Friday, March 23, 2007

An analysis of recent Supreme Court rulings on crimes against women

Today's Indian Express carries a column by a member of the Delhi Commission for Women, Ranjana Kaul, who provides an analysis of recent Supreme Court rulings focusing on IPC provisions relating to crimes against women. It makes for stimulating reading, and also provides an overview of how the Court has approached this issue in recent times.

2 comments:

Protima said...

Thanks for this very informative posting. One very crucial aspect that should be examined along with the developments (or lack thereof) in the penal code is that of the evidentiary requirements for cases of violence against women. While we should celebrate small victories like the scrapping of the ‘moral character’ section 155(4) of the Evidence Act in late 2002, there is still a long way to go before crimes of violence against women are treated as all other crimes where the person undergoing trial is the accused and not the victim. Complicating several prosecutions of such crimes is the lack of awareness among first responders (police, hospitals, doctors or in many cases in India, family members) of what needs to be done to preserve evidence that a crime has been committed. Absence of this knowledge leads to collection of evidence that is insufficient, leading the courts to rely on the statements of the victim which then they seek to corroborate using traditional methods applied in all other cases, often resulting in the accused being set free. The courts, legislature and law enforcement have to work together to recognize the need to investigate and prosecute crimes of violence against women by keeping the women’s place in society as a background, by understanding and recognizing the role that a woman is expected to play in a traditional family set up and by realizing that crimes of violence against women are often committed in a setting where there is little chance of finding strong corroborating evidence. Any amendments to the penal code will have teeth only if there are parallel amendments made to the evidentiary laws allowing for more reliance on oral and circumstantial testimony in cases of violence against women.


P.S. Great Blog! It is on my weekly reading list and I enjoy it thoroughly! Keep posting! Thanks!

Arun Thiruvengadam said...

Dear Protima,

Thank you for your detailed analysis, and the words of encouragement. It would be great if you could include references for people who want to follow similar issues,

Best,

Arun