Only 32% of rape cases ended in conviction in 2017

Witnesses turning hostile during trial affect conviction rate, says police officer

Less than a third of rape cases heard by the courts ended in conviction in 2017, data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has revealed.

Out of a total of 18,099 rape cases decided by various courts in 2017, the State was able to secure conviction in only 5,822 cases.

67% chance of acquittal

This means that a rape accused has 67% chance of acquittal.

The same year, Delhi secured convictions in 690 rape cases, out of a total of 2,076 rape cases heard by the local courts 67% — a conviction rate similar to the national average at 32.2%.

Watch | How Indian Laws on Sexual Crimes Have Evolved?

When asked about the poor conviction rate in cases of crimes against women, a senior officer said the cases are dealt on priority and a chargesheet is filed within 60 days, but during the trial, either the witnesses turn hostile or lack of statement from eyewitness delays the process, thus affecting conviction rate.

Advocate Meera Bhatia, who is assisting the Delhi High Court as amicus curiae in a case initiated after the December 16, 2012, gang rape case to improve safety of women in the city, said that in many cases, the victim is from a poor background.

No support for victims

Lack of counselling facilities and support lead to witnesses turning hostile in many cases, she said, adding that delay in investigation and trial also result in fewer convictions as the victims do not want to pursue protracted litigation. A 2013 research paper published in the International Journal of Education and Psychological Research titled An Analytical Study of Rape in Delhi had said that 81% of the victims were from lower socio-economic background. It had said that these groups are less aware of their rights, and often they are in search of income.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 6:41:29 PM |

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