Report No. 135
3.2. Custodial rape.-
One can note, at the outset, the special safeguards provided by the law to prevent harassment, exploitation and sexual abuse of women. In regard to the substantive law, two changes made in the provisions of the Indian penal Code relating to rape and allied offences must be noted at this stage. The Criminal Law Amendment Act (43 of 1983), focussing its attention on custodial rape, has, in the first place, made the punishment for such rape more stringent.
For this purpose, section 376(2) of the Code, as inserted in 1983, deals specifically with rape by a police officer in certain circumstances (including rape of a woman in his custody), rape committed by a public servant on a woman in his custody as such public servant, rape by a person who is on the management or staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody or of a women's or children's institution, when the rape is committed in respect of an inmate of such jail, etc., and rape by a person who is on the management or staff of a hospital, when the rape is committed on a woman in that hospital.
For such custodial rape, the minimum punishment laid down in section 376(2) is rigorous imprisonment up to ten years, which is higher than the minimum punishment of seven years imprisonment prescribed for an ordinary case of rape of course, in both the cases, the imprisonment can be for life.
The legally prescribed minimum can be relaxed by the court for adequate and special reasons, to be recorded in writing, "Hospital", as defined in the Code includes, inter alia, an institution for the reception and treatment of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation.