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IPC and Criminal Law (Amendment)

After the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad on November 28 and the burning of a rape survivor in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, on December 5, there has been a demand to make the criminal justice system tougher.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
‘Rape’ as a clearly defined offence was first introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 1860.
The rape law in India even today remains gender specific, as the perpetrator of the offence can only be a ‘man’. Section 375 of the IPC made punishable the act of sex by a man with a woman if it was done against her will or without her consent.
The definition of rape also included sex when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
Also, sex with or without her consent, when she is under 18 years is considered rape. However, under the exception, sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape.
Section 376 provided for seven years of jail term to life imprisonment to whoever commits the offence of rape.
Section 228A makes it punishable to disclose the identity of the victim of certain offences including rape.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013
The 2013 Act increased jail terms in most sexual assault cases and also provided for the death penalty in rape cases that cause death of the victim or leaves her in a vegetative state.
It also created new offences, such as use of criminal force on a woman with intent to disrobe, voyeurism and stalking.
The punishment for gang rape was increased to 20 years to life imprisonment from the earlier 10 years to life imprisonment.
It clearly defined offences such as use of unwelcome physical contact, words or gestures, demand or request for sexual favours, showing pornography against the will of a woman or making sexual remarks and allocated punishment.
Stalking was made punishable with up to three years in jail.
The offence of acid attack was increased to 10 years of imprisonment.
Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, for the first time put death penalty as a possible punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years; the minimum punishment is 20 years in jail.
Another new section was also inserted in the IPC to specifically deal with rape on a girl below 16 years. The provision made the offence punishable with minimum imprisonment of 20 years which may extend to imprisonment for life.
The minimum jail term for rape, which has remained unchanged since the introduction of the IPC in 1860, was increased from seven to 10 years. 

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