SC refuses to make rape law gender-neutral

SC refuses to make rape law gender-neutral

Plea said that even men can be molested

SC refuses to make rape law gender-neutral

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking to declare the offences of rape, sexual assault, outraging of modesty, voyeurism and stalking in the Indian Penal Code as gender-neutral.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said these provisions are the affirmative assertion to protect women.

Advocate Rishi Malhotra had contended that the crime of rape should be gender-neutral, making a woman also punishable for the offence.

Malhotra said in his petition that the law cannot be discriminatory against a man and that only he can be punished for the offences of rape and sexual assault.

"Crime has no gender and neither the law should be gender-specific. The words 'any man' used in the IPC should be removed. The law does not distinguish between criminals and every person, who has committed an offence, is liable for punishment irrespective of being a man or woman," he said.

During the proceedings, the bench asked the counsel, "So, you are saying a woman can also stalk a man. Have you ever seen a woman filing a complaint saying another woman raped her or stalked her? This is an imaginative situation. The law is open to change by Parliament as per social needs."

"We are not saying a woman cannot rape a man but for these offences, there are other provisions under the IPC," the bench added.