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Criminal law in India! Ah, India, a country which is a mixture of heterogeneous masses spread over its territory; the way there is diversity amongst people similarly there are a lot of diverse laws- dealing with different subject matter in India which includes laws ranging from criminal and civil matters to the succession, inheritance etc. Laws are made on each and every subject and nothing is left out. Here we are going to focus on criminal laws and their effect on society.

In India, for the first time, criminal law was codified as early as 1860 when the Indian Penal code, 1860[1] came into force. This act is substantive and defines various acts which are to be considered a crime and thereby prescribes the punishment for the same. Since 1860 the society has undergone a vast change and hence there was a need to change and mould the law as per the societal conditions. Hence many amendments have been made in I.P.C. since then but the major amendment was the one of the year 2013 in which whole new amendment called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013[2] was passed. This act was passed owing to the horrific Nirbhaya Rape case[3] which happened in December 2012 which shocked the entire nation. In this case, a 23-year-old girl was brutally raped by 5 persons (one of whom was a juvenile) in such a bad condition that her whole intestines were removed from her body and she died later on. Owing to such a horrific case, the parliament was compelled to pass the amendment act of 2013. It has included some major changes in this act. The major change brought by this act is that if a person commits rape and at that time he is between the age of 16- 18 years, he should be treated as a major and punished accordingly[4]. Justice Verma Committee[5] made some recommendations on laws relating to rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, child sexual abuse, medical examination of victims, police, educational reforms and even recommended quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault against women.

After passing the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, it was thought that the whole of the ongoing rape crimes will either come to a halt or decline but even though passing of such an Act and increasing punishment, it has till now not stopped the offenders from committing such heinous crime and now such crimes are increased and are done more brutally. The recent example of this is the Kathua Rape case[6] which again shook the whole nation wherein a girl of 8 years was brutally raped in a temple by some 2-3 persons and thereafter killed by them. She was just 8 years old. After such an inhuman act, the President was compelled to pass an ordinance increasing the punishment for such crimes to a greater one which later on became an act. This act has punished the offenders severely even to the life imprisonment or death sentence in case rape is committed on a girl below 12 years of age or if she is subjected to gang rape in such a tender age[7].

 After passing this amendment of 2018, it was then expected that the rape crime will end in the society but then there comes another example of the recent Bihar Shelter home rape case[8] wherein the orphan girls were sexually assaulted and raped by the very owner therein. Day in and day out in the newspapers there are cases of rape being committed on a girl of 6 months to a lady of 80 years; we are heading towards a society wherein there are many many laws but no enforcement and this is compelling people to commit more and more crimes.

These laws with their severe punishment have not been able to instil fear in the minds of the individual. They think they can take the law in their hands and nothing will happen to them. The mindset of the people should be law governs the society and not the society governs the law.

The amendments in the criminal law were seriously been made to stop the ongoing crime which was taking a severe form but the major problem with India is we make a hell lot of laws on even a minute subject-matter but the implementation is left hanging and no one bothers to implement the laws seriously and sincerely. The people here are committing more crimes because they know the judicial process which takes a lot of time, which is very slow and they even are aware of the loopholes of law which ultimately passes the judgment in their favour due to the lack of evidence though the judge himself knows he is guilty nothing can be done. In our country like India, people feel if they have money and power, they can keep the law in their pocket and mould it accordingly as per their need. This mindset is a serious hindrance which is coming in the way of our development and the principle of fair justice because in such cases the poor and innocent suffer. We should adopt the principle of “LAW BEING SUPREME” in the strict sense.

Any amendment is useless if not implemented and hence we need to work in the direction of IMPLEMENTATION so that such amendments in criminal laws have a positive effect on society rather than the negative one.

People should feel-











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