In India, justice was served today. Those convicted in the Nirbhaya gang rape case, alias Delhi Rape Case 2012 had their lives were hanged to death. The rape case is one of the most ferocious rape cases in India’s history, and possibly the world.
The brutality of the case made right activists march for stricter laws towards ensuring protection of women against rape and other GBVs in India. And similarly, in 2013 the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was enacted.
Prior to 2013, convicted rapists in India could be served anywhere between a minimum sentence of 7 years to a maximum of life sentence. That changed with the Act – after 2013, a convicted rapist can be served 10 years to a life sentence. In case of rape and murder, the minimum sentence is 20 years. Furthermore, if the judge deems the crime to heinous, like in Nirbhaya case, capital punishment can be served.
India’s rape and murder laws make us visit ours too – with at least 4 incidents of rape/attempt to rape reported in Nepal in the past week alone, we are forced to.
According to Muluki Criminal (Code) Act, 2074, Section 219(3) – punishment for rape conviction are:
- 16 to 20 years imprisonment in case the victim is below 10 years of age.
- 14 to 16 years imprisonment in case the victim is between 10 to 14 years.
- 12 to 14 years imprisonment in case the victim is between 14 to 16 years.
- 10 to 12 years imprisonment in case the victim is between 16 to 18 years.
- 7 to 10 years imprisonment in case the victim is 18 years and above.
The perpetrator will be sentenced to life imprisonment in case of death after rape. Section 219(4) also states – if the husband rapes his wife during within the confinements of marital relationship between them, he will be liable to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
As per a data, a total of 1,480 rape cases were recorded across the country in the fiscal year 2017/18 and 1,137 were registered in the fiscal year 2016/17. The recorded number of rape cases shows at least four new rape cases are registered in police stations daily out of which most of them remains unsolved, or awaiting a court’s sentencing.
In addition, Nepal too witnesses such abominable crimes – new rape cases are heard daily without any substantial penal for such offences. In the past seven days alone, these cases have been registered across the nation. A 21-year-old was arrested from Ilam following an incident of rape/murder case of a 17-year-old. 3 perpetrators were arrested for raping a 17-year-old girl in a truck in Thankot, and another 28-year-old was arrested in Kohalpur for raping a 21-year-old.
As rapes, sexual assaults and incidents of gender based violence continue unabated in Nepal – is it time we revisit our laws? Will that be a deterrent?