In our society women face many kinds of wrongs. Sexual assault and its various forms have been recognized by almost all the society and have been recorded in history. Rape laws have been recognized by all the countries; in India ‘rape laws’ began with the enactment of the Indian Penal Code 1860. After 1860 there have been various amendments, and the issue of focus remained on the definition of Rape. The inclusion of consent and age of consent in rape became a very big issues and thus proper judgments and amendments the consent part in rape has been made clear. Facing public protests and political pressure after the attack, the government reformed some laws on sexual violence but still sexual attacks have been caused outrage. This article discusses regarding rape law in India and the need for those changes and the loopholes that still exist in rape laws in today’s Indian legal system.

Keywords: sexual violence, legal provision.


“ Rape is one the most heinous crime to the social environment”

India is the epicenter of the most versatile culture and spirituality. Here, women holds high status in the society and is considered to be a “Lakshmi.” Of all the crimes committed against a person, rape is the one that leaves a person feeling the most violated. It is restricted only to the crime against matriarchal social environment. Rape at present stage is the infringement of women right and liberty.

Meaning of Rape:

The word rape is derived from the Latin term rapio, which means ‘to seize’. Thus rape literally means a forcible seizure. It signifies in common terminology, “as the ravishment of a woman without her consent, by force, fear, or fraud” or “ the carnal knowledge of a woman by force against her will.” In other words, rape is violation with violence of the private person of a woman.

Definition of Rape:

Section 375 in the Indian Penal Code 1860

A man is said to commit “rape’’ who, except in the case hereinafter expected, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:

First _Against her will.

Secondly _ Without her consent.

Thirdly_ With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt.

Fourthly_ With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.

Fifthly_ With her consent, when at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.

Sixthly_ With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.

Explanation._ Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.

(Exception)_ Sexual intercourse by man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.] STATE AMENDMENT

(Manipur) _ (a) in clause sixthly, for the word “thirteen’’. [vide Act 30 of 1950, sec. 3(w.e.f 16-4-1950) ( made earlier than Act 43 of 1983)].


According to the section, the rapist should be punished with the imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than 7 years but which may extend to life or for a term extending up to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.


In the landmark case of the Chairman, Railway Board v. Chandrima Das, the Hon’ble court held that rape is not a mere matter of violation of an ordinary right of a person but the violation of fundamental Rights which is involved. Rape is a crime not only against the person of a woman; it is a crime against the entire society and is violative of the victims most cherished right, namely, right to life which includes right to live with human dignity contained in Article 21.

Justice Krishna Iyer in the case of Rafiq v. State of U.P made a remark that, ‘A murderer kills the body, but a rapist kills the soul.’


• Sexual intercourse by a man with a woman.

• The sexual intercourse must be under the circumstances falling unde any of the seven clauses of section 375.

Development of Rape laws in India:

Let’s start with Tukaram v. state of Maharastra which is commonly known as THE MATHURA RAPE CASE. This is very first case which led to public outrage and as a result of the protest the reforms have been made in the existing laws. In this case, a 16 years old girl who belonged to a tribal community named Mathura was raped in a police station. After , the family members made a criminal complaint against those two police officers. But the supreme court of India rejected this case stating – “ Mathura’s body bore outwards sign of rape .”

State of Maharashtra v. Madhukar N.Mardikar, held that “ the unchastity of a woman does not make her open to any and every person to violate her person as and when he wishes. She is entitled to protect her person as and when he wishes. She is entitled to the protection of law. Therefore merely because she is of easy virtue, her evidence cannot be thrown overboard.”

Parminder @ ladka pola v. State of Delhi

In this case, the prosecutor, a 14 year old who had gone to meet her friend who lived near her house , was raped by the friend’s brother and threatened with death . The court did not think that there were adequate and special reasons, in this case, to reduce the sentence to less than the minimum sentence under Section 376(1), IPC. The appeal against his conviction was dismissed.

Pradeep kumar verma v. State of Bihar

It was held that in case of a representation deliberately made by the accused with a view to eliciting the assent of the victim without having intention to marry her, will vitiate the consent given by the victim. It was also observed that if on facts it is established that at the very inception of the making of the promise the accused did not really entertain the intention of marrying the victim and the promise to marry held out by him was a mere hoax, the consent ostensibly given by the victim will be no avail to the accused to exculpate him from the ambit of Section 375 (2). Such representatives would only vitiate the consent.


The Nirbhaya case (2012)

Rameshbhai Chandubhai Rathod v. State of Gujarat.

State v. Deepak Dogra (2013).

State of Maharashtra V. Chandraprakash kewal Chand Jain.


The courts and the legislature have to make many changes if the laws of rape are to be any deterrence. The courts have to comprehend the fact that these conscienceless criminals- who sometimes even beat and torture their victims- who even include children, are not gong to be deterred or ennobled by such a small time of imprisonment. Therefore, in the best interest of justice and the society, these criminals should be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Law remains but the number of victims (including minor) continues to increase destroying the very soul of the helpless women. Thus, the Amendment 1983 has brought about some important changes in the existing laws of rape as a response to the growing public opinion demanding more stringent anti rape laws.

Credit: G.Bhavadharani

Clg name: School of excellence in Law

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