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Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

Author: Posted 29 Apr 2013            Post Comment

Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 is an Indian legislation passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.The Bill received Presidential assent on 2 April 2013 and deemed to came into force from 3 February 2013. It was originally an Ordinance promulgated by the President of India,Sri Pranab Mukherjee, on 3 February 2013, in light of the protests in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case.
On 16 December 2012 a female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in Delhi. She died from her injuries thirteen days later, despite receiving treatment in India and Singapore. The incident generated international coverage and was condemned by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, who called on the Government of India and the Government of Delhi \"to do everything in their power to take up radical reforms, ensure justice and reach out with robust public services to make women’s lives more safe and secure\". Public protests took place in Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country.
On 22 December 2012, a judicial committee headed by J. S. Verma, a former Chief Justice of India, was appointed by the Central government to submit a report, within 30 days, to suggest amendments to criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases. The Committee submitted its report after 29 days on 23 January 2013, after considering 80,000 suggestions received by them during the period from public in general and particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women’s groups and civil society. The report indicated that failures on the part of the Government and Police were the root cause behind crimes against women. Major suggestions of the report included the need to review AFSPA in conflict areas, maximum punishment for rape as life imprisonment and not death penalty, clear ambiguity over control of Delhi Police etc. The Cabinet Ministers on 1 February 2013 approved for bringing an ordinance, for giving effect to the changes in law as suggested by the Verma Committee Report. According to Minister of Law and Justice, Ashwani Kumar, 90 percent of the suggestions given by the Verma Committee Report has been incorporated into the Ordinance. The ordinance was subsequently replaced by a Bill with numerous changes, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013
New offences
This new Ordinance created some new offences or have professedly created certain offences which were dealt under related laws. These new offences like, acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism, stalking has been incorporated into the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section Offence Punishment Notes
326A Acid attack Imprisonment not less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees Gender neutral
326B Attempt to Acid attack imprisonment not less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine Gender neutral
354A Sexual harassment Rigorous imprisonment upto five years, or with fine, or with both in case of offence described in clauses (i) & (ii)
Imprisonment upto one year, or with fine, or with both in other cases
Gender neutral
(i) physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or
(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or
(iii) making sexually coloured remarks; or
(iv) forcibly showing pornography; or
(v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
354B Public disrobing of woman Imprisonment not less than three years but which may extend to seven years and with fine. Assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked in any public place
354C Voyeurism In case of first conviction, imprisonment not less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. Watching or capturing a woman in “private act”, which includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy, and where the victim\'s genitals, buttocks or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the person is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.
354D Stalking Imprisonment not less than one year but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine Gender neutral. Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the offence of stalking.

Changes in law
Section 370 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) :- has been substituted with new sections, 370
and 370A which deals with trafficking of person for exploitation. If a person
(a) recruits, (b) transports, (c) harbors, (d) transfers, or (e) receives, a
person or persons, by using threats, or force, or coercion, or abduction, or
fraud, or deception, or by abuse of power, or inducement for exploitation
including prostitution, slavery, forced organ removal, etc. will be punished
with imprisonment ranging from at-least 7 years to imprisonment for the
remainder of that person’s natural life depending on the number or
category of persons trafficked. Employment of a trafficked person will
attract penal provision as well. The most important change that has been
made is the change in definition of rape under IPC.

The word rape has been replaced with sexual assault in Section 375, :- and have added
penetrations other than penile penetration an offence. The definition is
broadly worded and gender neutral in some aspect, with acts like
penetration of penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent,
into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of another person or making
another person do so, apply of mouth or touching private parts
constitutes the offence of sexual assault. The section has also clarified that
penetration means \"penetration to any extent\", and lack of physical
resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain
aggravated situation the punishment will be imprisonment not less than
seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also
be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which
may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

A new section, 376A:- has been added which states that if a person committing the
offence of sexual assault, \"inflicts an injury which causes the death of
the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state,
shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not
be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for
life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with
death.\"

In case of \"gang rape\", persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. The age of consent in India has been increased to 18 years, which means any sexual activity irrespective of presence of consent with a woman below the age of 18 will constitute statutory rape.
Certain changes has been introduced in the Cr. PC. and Evidence Act, like the recording of statement of the victim, more friendly and easy, character of the victim is irrelevant, presumption of no consent where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim states in the court that there has been no consent, etc.


Criticisms
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 has been strongly criticized by several human rights and women\'s rights organisations for not including certain suggestions recommended by the Verma Committee Report like, marital rape, reduction of age of consent, amending Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act so that no sanction is needed for prosecuting an armed force personnel accused of a crime against woman. The Government of India, replied that it has not rejected the suggestions fully, but changes can be made after proper discussion.


The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, making certain changes from the provisions in the Ordinance.The Bill received Presidential assent on 2 April 2013 and came into force from 3 April 2013. The changes made in the Act in-comparison with the Ordinance is listed as follows:

Offence Changes
Acid attack:- Fine shall be just and reasonable to meet medical expenses for treatment
of victim, while in the Ordinance it was fine up-to Rupees 10 lakhs.

Sexual harassment:- \"Clause (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal
conduct of sexual nature\" has been removed. Punishment for
offence under clause (i) and (ii) has been reduced from five years
of imprisonment to three years. The offence is no longer gender-
neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman.

Voyeurism:- The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the
offence on a woman.

Stalking:- The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the
offence on a woman. The definition has been reworded and broken
down into clauses, The exclusion clause and the following sentence has
been removed \"or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results
in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such
person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the
offence of stalking\". Punishment for the offence has been changed; A
man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment
up to three years for the first offence, and shall also be liable to fine and
for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to
five years and with fine.

Trafficking of person:- \"Prostitution\" has been removed from the explanation clause.
Rape The word sexual assault has been replaced back to rape.
The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit
the offence on a woman. The clause related to touching of
private parts has been removed.

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What is the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013? What will it change? The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill is a bill to be introduced in the Indian Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 currently in force, and aims at amending the existing provisions in criminal law in order to improve the safety of women. The Bill seeks to make changes to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act. The Bill will introduce provisions in the IPC which would criminalise sexual voyeurism and stalking amending legal provisions to protect the privacy of individuals, such as discontinuing the practice of examination of the sexual history of the victim of a sexual assault for evidence. What threats to privacy will the Act address? The Act will address the following violations of physical privacy: Current Law: Stalking is generally characterized by unwanted and obsessive harassment or persecution of one person by another. It can be a physical act or can be done through electronic means usually the internet. It may or may not be an act physically threatening the security of an individual; however, it can cause mental trauma and fear to the victim. It is a blatant intrusion into an individual’s privacy, where the stalker attempts to establish relationships with their victim without their consent. The stalker also intrudes into the victim’s private life by collecting or attempting to collect personal information the victim may not want to disclose and also misuse it. Stalking, in any form, degrades the privacy of the victim by taking away their choice to use their personal information in ways they deem fit. Presently, stalking is not recognised as a punishable offence. Draft Provision for Stalking: The ordinance introduces the offence of stalking under Section 345D of the IPC, and makes it punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year to three years, and a fine. The provision prescribes that ‘Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person.’ Under the new law, constant, unwanted interaction of any one person with another, for any reason, can be made punishable, if the actions result in fear of violence or distress to any person, or interferes with their mental peace. What is being Amended: The present law disregards the reasons or intent for the stalking, by clearly defining the elements of the offence and making stalking as a stand-alone, punishable offence. Prior to this draft provision in the IPC, India had no appropriate response to stalking as an offence in both physical or electronic forms. The Information Technology (IT) Act, that is supposed to deal with cyber-crimes, overlooks breach of online privacy and stalking that don’t lead to publication of obscene images or other obvious manifestations of physical or mental threat. Presently, the general provision under which victims of stalking can file complaints is Section 509 of the IPC, that states, ‘Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.’ There are several problems with using this existing section to address stalking. There is no clear definition and scope for ‘intrusion of privacy’ under this section. Usually the offence is coupled with other forms of harassment or violence and not considered as a separate offence. The provisions o
Posted 29 Apr 2013
What is the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013? What will it change? The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill is a bill to be introduced in the Indian Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 currently in force, and aims at amending the existing provisions in criminal law in order to improve the safety of women. The Bill seeks to make changes to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act. The Bill will introduce provisions in the IPC which would criminalise sexual voyeurism and stalking amending legal provisions to protect the privacy of individuals, such as discontinuing the practice of examination of the sexual history of the victim of a sexual assault for evidence. What threats to privacy will the Act address? The Act will address the following violations of physical privacy: Current Law: Stalking is generally characterized by unwanted and obsessive harassment or persecution of one person by another. It can be a physical act or can be done through electronic means usually the internet. It may or may not be an act physically threatening the security of an individual; however, it can cause mental trauma and fear to the victim. It is a blatant intrusion into an individual’s privacy, where the stalker attempts to establish relationships with their victim without their consent. The stalker also intrudes into the victim’s private life by collecting or attempting to collect personal information the victim may not want to disclose and also misuse it. Stalking, in any form, degrades the privacy of the victim by taking away their choice to use their personal information in ways they deem fit. Presently, stalking is not recognised as a punishable offence. Draft Provision for Stalking: The ordinance introduces the offence of stalking under Section 345D of the IPC, and makes it punishable by imprisonment of not less than one year to three years, and a fine. The provision prescribes that ‘Whoever follows a person and contacts, or attempts to contact such person to foster personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by such person, or whoever monitors the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person.’ Under the new law, constant, unwanted interaction of any one person with another, for any reason, can be made punishable, if the actions result in fear of violence or distress to any person, or interferes with their mental peace. What is being Amended: The present law disregards the reasons or intent for the stalking, by clearly defining the elements of the offence and making stalking as a stand-alone, punishable offence. Prior to this draft provision in the IPC, India had no appropriate response to stalking as an offence in both physical or electronic forms. The Information Technology (IT) Act, that is supposed to deal with cyber-crimes, overlooks breach of online privacy and stalking that don’t lead to publication of obscene images or other obvious manifestations of physical or mental threat. Presently, the general provision under which victims of stalking can file complaints is Section 509 of the IPC, that states, ‘Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.’ There are several problems with using this existing section to address stalking. There is no clear definition and scope for ‘intrusion of privacy’ under this section. Usually the offence is coupled with other forms of harassment or violence and not considered as a separate offence. The provisions o
Posted 29 Apr 2013

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