‘Rape’ is an antonym of human rights. The Indian justice system has enacted strict laws that aim to act as a deterrent against this heinous crime. However, lawmakers have time and again felt that the existing laws are inadequate. Thus, amendments have played a pivotal role to aid continuous development to make India safer for women. One such amendment was enacted in 2018 to strengthen the laws against rape. This article is a critique of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018.
The Amendment has modified laws related to rape under the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act to ensure that its effects trickle down to every relevant legislation. However, innumerable gaps, conflicting and impractical provisions obliterate its intended purpose. We argue against the provisions that seem game-changing to a layman who is oblivious to its convoluted intricacies.
The article, towards the end, equips the reader with the analysis of the Act through the lenses of various theories of justice. We deduce that the Act looks at ‘justice’ with a victim-centric perspective only, thereby ignoring the fact that all accused are not guilty. It appears that lawmakers have legislated the Act behind the veil of ignorance and neglected its consequences. Thus, concluding that this failure to transform Niti i.e., policies into Nyaya i.e., their social realisation, goes against Amartya Sen’s concept of justice. Unless policies are converted into justice, they are meaningless.