By this time, everyone is aware of the term ‘Rape’. Every alternate day we witness a new incident of rape. To understand briefly the steps taken in order to put a stop on these cases, let's have a quick view:
Section 376- Punishment for Rape
Section 376 IPC provides punishment for Rape. The section clearly states what is included and excluded from the ambit of this section.
As defined, Sec 376 IPC, states as:
(1). Whoever, except in the cases provided for in sub-section (2), commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Being a police officer commits rape-
- Within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed; or
- In the premises of any station house; or
- On a woman in such police officer’s custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to such police officer or
- Being a public servant commits rape on a woman in such public servant’s custody or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to such public servant; or
- Being a member of the armed forces deployed in an area by the Central or a State Government commits rape in such area; or
- Being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or another place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a women’s or children’s institution commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or
- Being on the management or on the staff of a hospital commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or
- Being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman; or
- Commits rape during communal or sectarian violence; or
- Commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
- Commits rape on a woman when she is under sixteen years of age; or
- Commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent; or
- Being in a position of control or dominance over a woman commits rape on such woman; or
- Commits rape on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability; or
- While committing rape causes grievous bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a woman; or
- Commits rape repeatedly on the same woman,
Shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation- For the purposes of this subsection,
- “Armed forces means the naval, military and air forces and includes any member of the Armed Forces constituted under any law for the time being in force, including the Paramilitary forces and any auxiliary forces that are under the control of the Central Government or the State Government;
- “Hospital” means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation;
- “Police officer” shall have the same meaning as assigned to the expression “police” under the Police Act, 1861 (5 of 1861);
- “Women’s or children’s institution” means an institution, whether called an orphanage or a home for neglected women or children or a widow’s home or an institution called by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of women or children.
The offence of Rape is defined under section 375 of IPC. It is an act of forceful sexual intercourse with a woman against her will. Section 376 of IPC provides punishment for committing the offence of rape.
In the cases relating to Sub-section (2) of sec. 376 IPC, which clearly states that if a police officer, or a public servant or any other person commits the offence of Rape, he shall be liable to punishment under the purview of this section. The term of imprisonment in these cases shall not be less than 10 years and this may also be extended to life imprisonment. All the conditions relating to the public servant, police officer, armed forces are defined in the act.
Further, amendments were made in the Indian Penal Code vide the Criminal Law ( Amendment) Act, 2013 and these sections stood as under:
Section 376 A- Punishment for causing death or resulting in a Vegetative state of the victim. This section provides punishment for the act caused by the man to a woman, which has ultimately resulted in causing injuries, vegetative state or her death. The term of punishment in the cases of section 376 A shall not be less than 20 years, but it may be extended to life imprisonment. It is a non-bailable as well as cognizable offence, triable by the Court of Session.
Section 376 B- This section states the punishment for Sexual intercourse by the husband upon his wife during separation. According to the general principles, a husband cannot be held guilty of rape upon his wife. Marriage is such a bond that allows both, the husband and wife to exercise the marital rights. However, in the cases, when the wife is living separately from her husband under a decree of judicial separation, sexual intercourse without her consent by the husband shall be liable to punishment under this section. In these cases, sexual intercourse shall mean the same as mentioned in clauses (a) to (d) of section 375.
Section 376 C- This section provides punishment for Sexual intercourse by a person in authority. A person, being a public servant shall be held liable for the offence under this section if the person in authority or under the influence of his power seduces or takes advantage of a woman. Sexual intercourse in these cases will not amount to Rape but will hold the person liable for a term which shall not be less than 5 years, which may extend to 10 years and fine.
Section 376 D- This section provides punishment for the offences of Gang Rape. Gang rape is the situation where a woman is raped by more than 1 person with the same intention to rape the woman. The offenders are liable to imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years and it may also get extended to life imprisonment.
Section 376 E- Under this section, Punishment for repeat offenders is defined. If a person was previously convicted for committing the offence under section 376 or 376 A or 376 D and further repeats the same offence, then such person shall be punished with life imprisonment.
The type of punishment defined under IPC 376 and the term of imprisonment in the cases of Rape provided under Sec 34 Indian Penal Code depend upon the gravity of the matter. Generally, the minimum term of imprisonment in all the above-mentioned sections is seven years. In order to reduce the crime against the women, such sections were substituted and duly amended by the Criminal law (Amendment) Act, 2013.