ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Law, Ideology and Female Sexuality

The Law Commission recommendations for a new law on sexual assault and deletion of Section 377 has shifted the discourse on rape law amendment to a plea for complete gender neutrality for victims and violators alike. But while this does little to protect vulnerable sections of the population, a gender neutral rape law may open up avenues for inflicting greater trauma and humiliation on a section, already marginalised, and thereby defeat the very purpose of the reform.

Women: Rape and the Law

The incident took plate in a village police station in Nagpur district more than eight years ago. By the time the story begins, Mathura, then aged between 14 and 16, had developed a 'relationship' with Ashok, the cousin of Nushi at whose house she used to work, and had begun to live with him. On March 26, 1978, Gatna, Mathura's brother, lodged a report that Mathura, his sister, had been 'kidnapped' by Nushi, her husband, and Ashok. They were all brought to the police station at about 9 pm when their statements were recorded. When everyone started leaving the police station around 10.30 pm, Tukaram, the head constable and Ganpat a constable directed that Mathura remain at the police station. What happened thereafter is that she was first raped by Ganpat and, after him, by Tukaram, who however only molested her because he was too drunk to forcibly have sexual intercourse with Mathura.

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