Lifestyle & Belief

India's laws face sea changes in wake of Delhi gang rape case


Indian protestors march behind a banner as they take part in a candlelight procession in Guwahati on December 29, 2012, after the death of a gang rape victim from the Indian capital New Delhi. Indian leaders appealed for calm and security forces headed off fresh unrest by turning New Delhi into a fortress after a student who was savagely gang-raped died in a Singapore hospital. Police threw a ring of steel around the centre of the Indian capital after news of the 23-year-old medical student's death was broken in the early hours by the Singapore hospital that had been treating her for the last two days.



In the wake of the brutal gang rape that left a 23-year-old medical student dead, India has been faced with angry protesters who demanded that the country reckon with its culture of violence against women.

It seems that the government may be taking heed, at least in some respects, as new laws, amendments, and tactics are being put in place to prevent brutal crimes like the one that has shaken Delhi, India, and the world. 

Rapists' profiles go up online 

Police officers in the northern state of Haryana have begun uploading names and details about convicted rapists to a government website Friday, in the hopes of being able to catch criminals before they commit crimes, IBN Live reported

The database will hold information about at least 2,500 rapists convicted over the past 10 years, according to a senior police official. 

The identities of their victims will remain concealed, however, State crime records bureau director Laik Ram Dabbas told Niti Central

Juveniles to be tried as adults in sexual assault cases 

Currently, India's laws protect criminals under the age of 18 from full sentences, capping their maximum sentencing to three years at a juvenile detention center. 

One of the six who allegedly gang-raped the 23-year-old was 17 at the time of the crime, and could walk free with just a few months sentencing under the current laws, the Times of India reported

However, Women and child development minister Krishna Tirath has said that the Juvenile Justice Act will be amended so that those over 15 years old who are charged with sexual assault crimes can be tried as adults in a regular court of law, according to the Hindustan Times

“Instead of lowering the age, we want to address this issue by making the law tough and seek exemption for juveniles charged with heinous crimes such as rape to be treated as adults,” Tirath said. 

Politicians facing criminal charges targeted by new petition

India's corrupt politicians have also come under fire in the shadows of the gang rape, and a new petition to be heard by the country's Supreme Court is looking to curb their political powers. 

The petition, which will be heard starting January 8, seeks to stop politicians with criminal charges from contesting elections, the Wall Street Journal reported. The ban would extend from village council elections up to the national Parliament, according to Lily Thomas, a lawyer who filed the petition.

“Given the recent incident of gang rape, the petition becomes more urgent and obvious. We wish for an early decision, but we are not sure,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, a retired professor and a founder of the non-profit Association for Democratic Reforms, one of the petition's supporters.