UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Urged to Intervene Against Custodial Rape

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New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights in its submission to visiting United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo in New Delhi today (23 April 2013) urged the Rapporteur to address custodial violence against women and girl children.  The UN Rapporteur is conducting an official visit to India from 22 April to 1 May 2013.

ACHR stated that in order to address custodial rape, the Government of India amended Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to “provide for mandatory judicial inquiry in case of death or disappearance of a person, or rape or a woman while in the custody of the police”. However, this provision is not being complied with.

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“Since the amendment of Section 176 of the CrPC in 2005, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had registered 39 cases of custodial rape from 2005 to 2010 including two (2) cases during 2009-2010, four (4) cases during 2008-2009, eighteen (18) cases during 2007-2008, ten (10) cases during 2006-2007 and five (5) cases during 2005-2006.  However, in most of these custodial rape cases, only magisterial inquiries and not judicial inquiries were ordered; and most accused police personnel were acquitted. Further, this amendment has failed to address rape in the custody of the armed forces and the Indian Army.”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Asian Centre for Human Rights also submitted its report, “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes” which stated that as per the National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a total of 48,338 child rape cases was recorded from 2001 to 2011 while India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases). Many of the child rape cases take place in juvenile justice homes established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (JJ (C&CPC) Act and sexual assault in the juvenile justice homes continues for a long period as the victims are not able to protest and suffer silently in the absence of any inspection by the authorities under the JJ(C&PC) Act.

“If the failure of the Government of India and the State Governments to establish Inspection Committees which are mandated to inspect the juvenile justice homes and report at least once in every three months is any indication, the Government has no seriousness to address offences against women and children.” – asserted Mr Chakma.

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the Special Rapporteur to recommend to the Government of India to repeal Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958 and such
analogous laws to remove the requirement of prior sanction for persecution, suit or other legal proceeding against any offences relating to sexual assault by the law enforcement personnel.

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