Section. 375 and Section.376 of the Indian Penal Code talks about conviction of
a man for the offense of rape against a woman. Also, there are many laws other
than rape which are gender specific, such as, voyeurism and sexual harassment
where the perpetrator is a man and the victim is always a woman.
The Indian legal system is based on the assumption that rape is something that
happens to a female where the perpetrator is always a male of the society.
However, an increased awareness in the society shows that the reason for sexual
harassment or rape may not be just the fulfilment of the sexual desires but also
the assertion of the dominance while declaring the other person to be submissive
or inferior to the prior.
But, if so, then the main reason could be to assert
dominance in the case of class, creed, religion or any other social background,
which in turn would mean that this is not entirely gender based. Hence, any form
of sexual harassment or rape could happen to both the males and the females of a
While we assume that there are two genders i.e., the male and the female, we
fail to overlook the community of the transgenders which includes the hijras and
the kothisand the communities of the intersex where the organs in the body of
a person are ambiguous. The current laws are just discriminatory in nature where
it classifies a single part of the society while overlooking the other parts of
It has been recommended by the Law Commission of India in their 172nd report
that, the laws regarding rape must be made gender-neutral. A study which was
conducted by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 2003 had stated that
there was widespread violations of the human rights against the transgender
community of India.
The Rape Law And Its History
What one needs to fathom, in the present scenario is that one must understand
the social implications, the society in general and the repercussions before any
conclusive proof of the positive outcome of the changes in law. Therefore, the
history of the changes in the society is what one needs to decipher in order to
comment on the present challenges.
It had been deduced that historically speaking, the Indian women’s agenda has
revolved around the changes in the rape law. The broadening of the definition
of rape, has been a struggle for the women for a long time.
 The Mathura Rape
case, was one of the finest decisions in the field of rape laws which was the
reason why so many changes had been made in the criminal laws in India. It had
been termed as one of the landmark cases creating history in the rights of women
in India. 
The Supreme Court had held that, the young lady who had been
assaulted by three police officers, had submitted and given her consent to the
sex as there were no wounds of obstruction found on her body. It was held that
nonappearance of wounds suggested assent. After this notorious case, four law
instructors composed an Open Letter to the Chief Justice of India reprimanding
the case.This case started off an interest moving the weight of verification
concerning to the blamed, when the arraignment had released its weight of
demonstrating sexual intercourse. Another interest made by activists was to
hold camera procedures and non-disclosure of the names of the rape victims in
the media. 
Another proposal was to make the previous sexual encounters of
the victim irrelevant during a trial so as to not dissuade from the offender’s
act of assault in the case. However, the landmark case which bought about
changes were, the Delhi gang rape case which led to the formation of the
Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013.
Meaning of The Word Gender-Neutrality
The phrase gender neutrality is ambiguous and not completely defined anywhere.
So, what comes under the ambit of gender-neutrality?
To understand the above question, we need to understand the meaning of the term,
gender. The term gender has been defined in the common sense as either male
or female. However, this definition, fails to consider the aspects of transgenders or communities which do not identify themselves as a part of merely
a single gender. So, while these communities have had their history, since the
era of Kings and Queens even before the Mughal Empire in India, that is during
the Ancient period, such as the myths of Mahabharata or the Ramayana,
have these communities been excluded from the laws related to the sexual
assault, rape and violence against them?
There have been various studies which have been documented against the violence
and assaults against the Transgender Communities of India. 
conclusions derived from these studies were the most shocking
Sexual violence is a constant, pervasive theme in all the narratives that we’ve
collected in our report. Along with subjection to physical violence such as
beatings and threats of disfigurement with acid bulbs, the sexuality of the hijra also becomes a target of prurient curiosity, at the least, which leads to
brutal violence, at the most. As the narratives indicate, the police constantly
degrade hijras by asking them sexual questions, feel up their breasts, strip
them, and in some cases rape them. With or without the element of physical
violence, such actions constitute a violation of the integrity and privacy of
the very sexual being of the person.
The Idea of Male on Male Rape
I was raped by six drunk men, they verbally abused me for being a homosexual,
and took turns filming the whole thing, he says. Confused, ashamed and angry, Vinodhan did not even seek medical help.
I thought everyone would blame me for hooking up, he says. I did not know how the police would treat a gay
man. (Menon, P.)
Being repelled by the general community of India, the homosexuals often become
vulnerable targets for people who wish to assault them and save themselves from
the rimes committed against them. There has been no assumptions regarding the
punishment or male on male assault in India whereas, thus showcasing that this
has yet not been recognised in the Indian society.
Siddharth Narrain, during his address to the duress caused in case of assault of
people who are not women, stated that Who is to say that the sexual humiliation
suffered by transgender persons and men, and by those intersex persons and
sexual minorities not born women, is a lesser violation of the personal, inner
space, a lesser injury to mind, spirit and sense of self?
Why Laws Should Be Gender Neutral?
The first assumption that women cannot be perpetrator comes from the fact that
the definition of rape has been a widespread term and yet deciphered only as a
penile-vaginal intercourse, making people believe that only men can assert their
dominance as to the fact that they were biologically built stronger than women.
 Thus, with the Amendment in force, the definition of rape has not been just
limited to that but various other things such as the insertion of objects,
finger, oral and anal penetrations as well. 
The second assumption or the argument that women cannot become perpetrators
comes from the fact that men having arousals, implies consent. However, the
arousal, i.e., the erection of the penile organ of the male body does not imply
consent. Studies have proven that arousal or the erection of penis does not mean
that is has taken place due to the sexual awakening inside the body. The reasons
for arousal could be fear, humiliation and anxiety, leading to such erections in
the body. 
There has been developing acknowledgment of male exploitation all around the
globe. Countries that have embraced unbiased laws of gender-neutrality include:
Canada, every single Australian express, the Republic of Ireland, Finland,
England and Wales, and by far most of states inside the United States.
Part III of the Constitution ensures basic rights to each resident of India.
Article 14 reveres the privilege to fairness under the watchful eye of law, i.e,
it provides equality to all and Article 15 accommodates preclusion of separation
on the grounds of sex, i.e, no discrimination can be made on the grounds of sex
of a person. Men in this manner must be qualified for indistinguishable rights
from women. Despite the fact that male assault is a less incessant event than
female assault, they can't be precluded from securing the privilege to balance,
thus they are too, entitled to equal rights as the women.
Providing equal rights
to men, does not take away the rights of women and does not counter as a
backlash as many people would state. On the contrary, giving such rights to
men and enabling them to open up and giving them a platform to speak, would only
encourage the reduction of the toxic masculinity which has been a part of the
assertion of dominance, a leading cause of violence against women. Thus, the
feminists, have themselves, recognised the concept of male victimisation.
The reasons why men do not open up, is because of the fact that men do face a
backlash, of societal stigma surrounding them, that, they are deemed to be
un-manly or are deemed to be termed as not a real man for the sole reason
that he failed to enjoy the sexual encounter advanced towards him by a woman.
In the case of State. v. Sheodayal, 1956 Madhya Pradesh High court opined that
modesty of a woman can be outraged by another woman under the purview of Section
354 of IPC.The question whether a woman can commit gang rape was dealt by
the Supreme Court in the case of Priya Patel v. State of Madhya Pradesh. It
was alleged that in case of gang-rape, common intention was required. Yet, a
woman was not deemed to have committed rape. Where in case of the criteria to be
a common intention, a woman’s presence in the part of a gang-rape is not to be
considered, shall remain unsolved. Despite widespread conversations and classic
debates, this still remains an ambiguity and researchers have not yet decided
upon the fact whether they should or should not be considered as assaulters
against other women.
The most unmistakable view against complete impartiality is the male centric
mentality of the Indian culture and the negative ramifications for female
exploited people that it may prompt. Unexpectedly, the supporters of complete
sexual equity depend on the contention of right to correspondence and the social
disgrace that encompasses male assault. After examining both the sides, the
specialist has arrived at the resolution that while sexual savagery against guys
and transgender must be tended to, it should not make an impeding condition for
female exploited people for assault. We should endeavour to make an equivalent
society and must move toward accomplishing impartial laws.
The existence of the transgenders ad male rapes in India, cannot be denied or
refuted. Be that as it may, considering the circumstance and treatment of ladies
in India at present, it would not be astute to definitely change the assault
laws into sexually unbiased laws. We should embrace a bit by bit approach. Along
these lines, as suggested by the Verma Committee, the assault law must be
changed to make the injured individual sexual orientation comprehensive while
the culprit remains sex explicit.
- The Criminal Law Amendment Act, section 354 (2013)
- Agnes, F. (2002). Law, Ideology and Female Sexuality. Economic and
- Sakshi vs.Union of India, AIR 2004 SC 3566.
- Tuka Ram And Anr vs State Of Maharashtra, 1979 AIR 185.
- Baxi, U., Dhagamvar, V., Kelkar, R., & Sarkar, L. (1979) An Open Letter
to the Chief Justice of India.
- Supra note 2
- Haskar N. (2005).Human Rights Lawyering, A Feminist Perspective. Writing
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- Supra note 2
- Narrain, S. (2003). Being a Eunuch. The Frontline
- Human Rights Violations Against the Transgender Community: A study of
Kothi and Hijra sex workers in Bangalore, India, (2003). People’s Union for
Civil Liberties, Karnataka.
- Menon, P. (2013). Lacking support, male rape victims stay silent. The
Times of India
- Narrain, S. (2013). Crimes of Exclusion. The Indian Express.
- Vipra J. (2013). A case for gender neutral rape laws in India, CCS
- Criminal Law Amendment Act, Section 375 (2013)
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women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11, no. 2, 117-131
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Journal of Social Justice, 6, 481
- The Constitution of India, (1950).
- Supra note 18
- When men are raped. Ohio Department of Health.
- Annavarapu, S. (2013). Heteronormativity and Rape: Mapping the
construction of gender and sexuality in the rape legislations in India.
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- Priya Patel v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2006) 6 SCC 263.
- Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law (2013)