Experts hail ordinance on crimes against women

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 12:30

Pune: The police and the lawyers have welcomed the the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, which brings in many amendments in laws on crimes against women, Experts say the ordinance will strengthen cases and help in getting better conviction rate.

Recently, the Pune police received a copy of the ordinance passed two months ago, bringing in revision of sections pertaining to cases of violence against women. For example, rape is now known as sexual offence. Some cases of women receiving threat calls or lewd SMSes that were earlier filed as non-cognisable offences are now taken seriously with filing of first information reports (FIR).

Lawyers and police officers welcomed the move and said it will help in getting more convictions too since the new sections are more precise and specific.The Criminal law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, amended the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

One example is section 326 of IPC that deals with voluntarily causing grievous hurt. The section now has sub-sections such as 326 (A-B) on use of acid or any corrosive character or burning with a natural chemical and is a cognisable and non-bailable offence.

The cases will be tried by a sessions judge and the imprisonment would be for a term not less than 10 years, which can extend to imprisonment for life and fine up to Rs10 lakh.

Advocate SK Jain said that such strict laws are welcome. “However, this needs to be followed up with honest investigations or it would not give relief to the affected person. Moreover, if a person is convicted for such offences, a person shall be disqualified for government contract, loan from financial institution or hold political positions for lifetime. There should be sufficient number of courts and trial should be over in 6 months.”

Smita Jadhav, inspector incharge of women’s grievance redressal cell attached to the city police said the amendment is a good move.

“Earlier, when a victim would approach us complaining about blank calls or lewd SMSes, we used to report the case under the IPC provision dealing with any word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a women. It was non-cognisable and we would just summon the offender. Now we have stronger sections. Now rape will be addressed as sexual assault and a new provision about repeat offenders is added with imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life,” she said.

Some new provisions of law

Earlier, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 section 354 dealt with assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty. Now the section has become non-bailable and is tried by judicial magistrate (first class) and is punishable with imprisonment from one year to five years. Plus there is a bifurcation of the sub-sections in the IPC.

IPC section 354-A(1) deals with sexual harassment. The imprisonment extends to 5 years. Section 354-B(2) deals with sexual remarks and imprisonment of one year.

Section 354B deals with assault or use of criminal force on women. The imprisonment is not less than 3 years and extends to 7 years.

Section 354C deals with voyeurism which mean watching or capturing the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed by the perpetrators.

Section 354D deals with stalking and the imprisonment is for not less then 1 year and extends to three years and is non-bailable.

Section 326 deals with voluntarily causing grievance or hurt and now has sub-sections 326 (A-B) that deals with use of acid, any corrosive character or burning with a natural chemical. This will be cognisable and non-bailable. The cases will be tried by a sessions judge and the imprisonment is for not less than 10 years and may extend to imprisonment for life and fine of up to Rs10 lakh.

DNA

First Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 12:30

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