Report No. 172
Changes recommended in the Indian Penal Code, 1860
3.1. Substitution of definition of 'rape' by definition of 'sexual assault'.-
Not only women but young boys, are being increasingly subjected to forced sexual assaults. Forced sexual assault causes no less trauma and psychological damage to a boy than to a girl subjected to such offence. Boys and girls both are being subjected to oral sexual intercourse too. According to some social activists like Ms Sheela Barse, both young girls and boys are being regularly used for all kinds of sexual acts and sexual perversions in certain tourist centres like Goa - mainly for edification of the foreign tourists. Sakshi have also recommended for widening the scope of the offence in section 375 and to make it gender neutral. Some of the Western countries have already done this.
It is also necessary to include under this new definition (sexual assault) not only penile penetration but also penetration by any other part of the body (like finger or toe) or by any other object. Explanation to section 375 has also been substituted by us to say that penetration to any extent whatsoever shall be deemed to be penetration for the purpose of this section. This is so provided for the reason that in the case of children, penetration is rarely complete - for physical reasons. So far as the Exception is concerned, we have retained the existing Exception the only change made being in the matter of age; we have raised the age of the `wife' from fifteen to sixteen. The age of the person assaulted sexually referred to in the clause "sixthly" has also been raised to sixteen from fifteen.
3.1.1. We may also mention that in redrafting the section, we have stuck to the existing provision as far as possible. This is for the reason that since these provisions have already been interpreted and elucidated by the decisions of the courts, it is better to stick to them rather than use new expressions and new wording. In drafting clauses (a) to (e) in section 375, we have drawn inspiration from the Criminal Law Western Australia.