Sunday, 31 May 2020

Price Of Rape

Updated: February 25, 2012 10:20 am

Following the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which are due to a Delhi High Court order, passed a few months back, the Delhi government has decided to give compensation to rape and acid attack victims in the national capital. The compensation is aimed at helping victims financially.

As per notification, a rape victim will be given a maximum of Rs 3 lakh as compensation and a minimum of Rs 2 lakh within two months. In the case of loss of life, the maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a minimum compensation of Rs 3 lakh will be given. Acid attacked victims will also be given Rs 3 lakh if their faces are disfigured.

Other victims of acid attacks will be given Rs 50,000. According to notification, in case of loss of any limb or part of body resulting in 80 per cent permanent disability or above will be given a maximum of Rs 3 lakh and a minimum of Rs 2 lakh will be given as compensation. The notification said that ‘victim compensation fund’ should be created.

Rape cases are rising in the capital, according to records with the Delhi Police. Statistics show that 568 rape cases (including that of minors) were reported in 2011, as compared to 507 in 2010.

After Chandigarh, the national capital will be second state to implement the compensation scheme to rape and acid attack victims.

According to notification, 75 per cent amount of compensation will be put in a fixed deposit for a minimum period of three years and the remaining 25 per cent will be available for utilisation and initial expenses by the victim/dependents. In the case of a minor, 80 per cent of the amount of compensation will be deposited in the fixed deposit amount and that amount will be drawn only on attainment of the age of majority but not before three years of the deposit.

It will be worthwhile to have a look at the crime against women all over the country. It is a fact that not even 25 per cent cases are registerd by the police due to a multipilicity of reasons, including inadequate infrastructure, lack of man power, under training or no training and corruption. Less registration of crime figures shows that the crime is under control, as statistical approach is followed both by the government and senior officers.

From 2004 to 2008, for which figures are available the following were the number of rape cases registered with the police all over the country: 18,233 (2004), 18,359 (2005), 19,348 (2006), 20,737 (2007), 21,467 (2008).

In other words as per the 2008 official figures of the National Crime Records Bureau 2.45 rape cases are committed every one hour or a rape case every 24.48 minutes. The kidnapping or abduction figures for the same period are as under; 15,578 (2004), 15,750 (2005), 17,414 (2006), 20,416 (2007), 22,939 (2008).

The scheme is good as far as it goes, but the question arises, as to how many such schemes should be run at the cost of the honest tax payer, who is in no way involved in such cases. If the scheme for compensation to the rape victims is extended only to the above category in the whole country, the cash component itself will work out over Rs 645 crore for the year 2008. Also why leave out the false victims of rape allegations? Who will compensate them and how will their reputation be retrieved?

If compensation is to be given, then why leave out dowry deaths, or cases of molestation or cruelty by the husband or relative or sexual harassment?

It is true that all crime is crime against the State. But in reality whatever may be said in defence of this legal theory, any crime is actually against a victim, who suffers a double onslaught of first being exposed to the humiliation, wrong and misdemeanour and then make repeated appearances in the court to prove her case.

State is vicariously responsible in not making adequate arrangements for prevention of such a crime. Accordig to a Delhi Police report, ninety per cent plus perpetrators of the crime of rape are known to the victims and often they happen to be a member of the family or neighbours or domestic help. There is no law which requires the violators to compensate the victime of the crime. Our primeval and ancient laws were framed in 1863 and the same have been governing us, when the population was not even one fifth of the present number and people feared the might of the law. After Indpendence we have gone overboard to protect the rights of the criminals rather than the sufferer. Every law, whether criminal or civil should have a built in clause of damages and reparation.

It, in no way, helps the victim to see her perpetrator in jail, for a number of years. There also the State has to pay for her boarding and lodging. At least the well off accused, scamsters and perpetrators of crime against women must be made for their stay in jail, apart from confiscating their property to compensate the victim and the State, for expenses incurred on their prosecution. There is no doubt that incidents of rapes by the taxi drivers, truck drivers, teachers and by the close relatives are on the rise. It is also to change the law to make a minimum mandatory jail sentence for such criminals indulging in rape. If under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Act, a minimum jail sentence can be prescribed for ten years and in some cases, death sentence, surely rape is a more serious offence than possession of drugs.

Our government believes and assures the people that the deterrence will work, in the form of having a strong defence services and latest weapons,. But when the time comes to put some deterrence in the violation of law, they develop cold feet.

Let us stop pretending we can ensure safety and security of women, despite all the work the police may do. We have to try the above approach to have a safe India for women. Government does not have to be told that rapists have been publicly killed by women and even burnt alive as in Andhra and Karnataka recently, out of sheer frustration that nothing will come out for years by following the due process of law. Before lynching becomes common, as it is now happening odd cases, the government should deal with this problem sternly and put the onus on the accused to prove that he was not guilty. This can be done, if the government wills it by blocking all escape routes for them.

Live with no excuses, live with no regrets, when life gives you 100 of reasons to cry, show life that you have 1,000 of reasons to smile.

 By Joginder Singh

(The author is former Director, CBI)

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