A five-member Committee for Reforms in Criminal Law has been set up by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs at the National Law University (Delhi). The vice-chancellor of NLU ( Delhi) is the chairperson and the members include G S Bajpai, registrar, NLU, Delhi, Balraj Chauhan, vice-chancellor of DNLU Jabalpur, Mahesh Jethmalani, senior advocate and G P Thareja, former district and sessions judge, Delhi.
The mandate of the committee is to recommend reforms in the criminal laws of the country in a principled, effective and efficient manner, which ensures the safety and security of the individual, the community and the nation and which prioritises the constitutional values of justice, dignity and inherent worth of the individual. In its wisdom, the committee has decided to commence “online” consultations at the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure that it has its report ready in the six-month time-frame fixed by the home ministry.
MyNation Hope Foundation which has been working on ground guiding Men fighting false cases, have collated all replies and sent their suggestions to the committee. Some of their responses are as below:
Q.1. Which principles regarding the object and nature of crime should guide the introduction of strict liability offences within the I.P.C.?
- A) Strict liability offences within the IPC should be introduced only in exceptional circumstances.
- B) Only direct, unimpeachable and unambiguous evidence should be allowed in the trial and no circumstantial evidence should be permitted
- C) Any mitigating circumstances must be given due consideration.
- D) Only an offence where it appears highly unlikely that the person accused could not have been aware of the consequences of his actions, should be categorized as a strict liability offence.
- E) In case of wrongful conviction the person so convicted should be entitled to proper compensation.
- F) Any person responsible for such wrongful conviction despite being aware of the innocence of the wrongfully accused person, should be meted severe punishment.
Q.2. Which strict liability offences should be included within the I.P.C.?
- A) Dereliction of duty by a judicial authority, police official, officer of the court or similar.
- B) Failure to take action against the false reporting of crimes or the filing of false charges in any forum.
1. C) Any action by any government officer that leads to loss of life or damage to property or endangers public health or safety.
- D) Any act of omission or commission on the part of the concerned authorities that either aids or actively promotes crime in society.
Q.3. Should the principles of sentencing in cases of strict liability offences differ from the general principles of sentencing?
It will depends on the facts of the case but in general as no mens rea is required to be established, the accused has no recourse to such defence and same must be considered as a factor favouring less severe punishment.
Q 14. What should be the standard of consent under s. 375 of the I.P.C.?
- 1) The definition of consent is such that any woman though consenting at the time of sex with a man can easily claim that she did not give any consent later on in any legal proceeding that she may pursue for a variety of reasons including revenge, greed, blackmail, extortion etc.. so that this section is particularly prone to misuse. As the consequences can be devastating not only for the man falsely accused but also for his entire family which may extend to several years even, therefore the word consent needs to be very exactly described without leaving any loopholes that may be exploited by a false accuser.
- 2) One means of establishing consent or lack of the same would be to mandate that any persons desiring to have sex with each other should be required to first give such consent in writing – this may seem extreme but seeing how easily consent can be withdrawn after committing the act thus putting the partner in serious risk of destroying his life – therefore such a proposition may be fully justified in today’s world. Should such a law be made it must then be publicized in the widest way possible after which there would be no doubt about which cases constitute actual rape and which do not.
- 3) The most controversial part is the Consent in cases of “Sex on The Pretext of Marriage”. By definition “Sex on The Pretext of Marriage” should be under Contract Law in which one party becomes liable to legal action if it fails to oblige the contract terms. But according to Indian law the intimate relationship between two individuals is not a contract. It is also erroneous to assume that an adult woman, who knows all the consequences of such a relationship, is allured into a physical relationship on false promise. That this is a very biased approach and is easily seen by simply reversing genders when the question will arise that “should a woman be punished if she has turned back from her marriage promise?” The law is made on the notion that a man is a sex hungry monster and a woman is always a victim of sexual crime. Similarly, a rape case filed by bride’s relatives on bridegroom, when they are not happy with their marriage, should not be allowed. If such laws need to be made then they should be gender neutral. Also, to minimize the misuse of laws we need strong provisions in the law of torts and in the perjury laws.
- 4) It should be the responsibility of the complainant to submit all the evidence at the time of filing a complaint and no further evidence should be accepted if a substantial period of time has elapsed, since such evidence may indicate fabrications by the complainant to mislead the police and the judiciary. The rape Laws in India are prejudiced and are widely misused by women because current rape laws are female-centric and do not provide any protection to men. .According to the report submitted by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in 2014, 53% of reported rapes in the year 2012-2013 were false. It is presumed or believed by law makers and our society that a woman can never lie in the matter of rape and sexual assault because it outrages her modesty and causes humiliation in the society, however they have not taken into account that we are living in the 21st century where there has been a major shift in societal attitudes, behavior and thinking.
- 5) Without professional psychological counseling, Consent between male and female is a really debatable topic and calculating consent so consent related parameters can be removed from IPC375.
Q.16. Should the marital rape exception (Exception 2) under s. 375 of the I.P.C. be deleted?
1) No, not without first making the provision gender neutral. Not doing so will only add to the multitude of gender biased laws that have been widely misused and due to which the institution of family is slowly but surely being destroyed. Also such a law will create an atmosphere of fear, distrust and unwanted tension in a marital relation.
2) The current sexual offence law does not specify any time limit to report the sexual offence this led to flood of fake rape cases in court of law. Without a time limit of reporting, the removal of exception 2 will lead to more fake cases which would be filled on malafide intention.
3) There is also the more fundamental question of how an innocent man would ever be able to defend himself against a false allegation by a vindictive wife as what takes place inside the bedroom is a matter between husband and wife covering a wide range of emotions, interactions and perceptions that neither the Legislature nor the Judiciary nor the Executive have any business interfering with.
4) If at all such a law is thought about then there there must be two prerequisites: that the law be gender neutral and that there be a requirement to obtain written consent before engaging in any sexual activity – if the second requirement is thought to be absurd then it show clearly that removing the exception without such prerequisites is also absurd..
Apart from Section 375, the Section 376A also, leaves a lot of doubts. It has to mandate the requirement of professional psychological counselors & trained medical personnel.
Consent cannot be so simply established or un-established. Decriminalize Section 376A & it should be applied only after thorough investigation. If a man & his wife have spent sufficient time together, then judicial order is a mere paper work, it is no one’s business to see if the sex has happened or not. Besides the judicial officers have no knowledge on personal matters. Hence referring to such court orders is null & void. It requires professional psychologist & medical counsellor to validate whether under what circumstances such act has happened. Officers of law don’t have qualifications or experience for this
Q.17. Should sexual offences be defined by employing gender-neutral terms for the offender and the victim?
Yes. By definition of law of natural justice, a sexual offence is a crime against a human. It is unconstitutional and unjust that such laws only made for a specific gender. Due to this in the past the men and transgender, who were victims of sexual offence, did not get justice. It is erroneous to make such laws which make only one specific gender the perpetrator of crime and other gender the victim of crime and assume that a man can only commit a sexual offence but not a female. It has been proven that a woman is equally capable to commit sexual offence like rape to a man…
If you wish to send in your response you can click on the link and register yourself as well. Do your bit today. Click Here.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, vide its Notification 1-2-19 Judicial Cell (Part I) dated 4-5-2020, has constituted a committee to recommend criminal reforms in India.
Register here & send your comments on behalf of thousands of innocent needing the reformhttps://t.co/D4fwdBMjH9
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