The issue of crime against any person requires analysis from different
dimensions. The term 'crime' signifies disturbance and horrific
experience. Anyone who keeps regular updates of the happenings taking place in
the Indian society will necessarily notice news relating to crime against women
and children both in print and electronic media.
It may be gang rape of a woman,
outraging the modesty of women, sexual harassment on women at workplace or any
other crime involving women and children, are noticed. There may be unreported
cases also whose number may be anybody's guess as there is no accurate
reliable data or information available in this regard.
However, it is evident
that the violence against women continues to dominate in the Indian society. The
low rate of conviction is testimony of the fact that there is a problem of
proof. It makes all of us to think seriously and find out a way forward for the
prevention of crime and assessment of the role played by various organs of the
government. In this connection the role of law enforcement machinery becomes
vital, particularly the role of judiciary.
There is a reference in the available literature that the women are held in high
status in the ancient period. But due to changes in socioeconomic conditions and
evil customs and traditions, treatment given to women had been fast changing for
worst. It is equally true that women empowerment not being done on the Indian
ethos is also contributing factor for such a scenario. The problem of violence
has always created challenge for human beings. If it did not produce strong
feelings in us, Michael Nagler says we are not to be considered ourselves as
He discusses about new model of human relationship wherein he calls all violence
is a disorder of human relationship. He points out that downstream solution
will not bring permanent solution to the problem. The main cause for violence
and crime is separate package of physical and mental life we have, cut off from
one another by the very laws of time and space, which he called it as Me-ism
This propounds the principle that all peace derives
from individuals who learn to feel at one with progressively wider circles of
humanity around themselves. This is very much in conformity with Confucius
model. Such an introductory treatment may look like impracticable, but there
is nothing wrong in giving people with such awareness which can bring down
certain degree of violence.
Crime vis-Ã -vis Constitutional Policy and Gender Justice
Socially determined gender is different from biologically identified sex. In
matters like enjoying human rights, access to basic facilities, sharing of
benefits and opportunity for participating in decision making process, there is
a bias against women. Gender justice ensures protection from the exploitations
by the dominant gender. Indian constitution has provided adequate measures for
attaining gender justice.
Despite the flourish of constitutionalism which has
contributed towards empowerment of women, we find the commission of crime
against women being reported day in and out. It is estimated that 35 per cent of
women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner
violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives (UN
Violence is understood as a loss of control of aggressive impulse leading to
action (Shengold 1999:xii). The main focus of violence should be against
individuals and not against objects. According to scholars the roots of violence
are linked to a developmental failure to conceptualize one's own and other
people's states of mind. Violence is always opposed to reason and
tolerance, and undermines human rights and welfare. In this context it is
pertinent to note the statement of Justice Dr. A.S. Anand .
He observed, of late there has been an alarming increase in cases relating to
harassment, torture, abetted suicide and dowry death of young innocent brides.
This growing cult of violence and exploitation of the young brides, though keeps
on sending shock waves to the civilized society whenever it happens, continues
unabated. There is a constant erosion of the basic human values of tolerance and
the spirit of live and let live
. Lack of education and economic dependence of
women have encouraged the greedy perpetrators of the crime. Women have been
bearing the brunt of discrimination in all spheres of life.
The crimes against women are dealt under the general law like Indian
Penal Code and special statutes enacted to deal with specific crimes like dowry
and domestic violence. It will be always beneficial to analyze trends of legal
development in these spheres from the perspective of promotion of gender justice
and a desirable change. As it is well known that the rate of crime is increasing
in India, if any one refers to the relevant data available in public domain.
Among different heads of crimes, near about 44% of crimes are falling under
cruelty by husband and other relatives, next comes crimes like molestation,
kidnapping and abduction and rape in the decreasing order respectively.
Judiciary and crime against women:
Judges trying cases involving children and women should exhibit great sense of
care and responsibility. They should also be sensitive to such cases. But this
has not always happened not only in the lower courts but even in some of the
high courts and unfortunately even in the Supreme Court. In case of State of
Punjab v. Gurtneet Singh
, the court observed that the crime against women is on
the increase and it is an irony that while we are celebrating women's rights in
all spheres, we show little or no concern for her honour. In this context, the
judiciary should shoulder higher responsibility and deal with such cases with
The infamous ruling of the Apex Court in Tuka Ram case
(Mathura rape case) in
the late 1970s where in two policemen had raped a 16 year old illiterate tribal
girl in the police station while on duty, who were acquitted on the ground that
she might have consented, became the catalyst for the nationwide anti-rape
movement. The decision led to the amendment of the Evidence Act in 1983,
allowing the women's word to be trusted for absence of consent on her part.
Similarly, the Criminal Law (Amendment), 2013, is the outcome of the 2012 Delhi
gang rape case and passing of the Sexual Harassment of women at Workplaces Act,
2013, was the result of Vishakha case
. This trend shows the judiciary's role
as an eye opener for the legislature to fill the gap in the law.
We have also seen the constitution of the Committee (Justice Verma )
after gang rape of young women in public transport in the nation's capital.
This incident is evident of lack of safe environment for the women in the
country. This incident led to the formation of public opinion which became base
for the further amendments in the Criminal Law.
In Vijaya case
 the Court observed: â€¦while appreciating the evidence of a
witness, minor discrepancies on trivial matters, which do not affect the core of
the prosecution case, may not prompt the Court to reject the evidence in its
In Chhotey Lal case
 the Supreme Court made the observation that delay in
lodging FIR cannot be the ground for acquittal of accused, if the delay is
reasonably explained. The same view was reiterated in Om Prakash case
Lal case the Court denied the conception of out of court compromise in
serious offences like rape. In Prakash Singh and Ors case
 the Court issued
important directions to the governmental instrumentalities for compliance till
framing of the appropriate legislation towards police reform.
and amid massive outcry against it, UP Chief
Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered a CBI probe into the alleged rape and murder of
a Dalit Woman recently, shows the bad state affairs concerning the rule of law,
despite their being democratically elected government in place. In the report of
the Committee on amendments to Criminal Law, it was mentioned that the actions
of those who are in authority have been in conflict with the constitutional
theory under which citizens of India are entitled to equality.
It is often stated that a woman who is raped under goes two crisis, the rape and
the subsequent trial. The first seriously moves her dignity and the second
subjects her to traumatic experience. All must agree with observation of the
42nd Law Commission regarding the purpose of the criminal law is that it is the
chief legal instrument to prevent anti-social acts of a serious character.
object is sought to be achieved in the first place by the legislative command by
embodying the general deterrence aspect of punishment. The fact that the
particular criminal act has been committed shows that the object of deterrence
has failed to prevent that particular criminal act.
In, EERA through Dr.Manjula K. v. State (NCT Of Delhi) And Ors
the court observed that the word mental
cannot be read into
s.2(1)(d) of POCSO Act, 2012 as that would violence to intent and language of
Parliament. The scope of the act is to protect childhood and youth
exploitation and to ensure that children are not abused in any manner. The court
also held that Special Court has power on its own or on application pass interim
order for grant of compensation to meet needs of the child for relief or
rehabilitation at any stage after registration of FIR or to recommend for award
of compensation by State where accused is not traceable or dead.
In, Rajesh Sharma & Ors. v. State of U.P. and Another
 the court observed
that there is need to check tendency to rope in all family members by making
omnibus allegations to settle matrimonial disputes and safeguard against
uncalled for arrest and insensitive investigation.
In Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in State of T.N.,In re v. U.O.I. and
 the problem of sexual abuse of children was considered. The
important directions were issued for the care and protection of interests
children. The directions include, minimum standard of care as required by the JJ
Act and model rules made under it, is to be taken by the government
instrumentalities, schemes framed for the benefit of children must be properly
In Ram Jawaya Kapur Case
the court observed that a modern State is expected to
engage in all activities which are necessary for the promotion of the social and
economic welfare of the community. The report of the Committee on Amendments to
criminal law suggests that India requires de facto equality, freedom from
superstition and renunciation of tradition and practices which are completely at
variance with the Constitution, if it wants to get rid of crimes against women
In Ravinder Singh v. State of Haryana
, husband was charged under
sec.307 of IPC for pouring acid on his wife which led to her death, for which he
was not punished severely and many other cases show that the heavy punishment
is not given to the culprit as it may fail to show deterrent effect on the
future law violators. But after Laxmi Agarwal Case, the scenario has changed.
The court has laid down some important guidelines like minimum compensation of
Rs. 3 lakhs should be paid within 15days of occurrence of such incidents. In
this field restorative justice can play pivotal role in providing reassurance to
the victims as well as repair and reconciliation to offenders in the
It is not the responsibility of only government to contain crimes against women
and children, but all should involve in such endeavors through which entire
system can combat crimes.
This type crime against women is also increasing. The Information
Technology Act, 2000 has provided remedy for cyber crimes. Cases like Manish
Kathuria, Karan Girotra, Yogesh Prabhu cases are some of the cases which show
the difficulty involved in punishing the culprits. There are challenges like
jurisdiction issue, tampering of evidence, and Anonymity of wrong doer is
Suggestions like need for international cooperation, need for
inter-state cooperation and need for revisiting right to freedom of speech and
expression are made to effectively combat such offences. Judiciary has
responded enthusiastically to grant huge amount of compensation to victims of
crime and imposing death penalty on four accused in Nirbhaya case is evidence of
judicial stern action against culprits. The recommendations of Justice Verma
Committee have to be implemented in order to make the legal system strong to
eliminate crimes against women and children.
We were not taking notice of domestic violence earlier. As these
were considered as private affairs. But to our shocking, the kind of violence in
the domestic sphere was noticed to be more dangerous. Wife battering is the
prominent type of domestic violence, practiced as a matter of legal privilege in
common law.It shows traditional rule of providing subordinate position to
women in family and other social institutions.
It was well known that women
mostly will not approach police station because of family relationship,
dependency, lack of legal literacy and helplessness. But this does not mean
there is no legal remedy. But this called for a comprehensive legal scheme for
protection from domestic violence. As a result, the protection of women from
domestic violence act, 2005 was enacted and implemented. The Act has a
progressive approach of protecting the victims.
It was prevalent in some caste in the 18th and 19th century in
certain parts of India. Later on enactments were passed to deal with such
problem. Even Indian Penal Code also provided some provisions for dealing with
such issues. This evil continued particulary after developments in medical
science. The cases like CEHAT v. U.O.I it is observed that discrimination
against girl child still prevails. There are increasing number of crimes being
committed against both children and women.
The study of such type of crimes requires not only legal aspect but also
socio-economic and psychological approach with spiritual bent of techniques. As
love instead of hatred can bring peace in the world, we require realistic based
solution to face such issues in the society. Mere transplanting foreign
principles and rules into our system will not help in solving the problem. In
some of the cases decided by the courts in India, we come across adaptation of
foreign principles without proper analytical perspective.
This is high time we
should reform our criminal administration of justice. Various commission reports
are sometimes never implemented. It is a matter of great shame, if we are unable
to combat crimes against women and children even after significant favorable
changes taking place in technology, legal field and international cooperation.
This demands change in our attitude toward our women and children, for that to
happen there is a compelling need to internalize universal social, cultural and
moral values with proper education in place which is unfortunately neglected in
Participation of people and civil society's initiatives have their own
contribution to sensitize the law to dispel the gender biases. The remnants of
male chauvinism continue to haunt the unfortunate victims & the process of
administration of justice in spite of the major trend of development has
witnessed application of Human Rights norms and welfare policies.The reforms in
substantive law owing to progressive judgments of the judiciary and legislation
need to be supported by strong law enforcement mechanism.
Written By: Dr. Rajendrakumar Hittanagi,
- Michael Nagler, Why Violence Persisits And How We Can Stop It, Yogada
Satsanga, Oct-Dec 2019, p.38.
- Id. at.p.41.
- G.S. Bajpai and Preetika Sharma, Indian Courts on Female Victims of
sexual Crimes: Recent Developments, in Gred F.K., Manjushree P., Sanjeev
P.S.(ed.), Global Victimology: New Voices, Theory-Facts-Legislation,
LexisNexis, New Delhi, 2017, at. P.1
- Anna Motz, The Psychology of Female Violence, Rouledge, London and
NY,2008 at. p.1
- P.Ishwara Bhat, Law and Social Transformation, EBC, Lucknow,2009 at. 553
- Lotika Sarkar, WOMEN AND THE LAW, Annual Survey of Indian Law (2000),
Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, p.1
- Vijaya v. State of M.P.( 2010)8 SCC 191
- State of U.P. v. Chhotey Lal (2011) 2 SCC 550
- Om Prakash v. State of Haryana (2015) 7 SCC 359
- State of M.P. v. Madanlal Criminal Appeal No.231 of 2015
- Prakash Singh and Ors v.U.O.I and Ors. (2006) 8SCC 1
- (2017) 15 SCC 133
- (2018) 10 SCC 472
- (2017) 7 SCC 578
- Praveen Malik, Acid Attack in India: The Law and Legal Strategies to
Combat Violence against women, 9 CPJLJ(2019) 46.
- R.Ramachandran, Law and Crime Against women and Children in India: Need
for Introspection,(2015) PL Feb.74.
- Archana Sharma, Cyber Stalking and plight women in India-A Legal
Perspective, 9RMLNLUJ(2017) 175
- Id. p. 190
- Id.15 lakhs Delhi and 20L UP
- Dobash and Dobash, Violence against women,(1980) Ch.4 cited by MDA
Freeman at p.238
- (2003) 8 scc 398.
Karnataka State Law University
, Ph no: