July 30, 2018
Saugata Roy speaks on The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018
Sir, firstly, I want to clarify that I have given a statutory resolution against this Ordinance, but that was only because the Government was taking the Ordinance route, which is anti-democratic. I have nothing against the Bill which strives to make the punishment for rapes of minor girls more strengthened.
Let me say that I speak with a lot of anguish when I speak on the Bill. I feel as a political class we are failed our women, our sisters and mothers. We wait for an incident to happen, which shakes the conscience of the nation, and then we bring a legislation. Legislation should proceed to social change not follow it. We had to wait for Nirbhaya to be murdered before we bought the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. We had to wait for the Kathua girl to be raped and murdered before the government suddenly had a knee-jerk reaction and came out with an Ordinance. We had to wait for lynching all over the country before the Home Minister announced a committee to be set up.
This is not the job of Parliament. Parliament should always foresee what is the necessity for society and bring legislations before an incident happens. We have seen what happens when the Government brings legislation in a hurry. I do not know whether the hon Minister Kiren Rijiju has read the Bill well.
Here it has been mentioned in Section C that “when a woman under 16 years of age is raped”. Is a girl under 16 years of age ia woman or should she be called a girl? Don’t the officers of you department know English? It has been said that when a woman under 12 years of age – Is a girl child under 12 years of age a woman or a girl? Can you not correct these things? There are no officers to look into it?
It says, “when a woman under 12 years of age is raped by one or more persons.” Now, when a man rapes, it is into a gangrape; so it should have been ‘two or more persons’. Instead you have written ‘one or more persons’. What sort of legal knowledge do these people have? Mr Rijiju you should look into legislation before you bring the Bill before the House
Then you have talked about fine: “provided that the fine should be just reasonable to meet the medical expenses and the rehabilitation of the victims.” Now this is ambiguous. See the Motor Vehicles Act. It is mentioned that the fine will be such and such to compensate. You did not specify any amount. So you leave it to the judge to decide what the amount is. Why haven’t you prescribed a minimum fine for the very offence? Then the law would have been right.
I do hope, and I ask the table whether the Government has brought any amendment. You have not brought any amendment to correct your blatant mistakes. I think you should acknowledge your mistake and write about it.
Sir, before this Bill came, I was approached by several lawyers in Delhi belonging to the Supreme Court. They came and told me that they are against death penalty and they do not think that death penalty is a deterrent to rape. I thought for one day whether what they were saying is right, whether we are proving ourselves to be bloodthirsty by asking for death penalty for rapists. Then my conscience told me, no! Those who rape children of 16 or 12 years do not deserve any mercy. Let them die, if it is proved. And that is why I support this Bill.
This is not being bloodthirsty, this is being just, and that is justice. What is just is that these ‘animals’ who can… think of the Kathua girl, who was raped by several persons inside a temple as it was mentioned and then killed. Do these people demand any mercy, any sympathy in the name of law, I do not think so. Think of Baba Ram Rahim, Asaram Bapu and all these Godmen turning into rapists. Think what they are doing. They deserve the maximum punishment. Think of the incidents which have taken place in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh. I will tell you what the situation is in Madhya Pradesh.
Sir, what I also want to tell you is that all this is bringing a bad name to our country. India is the world’s most dangerous country, due to high risk of sexual violence, followed by war-torn Afghanistan, and Syria, according to a poll of global experts released on June 26, 2018.
Sir, I would also like to inform that 43 percent of rape victims in India are minors. Out of every 20 rape victims in India, one is a child under 12 years of age. The NCRB report also says that out of that, age group 12 to 16 is 37.8 per cent. So, 37.8 plus 5 percent, ie, 42.8 percent of those rape victims are under 18 years of age. This is a dangerous propensity if I may tell you.
Next, and I will wind up shortly, is what are the number of rapes in Madhya Pradesh. The total number of POCSO cases pending in court is the highest in Maharashtra followed by Uttar Pradesh, followed by Madhya Pradesh. And if you really look at rape numbers I would like to mention the numbers <interruptions>
Madhya Pradesh is 4908. Uttar Pradesh is 4817. Maharashtra is 4216. Rajasthan is 3657 and Delhi is 2117. So who is the highest? Madhya Pradesh. These are NCRB figures. <interruptions>