The credibility of the “incredible” laws – Let’s dig into the very evident loop-holes
Any government supposedly works a lot on “women empowerment”. It is a pity that amendments in laws have become tools for torture or retaliation than for supporting the victims. ‘498 A’ was introduced in the IPC in 1983 in order to improvise the condition of the women facing repercussions of dowry demands, resulting into subsequent deaths. But it is pertinent to mention here that this has become a hazardous tool despite it being a protective shield for the women. Mere FIR is sufficient to ensnare the family of the husband, along with his kith and kin, irrespective of whether they are near or distant relatives; and the onus to prove innocent is on the husband and his family, which is a difficult situation – due to matter’s being categorized as non-bailable offence.
In rural areas, in male dominated society, despite IPC section 498(A), 406 (3 years imprisonment/fine/both), 304(B)-7 years punishment, Dowry Prohibition Rules, 1985 etc.; the plight of the women has not improved so far. Within last 3 years, 24,771 dowry deaths have been reported, while the anti-dowry law is in force since 1961.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 1, 97,762 cases have been registered in 2012 and the accusation was found only in 15% cases and the number of fake cases were approx. 31, 293. Law commission confessed that the provisions of the law are being misused, while the Hon’ble Supreme Court, by its several comments, instructed for its practicable amendments declaring it as legal terrorism, wherein the whole family of the husband is arrested without much investigation and without the suspicion of their being absconders. For filing fake case, the penalty is mere INR 1000 and moreover, no suo moto action is taken by the court for fake complainant.
The situation of legal terrorism is no less than that of rape cases where Justice Nivedita Sharma has shown concerns on registration of fake rape cases while acquittal of an innocent ensnared in fake rape case.
According to survey reports, on an average, 848 females become victim of rape followed murder every day. Within the span of past 5 years, violent sexual assaults have increased by 50%. Even after reducing the age of trial in heinous crimes from 18 to 16, whether or not it will ensure the safety of women – is still a question unanswered.
Minors’ involvement in crimes has increased multifold according to the NCRB, which found 66% of minors’ involvement in serious crimes in 2013, while 1,41052 cases were registered against minors in 2010-14. Retired Supreme Court Justice – Mr. J.S.Verma constituted a committee for law reforms and got Criminal law amendment Act 2013 (Anti rape law), IPC section 375 rape definition elaborated. And 375, 376(A), (D) were made more stringent. In the year 2012, 24,923 matters of rape have been registered and in 2014, the number increased to 36,735. Refer link
These statistics explain that the stringent laws made for women safety are not working the way those ought to be and are not helping the innocents either; they are rather supporting bullies (be it male or female) instead. Sometimes influential families are at the target of the conspirators or highly funded conspirators conspire against the public figures like Saint Shri Asharam Bapuji (hereinafter referred to as “Bapuji”).
In Nirbhaya rape case (December 2012), victim girl’s condition traumatized the doctors as to how mercilessly the offence has been committed; whereas the medical reports of the alleged victim girl in case of Bapuji does not substantiate even a scratch on her body and the innocent saint is behind the bars for the past 2.5 years now; even the bail applications have been rescinded several times. Many of the ministers have always adored Bapuji and are supposedly “determined” to secure the glory of Indian traditions, culture and saints; but hardly anything has been done in the case of Bapuji, despite everyone’s being aware of the fact that the alleged “victim” girl was busy with telephonic conversation according to her mobile phone call details and Bapuji was elsewhere when the alleged incident supposedly took place (though in reality, the alleged incident itself never occurred). Bapuji has held many discourses for the prisoners and has distributed literature amongst them and now the irony is – the same very saint who has always pioneered in the arena of social reforms, is embroiled in a fake rape case!
The credibility of judiciary has gone down given the fact that it has been repeatedly rejecting bail applications of an innocent saint; while on the other hand the bail applications of the so called “elite and affluent” class are accepted within no time as evident in National Herald case, Salman Khan’s Hit and Run Case, Amma’s (i.e. Jaya Lalitha’s) corruption case, Tarun Tejpal’s matter in rape case etc.
Eminent jurists and lawyers should ponder over the repercussions of legal procedural loop holes which make innocents suffer unnecessarily. After analyzing the same, necessary reforms should be introduced in order to protect the rights of the innocents like Saint Shri Asharam Bapuji and other renowned saints who are ensnared in false cases under conspiracy and the criteria of giving justice ought to broaden than mere being gender or class based/biased.