureau’s Annual report, in 2018 around 94000 rape cases were filed in India, which means in every 15 minutes one rape has been committed in India. The conviction rate is 27%, and 54% of cases are still unrecorded.


Don’t know how many girls are raped and they don’t even tell anyone about it for fear of slander. Sometimes, rapists also blackmail the victims and because of this fear, they don’t tell all this to anyone. And sometimes girls come under family pressure and suppress the matter because of the fear of slander. Can you imagine where our country is moving to? From raping an 8 months old girl to raping 84 years old woman, crimes are getting worse these days. But our Indian Laws have given some rights to rape victims as well. This article clearly explains the rights of every rape victim.


Six important rights of rape victims:

Right to Zero FIR

It means that a person can file an FIR in any police station, irrespective of the place of incident of the Jurisdiction. The same FIR later shall be transferred to the police station, having jurisdiction for the investigation to begin. Suppose, if a girl got raped by someone in Haryana and she didn’t tell anyone about that incident and came to Mumbai. Now if she wants to file an FIR against that rapist, she can directly go to any police station in Mumbai and can file FIR against that person. The same FIR shall be transferred by the Mumbai police to Haryana Police. This is known as Zero FIR. The concept of Zero FIR has come into force after Nirbhaya Case. Committee of Justice Verma has introduced the concept of Zero FIR in their report findings. The Ministry of Home Affairs had also introduced Advisory Circular dated 10-05-2013 of Home Affairs for Zero FIR[1].


Rape victims have been conferred numerous rights after Nirbhaya gang rape to ensure their dignity, privacy, protection, speedy trial and compensation. The concept of Zero FIR has also been recognized by Delhi High Court in the case of Kirti Vashist vs State and Ors[2] where it is clearly stated by the High Court that a victim can file FIR in any police station. The FIR shall be registered by the police officer without any delay and inquiry.


In yet another case of, Lalita Kumari vs Government of U.P.[3] Supreme Court has clearly stated that a person can file the FIR under Section 154, The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and if any police officer denied filing FIR then he may face some consequences under Section 166A of Indian Penal Code which states that if a public servant fails to record any information under Sub-Section (1) of Section 154 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 then he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of six months which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

 

Free medical treatment in any private hospital

According to Section 357C of Code of Criminal Procedure, no private or government hospital can charge fees for the treatment of rape victims. All hospitals, either private or public, shall immediately provide first aid to the victims free of cost. If any of the hospitals demand a fee for the treatment of rape victims, then they shall be punished under Section 166B of the Indian Penal Code (non-treatment of the victim) for up to 1 year and shall be liable for a fine or both.

 

No two-finger test during the medical examination

No doctor shall possess the right to do two-finger tests while doing the medical examination. According to Section 164A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this provision tells how the report will be made and what things will be written under the report. The Supreme Court itself supported this ruling in the case of Lillu Alias Rajesh and Another vs State of Haryana[4] and stated that Two finger test and its interpretation violates the right of rape survivors to privacy, mental integrity and dignity. Hence, it is illegal.


The only work of the doctor is to check whether there is any injury in private parts or not? Is the rape has been committed with the victim or not? Is there any recent sexual activity that happened or not? No doctor has the right to check about the past activity of the victim. Keeping this in mind,


Ministry of Health issued a guideline under which a medico-kit has been provided in every hospital to collect the DNA sample for forensic testing.


And the report shall contain:

Name and Address

Age

Description of the material taken for the DNA testing

Marks of injury (if any)

General Mental Condition 

Other reasonablematerial (if any)

A male doctor is going to do the medical examination; he must take the consent for doing the same. Also, he must tell what objects he will use at the time of examination, what procedure he is going to follow. But, he cannot do a two-finger test, otherwise it will charge him for rape under Section 375 of Indian Penal Code[5] for inserting an object in private part. Chhattisgarh State Government has clearly stated that: only ladies doctors will examine the rape victims. Harassment free and time-bound police investigationAccording to Section 154 (1) CrPC, the statement shall be recorded by a woman police officer or any other officer. The officer will come as per the time decided by you or favorable to you. And they shall fix the place as per your convenience. The woman officer shall record the statement in the victim's presence's parents or guardian. A magistrate shall record the statement as per Section 164 (5-A). The lady police officer shall take the victim in court and the statement shall be recorded in the chamber of Magistrate. The purpose for doing the same is to check the statement noted by the police is correct or not.If a rape victim is dumb or mentally disabled to explain the situation, then Analyzer Educator Social Interpretation will be present at that moment to understand the signs.The main purpose for doing the same is, the victim doesn't have to tell the incident again in the trial court the statement given by the victim to the magistrate shall be finalized and it will not violate the right to privacy of the victim. Trial with full dignity, speedy and protectionSection 26 of CrPC states that the trial shall be practicable by the court presided over by a woman. Further, no question shall be asked to victim that assassinates the character of her. Section 53A of the Indian Evidence Act states any question pertaining to previous sex history is irrelevant.Section 327(2) of CrPC defines the inquiry and trial of rape shall be conducted on camera.Section 327(3) of CrPC states that the statement given by the victim to the magistrate shall be confidential.Section 173(1A) of CrPC state that investigation shall be completed within two months from the date on which the information was recorded. The Supreme Court, in the case State of Kerela vs. Rasheed[6] ordered the courts to complete the trial within two months from the date on which information was recorded. Sufficient number of courts have been made exclusively for the rape cases under Section 309(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Further, it is ordered by the court to make trial program especially for the rape cases under Section 230 of CrPC[7].Protection shall be given by the court so that no one can threaten the victim and the witness. Also it is the responsibility of the police to pick up the victim from her home and drop her to home after the trial. Special waiting rooms are made in the court where the victim and the witness will wait so that no confrontation will be happen with the rapist.Supreme Court in the case of Mahender Chawla vs Union of India[8] gave a detailed guideline that if a witness doesn't want to reveal his/her name or identity in the court, then he/she shall give an application to the court, the court will introduce the person with another name and the original identity will be kept confidential. Right to compensationA new provision has been introduced as Section 357A of Code of Criminal Procedure, which states the victim compensation scheme. The Supreme Court has laid this provision down for framing a scheme for compensation with Nipun Saxena vs Union of India[9]. Keeping this in mind, National Legal Services Authority made the rules for compensation scheme for women victims.The final scheme has been introduced on 11-05-2018 in the Supreme Court and the scheme is accepted by the Supreme Court and ordered all the states and union territories to apply the scheme. According to this scheme, a minimum of 4 Lakh Rupees and a Maximum of up to 7 Lakh Rupees shall be provided to the victim as compensation. If, the court finds that the amount provided as compensation to the victim is inadequate then, the court may increase the amount according to the situation.It is stated by the Calcutta High Court in the case of Serina Mondal Alias Piyada vs. The State of West Bengal and Ors[10] compensation provided under Section 357A is provided to protect the fundamental right of a person. Also, in the case of Manohar Singh vs State of Rajasthan and Ors[11] Supreme Court said that compensation can be given even if crime goes unpunished for want of adequate evidence.

Factors that must be included in the application to gain more compensation:

Mental Harm/ Physical Harm

Loss of educational opportunity

Loss of employment

If the victim is pregnant

If victim gets infected by a disease (HIV etc)

Financial condition of victim

Disability of victim

In Case of death


Conclusion

Rape is a heinous crime. Many people will suffer because of these crimes for their entire life and some people are afraid of getting slander. But, if you think in the right way, taking action is better than stepping back because of society’s influence. No one matters more than your life. Be there for yourself even when no one stands with you. Through this article, you can understand that our government has taken every necessary step towards rape victims. Even after these punishments, our country is indulged in these crimes.


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