Report No. 84
1.4. Suggestions for amendment.-
Besides the reference made by the Government, the Commission has also received a suggestion1 for considering certain changes in the law of rape. The points made in the suggestion have been duly considered by the Commission. The Commission has also made an attempt to ascertain the views of organisations interested in the subject, as also of one of the Members of Parliament who had in a letter addressed to the Government suggested, reforms on certain points which we have carefully considered. The Commission is grateful to them for their co-operation.
While our consideration of the question was in full progress, we also received from the Ministry of Law2 a copy of a letter addressed by the Bhagini Samaj, Bombay to the Minister for Law, stating that women in villages and Harijan women were molested and that cases of rape of women were increasing in the country. The Samaj had, in the letter, also made suggestions for amendment of the law on certain points, including a suggestion that women police should interview and interrogate women who were molested, that the trial should be held in camera and that well-known women's associations should be selected to "examine and deal with" such cases. The various points made in the letter of the Samaj have been duly taken by us into consideration.
The Ministry of Law has also forwarded to us a letter3 of the Maharashtra State Women's Council, enclosing copy of a resolution passed by that body as to the increasing incidence of rape, and making certain suggestions in brief for amendment of the law. The suggestions in the main are that the law should be radically altered, that the burden of proving innocence should be on the accused, and so on. Certain recent judicial decisions4 in India have also provoked a debate as to the deficiencies-real or supposed-of the law relating to rape and allied offences.
1. Suggestion made by the Lawyers Collective, Bombay, Letter No. IJ/ES/22/80, dated 18th March, 1980.
2. Endorsement No. 1807/80-Adv. A, dated 16th April, 1980 from Shri P.K. Kartha, Joint Secretary & Legal Adviser, Department of Legal Affairs forwarding a copy of letter dated 7th April, 1980 addressed by the Bhagini Samaj, Bombay to the Minister for Law.
2. Letter No. 233/80, dated 8th April, 1980 from Maharashtra State Women's Council to the Minister for Law.
3. Tukarant v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1979 SC 185 (January).