Supreme Court dismisses plea to make rape a gender-neutral offence

A view of the Supreme Court of India.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

Why are certain crimes like rape in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) targeting men alone?

Why cannot women also be the perpetrators of crimes like under Section 375 b (insertion of foreign objects into the private parts of a woman)?

These are the questions that the Supreme Court faced on Friday morning from a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, which it finally dismissed.

The judges on the Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reacted with different questions, all voicing an opinion that it is up to Parliament to gauge the changed social circumstances, and may be revamp the colonial penal code.

“So you are saying that a woman can stalk a man. Well, the law is open for change. Let Parliament look into it,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed.

“Provisions like rape are women protective”

Chief Justice Misra said provisions like rape were “women protective” and cannot be used to make women perpetrators.

“Have you ever seen a woman file a complaint against a woman for rape? There are different sections for that,” Chief Justice Misra said.

The petitioner-in-person, advocate Rishi Malhotra, said the term ‘man,’ wherever it is used in the definition of crimes under the IPC, should be replaced by ‘whoever,’ thus making the crime applicable for both men and women.

He claimed that the IPC was violative of the fundamental right against discrimination on the basis of gender enumerated in Article 15 of the Constitution.

The Chief Justice responded, observing that Article 15 was specifically intended to protect women and children from discrimination.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 2:13:44 AM |

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