Conviction rate for rape cases is only 27.2 %

Conviction rate for rape cases is only 27.2 %

Women and children during a dharna against rape incidents at Rajghat in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

Rapists are on the prowl looking for their victims but police are increasingly failing to get them jailed. Statistics show that sexual assault cases were on the rise in 2018 but the conviction rate dropped by five percentage points.

Also, 88.7% of cases, which had reached the courts, are pending trial. The 'Crime in India 2018' report by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), put in the public domain on Thursday, showed rape cases rose to 33,356 in 2018 from 32,559 in the previous year.

The more dismal story is that the conviction rate has dropped from 32.2% to 27.2%, indicating lacunae in investigations and inability in providing tangible evidence in courts to prove the cases against the perpetrators.

The latest figures come at a time when there is a fresh debate on speedy trial in rape cases, amid a local court issuing death warrants to four convicts in the infamous Nirbhaya rape-cum-murder case.

In 2018, Maharashtra (5,433) and Rajasthan (4,337) topped the list of ignominy followed by Rajasthan (4,337) and Uttar Pradesh (3,946). Across India, 41,117 people were arrested on rape charges. Of the total, 9,433 victims in 9,312 cases were aged below 18 years. Karnataka had 497 victims, including four minors, in 492 rape cases reported in 2018.

The figures showed that the number of cases pending trial also rose to 1.38 lakh in 2018-end compared to 1.27 lakh in 2017-end.

In 2018, a total of 1.56 lakh rape cases were on trial, including 28,469 that were added in the year. Of this, trial was completed in 17,313 cases, 111,33 were acquitted and conviction happened only in 4,708 cases.

Of the 4,708 convictions, only 666 related to the cases that went to trial in 2018, reflecting the delay in completing the court proceedings in rape cases. According to the report, 5,969 people, including 48 women, were convicted on rape charges while 14,391, including 214 women, were acquitted. The women were charged for aiding rapes.

It also said police had found 2,875 cases in 2018 to be false while there was insufficient evidence in 1,093 cases to proceed. Police also filed charge sheets in 28,469 cases.

RAPE and COURTS

Pending trial from previous years – 1,27,858
Sent for trial during 2018 – 28,469
Total cases for trial – 1,56,327
Abated by court – 50
Withdrawn from prosecution – 17
Compounded or compromised – 209
Disposed off by plea bargaining – 38
Quashed – 58
Disposed off without trial – 372
Stayed or sent to record room – 45
Convicted out of cases from previous year – 4,042
Convicted out of cases during 2018 – 666
Total cases convicted – 4,708
Discharged – 1,472
Acquitted – 11133
Trials completed – 17,313
Pending trial at 2018-end– 1,38,642
Conviction rate – 27.2%
Pendency percentage – 88.7%

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