Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defines the offence of ‘rape’ as an act that is heinous and criminal. The section states that the offence is committed when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman without her will or knowledge, against her consent or with a minor. The act of penetration is sufficient to prove the charges of rape.
Following are the situations in which the person is charged under Section 375, IPC i.e.
- Without her will/consent.
- With her consent but the same was obtained by putting her or someone close to hurt them.
- With her consent but in the belief that she is consenting to her husband and the man is aware and knows he is not.
- With consent, but the woman was unable to understand the nature or consequences of the act.
- With her consent or without but the woman is a minor/below 16 years.
There are two exceptions to this section:
- Any medical intervention or treatment shall not constitute rape.
- Sexual intercourse with wife above 15 years of age shall not constitute rape.
- Mukesh & Anr v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors. (2012) [Nirbhaya Case]:
In this case, a 23-year-old medical student was returning home after watching a movie with a friend. She boarded a bus, where she was brutally gang-raped and assaulted by six people. After the incident, the girl and her friend were thrown out of the bus naked and severely injured. The victim died in Singapore during her treatment.
The Supreme Court awarded the death penalty to four out of the six men involved in the incident. One of them was a juvenile and was convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board. One of them committed suicide before the decision was taken.
- Harpal Singh & Others v. State of Himachal Pradesh (1980)
A minor girl was sent by her mother to visit her aunt in their village. On her way, she was informed by the accused that her brother has been lying in the dispensary in a severely sick condition. The girl rushed to the dispensary after which the accused and two other men had sexual intercourse with her. Later recused, she was asked to remain silent by the family. The accused claimed that she was used to the intercourse and consented to the same.
The SC held that it was clear that the girl was a minor at the time of this incident and that even if she consented it would amount to no consent. The accused were held liable for rape under Section 376 of IPC.
- Dileep Singh v. State of Bihar (2004)
The victim and the accused were neighbours, who later fell in love with each other. The accused forced the girl for sexual intercourse and promised to marry her if they continue to have sexual relations. The girl’s parents found out about their relationship when she got pregnant and decided to file a report against the accused. The accused denied and claimed that he never forced her and that she consented to the sexual relationship.
The court held the accused liable under Section 375 and said that even if the girl consented and that consent is based on fraud, it is equal to no consent.
- State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh (1996)
The victim was a Grade 10 student. She was abducted while returning home from school and was raped. The accused threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
The court held the accused liable for the offence of rape. Along with this judgment, a few guidelines were also given like the trial of sexual offences should be recorded on-camera in a female judge’s presence and that the victim should not be harassed or humiliated during cross-questioning.
- Tulsidas Kanolkar v. The State of Goa (2003)
The victim was mentally impaired, and the accused took advantage of the same to have sexual intercourse with her. The family got to know about this when they found out that the victim was pregnant.
It was held that the accused took advantage of the victim’s illness and inability to understand the nature and consequences of the acts.