Inefficient system adds insult to injury for rape victims in State

As many as 4,479 rape victims in Karnataka registered cases against their attackers over a period of 10 years, braving social stigma. Many have even endured long legal battles in the hope of getting justice. However, only seven per cent of these victims have been able to see their attackers being brought to book.

According to rape case statistics, of both women and children, maintained by the Karnataka State Crime Records Bureau, of the 4,479 cases registered between 2003 and
October 2012, only 315 of those accused in the crimes were convicted, while 1,344 were acquitted.

As many as 39 accused have remained ‘undetected’, while six of them passed away before the judgment could be pronounced.

In addition, as many as 344 cases are still ‘under investigation’ — reflecting the manner in which the police pursue the cases. Some of the pending cases date back to 2003.
With the large amount of publicity surrounding the the Delhi rape case, people of the State, especially women, have been vocal in registering their outrage.

‘Onus lies with citizens’

DG&IGP L K Pachau told this paper that his department cannot be held entirely responsible for the low conviction rate.

“There are many loopholes which need to be plugged. Furthermore, the rape of women or children is a social issue and the onus lies with every citizen, to take necessary precautions — the police cannot be ever present. Will you as a parent send your daughter out alone at night? You will not. If such cases are reported in isolated areas, then the police cannot be blamed. Not all rape cases are preventable,” he said.

He said the lackadaisical approach of the Forensic Sciences wing was one of the major contributing factors for low convictions and pendency of cases.

“Yes, a major chunk of the responsibility is with the department. But, we aren’t trying the cases. We are furnishing the medical report, which is a crucial element. Also, in most instances, the witnesses or the victims turn hostile, making it very difficult for the investigating officers,” he added.

Pachau, however, concedes that there is room for improvement. “The department needs to educate its personnel on handling such senstive  gender issues. There should be a quick response by police. The existing laws are sufficient,” he said.

‘Police light on offenders’

Advocate Geetha Menon, who handles rape cases, accused the police of treating crimes lightly.

“It is a huge racket where police act as intermediaries between the accused and the victims. They strike a deal with the accused or extort money from him. A small share is given to the family of the victim, who are often in a poor socio-economic background,” she said.

“The police are also negligent in recording cases which botches up investigations. The Forensic department is equally corrupt. It is a regular affair for them to change a report for a bribe,” she added.

The police, along with some organisations, bring about a “compromise” between the accused and the victims, she said, to explain for how many of the cases become resolved.

Statistics of neglect

Total number of rape cases (both women and children) recorded in the State between 2003 and 2012 and disposals.

* 2003     321    16     9     32    171    3    82    0    2    6    0   
* 2004    291    15    10    43    130    0    76    1    4    11    1   
* 2005    343    18    3    48    153    2    100    1    7    8    1
* 2006    400    29    8    44    177    6    117    3    4    11    1
* 2007    436    21    14    37    179    7    153    5    3    17    0
* 2008    446    21    7    40    177    5    181    2    6    6    1
* 2009    509    17    9    35    170    2    257    6    5    8    0
* 2010    586    17    10    31    149    1    342    18    4    13    1
* 2011    636    20    17    4    37    1    467    81    4    5    0
* 2012     511    7    5    1    1    0    269    227    0    0    1
(up to October)   
Total    4,479    174    87    315    1,344    27    2,044    344    39    85    6

Note: Rep – Reported; Trans – Transferred; Con – Convictions; Acq – Acquittals; Comp- Compromise; PT – Pending Trial; UI – Under Investigation; UN – Undetected; OD – Other Disposals.

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