New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday wanted the
legislature to redefine the offence of rape while sentencing a
youth to ten years in jail for assaulting an 80-year-old woman
"This case sounds a wake-up call for Indian legislators
to step in and think about having a re-look at the definition
of rape so as to specifically include the instances of digital
rape/male rape and make the offence gender neutral or to
formulate a separate exhaustive legislation covering all
categories of cases of sexual assault similar to legislations
abroad," said Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau.
The court, which convicted the youth for committing the
offence of unnatural sex, termed the assault of the destitute
old woman as an incident covered in the category of "digital
rape" and sought recasting of laws to include such incidents.
Such offences be made "gender neutral", it said while
holding 19-year-old Pahlad guilty of abduction, forcing the
woman into an illicit intercourse against the order of the
nature, attempt to murder and digital rape.
Terming the case as an "eye opener", the court said it
was time for the legislature to take a serious note of the
extent of depravation which exists in Indian urban society,
victims of which are usually children and senior citizens
being easy targets.
The judgement came in a case of "digital rape" of an old
woman by Pahlad on the intervening night of May 19-20 last
year when she was sleeping in a shed in a park at Tri Nagar
The convict asked the victim to accompany him. On being
refused, he forcibly took her to bushes in a nearby park and
sexually assaulted her with a wooden stick.
The police said the elderly victim had been abandoned by
her family and she used to live in Tri Nagar where local
residents who used to give her food.
It said that on the following morning after the incident,
some passerby saw the unconscious woman in a critical
condition and took her to the hospital.
The court said there is a need for a re-look at the
existing law and for inclusion of "digital rape" within the
definition of rape.
"There is growing demand the world over for inclusion of
digital rape/male rape within the definition of rape and the
fact that it is cases like the present one which sometimes
reflects the institutional helplessness in appropriately
dealing with the crime on account of the lag in law," it said.
It also directed Delhi government to pay a compensation
of Rs 50,000 to the victim who is living in an old-age home at
Dwarka and directed the amount should be used for her welfare
as she requires constant medical assistance.
The judge said the penal provision for unnatural offence,
to a large extent, cover cases of offence committed against
order of nature but technically its applicability was limited
and by operation it becomes difficult to include certain
category of cases where the offence has been committed by the
offender with an object.
"It is only to cover all kinds of penetrations without a
person`s consent in any manner that the need for a re-look at
the existing laws has been necessitated," the court said.
It said the cause of such sexual assault could be the
"X-rated material easily available in market and on internet".