We are aware of the latest sensational news of Hathras municipality, near Agra, where a 19 year old lower caste girl was brutally raped by 4 upper class boys on September 14th.
After fighting for her life for two weeks, she died in a Delhi hospital.
Initially, it was reported that one accused had tried to kill her, though later in her statement to the magistrate, the victim named four accused as having raped her.
The victim's brother claimed that no arrests were made in the first 10 days after the incident took place. After her death, the victim was forcibly cremated by the police without the consent of her family, a claim denied by the police.
This rape and violence are types of sexual offence against women and girls happening with increasing frequency all over India. It seems new cases are reported monthly, sometimes even weekly.
A government survey found it was clear that 99.1% of cases are unreported. There is no way to know exactly how many unreported, of course, since there is no record.
If they are reported the resolution of such cases are delayed at either the Police Station level or in local courts.
This significant increase in the case of rape and other sexual violence against women and children leads us to the questioning of the age-old Criminal Justice System of India.
India has many laws that deals with rape, atrocities and other criminal actions.
The question is If those laws are applicable to these atrocities. Just after the crime, there is a continuous inaction from the side of the Police.
Far too many times, the FIR is not filed immediately. And if the FIR is filed, than there is harassment of the families of the survivors, defective investigation and highly inadequate prosecution. It’s the same story with Courts with Judges all too often protecting the accused instead of the victim.
These days, with social media, women’s organizations and NGO’s all across India, it seems that many more rape cases are receiving attention even though so many are unreported.
Citizens are standing together to fight for the justice of the victim but it turns out the law is not with the victim. 88% of the known, documented rape cases are pending in the Courts.
Delay in the Courts encourages and supports to the rapist out there. Under the Indian criminal law the accused is treated as a privileged person once they are in custody. This is even more true if they can come under the “protection” of some powerful person or people.
The old aged criminal justice system is failing to meet the ends of justice in 21st century. The IPS Officer, R.K. Raghavan, in his World Factbook Of Criminal Justice Systems says: “In sum, the Criminal Justice System in India is a legacy of the British system.”
While the Law in Great Britain has undergone major changes over the past 40 years in relation to laws that affect women and violence against women, as have laws in many European and East Asian countries, India has been slow to match the strengthening and updating of its Criminal Justice System.
This has to done with the financial requirements for a modernized Police/Criminal Justice System as well as a public insistence on such strengthening.
Among the requirements”
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