Experts for finetuning laws on crimes against women

Experts for finetuning laws on crimes against women

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics show that certain sections of the population are more vulnerable to sexual violence than others, said Sneha Visakha, research fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

She was talking at a discussion on ‘Making Bengaluru safer: Women’s safety and autonomy in the city’, organised at the Bangalore International Centre on Tuesday. Experts from various field took part in the discussion. 

“The NCRB figures show that most crimes against SC/ST are that of sexual violence. Should we have separate laws for them on violence suffered by them?” she asked.

S T Ramesh, former Inspector General of Police, said: “...the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is not helpful. We need reforms in these procedures as they are colonial and Victorian. For example, when rape laws were reformed, new categories of crimes were created. But it is a penal law. The investigation will happen according to the CrPC. So without making changes in the procedure laws don’t help.”

He objected to the use of words like ‘eve-teasing’ under the Karnataka Police Act 1963. “For a range of crimes from whistling at a woman, to sexually assaulting her, this term is used, which is problematic, he said.

Akkai Padmashali, founder of Ondade, an NGO, said even sections like ‘outraging the modesty of a woman’ was problematic as who defines modesty of a woman was a question.

Rathna Isaac, psychologist and trainer said suppression of sexuality is often equated with suppression of sexual violence. But they are not the same. 

“If one thinks not talking about sex or sexuality prevents crimes against women, it is wrong. The more we talk about it, the more solutions we arrive at,” she said.