One year since Nirbhaya: Laws are stricter now

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One year since Nirbhaya: Laws are stricter now
New Delhi, Dec 16: It has been one year since a 23-year-old paramedical student was gangraped by a gang of four in the national capital city. One year has passed and nothing much has changed for women in Delhi.

Protests against sexual harassment have become stronger, police and judiciary have become more vigilant and women have become more cautious. And crimes against women? It's on a rise.

Police records say that number of sexual harassment cases registered has gone up post-Nirbhaya incident. Now more and more women dare to come out in public and protest against sexual harassment, thanks to the the unprecedented public support Nirbhaya received.

Times of India reports that, as per data available till October, complaints of rape went up by as much as 125 per cent, when compared to the first 10 months of 2012 and that of this year. The number of complaints has already crossed the limit of last year.

In 2012, 24,923 reported rapes were reported in the country, according to National Crime Records Bureau. However, only 24 per cent cases resulted in convictions.

Post-Nirbhaya, many laws were amended. And now there is provision for an increased sentence for rape convicts, including life-term and death sentence. Crimes such as acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism will be handled more strictly.

Laws amended

Various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act have been amended.

The modified law is better prepared to handle rape cases. According to it, a rape convict can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for at least 20 years. The punishment can be extended to the end of criminal's natural life.

Repeat offenders may receive death sentence and for the first time, stalking and voyeurism have been defined as non-bailable offences. Acid attack convicts can get a 10-year jail sentence.

Justice Usha Mehra commission was set up to check lapses on the part of authorities in solving cases. The commission also recommended many reforms to improve law and order situation in Delhi.

Government has also become more alert post-Nirbhaya.

It has now installed GPS in all public transport vehicles and has increased the number of public buses on roads.
Soon after Nirbhaya incident, court had directed police to crackdown on vehicles with tinted glasses and curtains. The police has also stepped up night patrolling in cities.

Juvenile law

One of the four men convicted in Nirbhaya case tried under juvenile law. This triggered protests from across the nation.

The Women and Child Development ministry has firmed up its view that juveniles in the age bracket of 16 to 18 years committing heinous crimes should not have the protection of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.

In July, the apex court of India had rejected petitions for lowering the age of juvenility from existing 18 years.

However, the court recently said it would reassess whether juvenility should be considered on a case to case basis keeping in view the maturity of the offender and the heinousness of the crime.

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