Changes in criminal code offer relief to rape victims

Last Updated: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 23:51

New Delhi: Completing rape case trials in two months, getting women judges to hear rape cases as far as practicable and recording victims` statements at places of their choice... these are some of the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that the government brought into force Thursday.

"The statement of a victim of rape shall be recorded at her residence and, as far as practicable, by a woman police officer in the presence of the victim`s parents or guardian, or a social worker," the home ministry said in a statement following the union cabinet`s approval.

Some other amendments provide for laying down procedures for arresting women and also stipulating that an arrested person be examined immediately by a medical officer.

The changes in the CrPC also provide safeguards in the case of an enquiry against a person of unsound mind and incorporates a new Section 357A that obliges every state government to prepare a scheme for providing funds to compensate the victim of a crime or his or her dependents.

The ministry pointed out that three provisions were not being notified for the present.

These are Sections 5, 6 and 21(b) of the amended act and relate to the power of a police officer to make an arrest and the power of the court to grant or refuse adjournments.

"Representations were received against these provisions. Hence, they were referred to the Law Commission," the statement added.

Other amendments are: Offences under Section 376 and Sections 376A to 376D IPC
shall be tried, as far as practicable, by a Court presided
over by a woman Judge.

Laying down the procedure in the case of arrest of a
woman.

Stipulating that an arrested person shall be examined
immediately by a medical officer.

Prescribing that the statement of a victim of rape shall
be recorded at her residence and, as far as practicable, by a
woman police officer in the presence of the victim`s parents
or guardian, or a social worker.

Enabling recording of statements/confessions by
audio-video electronic means.

Mandatory inclusion of statements of witnesses under
Section 161 in the case diary.

Stipulating that the trial of an offence under Sections
376 to 376D IPC shall, as far as possible, be completed within
two months.

Revision of the tables under Section 320 CrPC regarding
offences which can be compounded and the person by whom
offence may be compounded.

Providing safeguards in the case of an enquiry against a
person of unsound mind.

Incorporating a new Section 357A obliging every State
Government to prepare a scheme for providing funds for
compensating the victim of a crime or his dependents.

Providing for execution of bond by a person seeking bail
pending an appeal.
Some other provisions have also been amended, it said.

Three provisions are not being notified for the present.

These are Sections 5, 6 and 21(b) of the Amendment Act which
relate to the power of a police officer to make an arrest and
the power of the Court to grant or refuse adjournments.

Representations were received against these provisions.
Hence, they were referred to the Law Commission. The Law
Commission held consultations and submitted its report.

On the basis of the report an Amendment Bill has been
approved by the Cabinet. It could not be introduced in the
last session of the Parliament and will be introduced in the
Budget Session.

Pending the passage of the Amendment Bill and pending a
debate in Parliament, it has been decided not to notify these
three provisions for the present, the release said.

The CrPC was amended in 2006 but the amended Act was not
brought into force so far.

Agencies inputs



First Published: Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 23:51

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