Business Law 1 – Research Paper
7th February, 2019
Rape is a very common phenomenon in India. Every day the number of cases is increasing at a very drastic rate. The number of rapes reported each year in Delhi, as we see, rose 277% from 572 in 2011 to 2,155 in 2016, according to Delhi Police data ("Rise in Reported Rape Cases in 2018, Police Data Reveals"). According to The United States Department of Justice Archives, Rape of a person is defined as "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." (The United States Department of Justice Archives). Every day, numerous rape cases take place and are reported across the nation. The case of Asifa Bano, an eight year-old devastated the nation and left women questioning the level of safety for themselves and others around them.
On 10th January 2018 Asifa Bano, an eight-year old, who lived in a village near Jammu and Kashmir went missing. That afternoon, she had gone to the forest and never returned. she went to Bring the horses back from the jungle. While she was asking around, a juvenile said he had seen them and led her to the jungle. Soon after, she sensed danger and tried to escape but the sufferer was caught by the neck. As a result, she fell and became unconscious. she was then raped in the forest and taken to the nearby temple where she was drugged and kept covered in plastic mats. (Bazaraa). While she was abducted, She was raped over and over again for the next few days. Later, she was strangled and stoned to death. Just before her head was hit by the rock, one of the officials insisted to rape the child once more (Bazaraa).
A few days later, her crumpled body which was now fully covered in blood and bruises was left in the forest ("Asifa Bano: This 8-year-old’s rape and murder is a horror story beyond sexual violence in India"). Shortly, On January 17th, The father of the victim was informed by the neighbors about the body of his daughter, Asifa Bano being found in the forest. "I knew something horrible had happened to my girl," Mr Pujwala, a 52-year-old with deep sunken eyes, told the BBC in an interview recently. His wife, Naseema Bibi, sat beside him, faintly crying while repeatedly murmuring "Asifa". she had been brutally raped and her condition was sicking. As noted in Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge, "She had been tortured. Her legs were broken," recalled Ms Naseema, who had rushed to the forest along with her husband to see the body. "Her nails had turned black and there were blue and red marks on her arm and fingers" (Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge").
Furthermore, The day she hadn’t returned home, The neighbors accompanied the victim’s parents and began to look for her around in the area. With the use of flashlights and other resources, they searched for her but did not end up finding her. Two days later, on 12 January, the family filed a police complaint. But, according to the father, the police were not helpful as the police infant blamed the child and said Asifa must have "eloped" with a boy ("Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge").
The horrific incident that took place spread like wildfire and left the globe speechless. People from all Around the world and of all ages showed their support for the little girl. The protest began in other cities of India as well. The hashtag #justiceforAsifa was formed and used by everyone including well-known celebrities, artists, musicians to get the criminals penalized. On April 13, 2018, Badshah, one of the extremely famous and well-known rap singer in the Bollywood industry tweeted, "#JusticeForAasifa #ActNow". Male actor, Farhan Akhtar, also expressed his concern on this matter by tweeting, It’s moments like this when a clear choice must be made. We can come together as a people to protect the lives and rights of our women & children
OR We can allow people to put personal agendas above law & humanity What kind of nation do We want to be? #Justice #Kathua #Unnao ("Musicians demand justice for Asifa Bano"). Moreover, besides the film and music industry, other notable beings shed light on this subject to spread awareness. Sania Mirza, A reputable tennis champion wrote, "Is this the kind of country we want to be known as to the world today? If we can’t stand up now for this 8-year-old girl regardless of our gender, caste, colour or religion then we don’t stand for anything in this world.. not even humanity.. makes me sick to the stomach," ("Justice for Asifa echoes globally").
The criminals who performed this dreadful criminal act turned out to be the police officers. "Sanji Ram, a 60-year-old retired government officer, who planned the crime with the help of other police officers were Surender Verma, Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj, and Mr Khajuria." Besides, The accused tried to hide the evidence as the investigation team claims that the police officers, who helped in searching and thoroughly scrutinizing the case washed off Asifa’s stained and mud-spattered clothes before sending them for inspection in the forensic lab. ("Asifa Bano: The child rape and murder that has Kashmir on edge"). Not only that but when the police started their search, they went to the small temple were Mr. Ram, one of the accused works. on asking him, he asserted that he had not seen the girl. However, according to the police department, at that very moment, the girl was inside, hidden, injured and on the verge of breaking apart ("Asifa Bano: This 8-year-old’s rape and murder is a horror story beyond sexual violence in India"). Moreover, Sanji Ram, the mastermind behind the scenes, tried to cover up by offering the government officials huge amount of bribes. As Patrick Knox states, "He is accused of trying to pay local officers 500,000 rupees (?5,400) to create false evidence as part of efforts to lead investigators away from him and his associates" (HELL ON EARTH Sex beast ‘begged to rape eight-year-old Asifa Bano one last time before she was strangled and stoned to death by gang in Hindu temple’)
This case was in a trial under the fast-track court as the crowd was fuming day by day due to the time that was been taken to come to a decision. It took 18 months for justice to be delivered. However, after a long and rough ride, the court found six men liable and guilty for the hideous act performed. "The Crime Branch arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested" (News18). The court filed charged against the accused under the ranger penal code, this is the main criminal code which is applicable in Jammu and Kashmir. "The court framed charges under the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), including Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang-rape), according to the prosecution .The court also framed charges of destruction of evidence and causing hurt by poisoning under Section 328 of the RPC. The two policemen Raj and Datta were also charged under Section 161 (public servant taking illegal gratification) of the RPC" (News18).
While the incident took place and was published in the media across nations, Section 228-A of the Indian penal code was violated. The Indian penal code being the main criminal code of India claims that disclosure of the identity of a victim in some cases can be a punishable offense. As a result, under Indian law, the name of the victim is not supposed to be publicized. however, the media exposed the identity (name, age, photograph) in every article posted and failed to comply with the law.
A primarily survey conducted to gain the insights on the rape culture that persists in India showed that, about 100% of the respondents agreed to the fact that the number of rape cases is increasing by answering "yes" to the question, "Are the number of rape cases in India increasing?". Moreover, another question on the time taken to solve the case was proposed to which many answered by choosing "long time" instead of "solved quickly". This highlights and proves that justice most of the time is delayed.
Due to excessive chaos in terms of the level of safety for children and women in India, the government took serious actions to abate these kinds of frighting acts. Annie Gowen, A correspondent on the National desk of The Washington Post, contends "Offenders who rape girls under 12 may now be subject to the death penalty in India, according to an ordinance passed by India’s cabinet Saturday after a nationwide furor over the rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl" (Gowen). Other changes included rapid investigation and trails to be done in 2 months of a span, accompanying with new forensic labs and fast-track courts to be added. However, on the other hand, Annie Gowen argues, "In 2012, another highly publicized case, prompted India to tighten its rape laws and set up fast-track courts .But incidents of reported rape have risen 60 percent since then, to 38,947 in 2016, according to National Crime Records Bureau data. A 2016 investigation by The Washington Post of nearly 400 fast-track rape courts found that those set up to speed the prosecution of rape cases do not always have the impact that advocates hope for" (Gowen). This Indicates how the laws aren’t that effective and hence, the society needs to stand up for one another.
According to my knowledge regarding Criminal law and from what I have learned in Business Law, Criminal law consists of two components, the mental intent and the act of performing the crime. If either of these is not present, then it’s not a crime. In this case, there was a mental intent, which was when innocent was led to the forest and then captured and was done wrong. There was a mental intent to do wrong, it was the plan to kidnap her and keep her in the Indian temple. As mentioned before, even during the investigation, the retired government official, Sanji ram lied to the police about not knowing where she was, hence there was the mental intent to cause harm. The physical act, in this case, is the continuous rape of the girl.
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