New Delhi: The Government is working on to
replace the word "rape" from Indian Penal Code with "sexual
assault" to broaden the ambit of crimes covered under the
sections and make the provisions gender-neutral.
The Home Ministry is working on a draft bill which will
replace the word `rape` from nearly 150-year-old Indian Penal
Code with `sexual assault` in order to broaden the ambit of
crimes covered, official sources said.
As per section 375 of IPC, penetration is sufficient to
constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of
rape but with the proposed replacements coming in, the sexual
assault will also cover crimes like sodomy, fingering,
insertion of foreign object and other similar offences which
do not come under present definition of rape, sources said.
The proposal will also make "sexual assault" gender
neutral which implies that relevant sections of IPC can be
slapped on accused of any gender who has committed the crime,
The provisions can be imposed on sexual crimes inflicted
on women, men and children thus broadening the reach.
The sources said the move is seen as a way to harmonise
the provisions of law to prevent sexual crimes among
homosexuals with homosexuality being decriminalised by a Delhi
High Court order last year. The Home Ministry has sought the views of Law Ministry
on the proposed bill to give it a final shape.
According to the latest data by the Ministry of Home
Affairs, cases of child rape continue to rise as a total of
4,721 cases were registered during 2006, 5,045 in 2007 and
5,446 in 2008 across the country.
The data also indicated that over two lakh women were
victims of sexual crimes in the country during the period
2006-2008. On an average, about 191 women every day were
either victims of rape, sexual harassment or molestation in
three years from 2006.
The figures show a total of 61,552 cases of rape were
registered during 2006-2008 in the country. While 19,348 cases
were registered in 2006, the number rose to 20,737 in 2007 and
to 21,467 in 2008.
Similarly, a total of 33,130 cases of sexual harassment
(eve-teasing) were registered in the country between
While 9,966 such cases were registered in 2006, the
number rose to 10,950 in 2007 and to 12,214 in 2008.
As far as molestation cases are concerned, a total of
1,15,764 cases were registered during 2006-2008.
In total, 2.10 lakh cases were registered during the
same period either under sections related to rape, sexual
harassment or molestation.