SC Dismisses Plea To Make Rape, Sexual Assault A Gender-Neutral Offence
February 2nd, 2018
Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea which sought to make rape and sexual assault a gender-neutral offence. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra, termed the petition as ‘imaginative,’ reported Live Law.
“These [laws] are affirmative provisions for the protection of women, and in their favour, we cannot agree with your argument. This appears to us like an imaginative petition. Actually, these are valid classification,” said the bench.
The petition was filed by Supreme Court Lawyer Rishi Malhotra claiming crime had no gender. “Women commit crimes for the same reasons that men do. The law does not and should not distinguish between criminals, and every person who has committed an offence is liable to punishment under the Code,” he argued.
The petition also argued that rape was seen across the extremes of age, sex, and geographical boundaries. “Thus, it is only the development and application of a gender-neutral law that will be effective in improving the reporting and registering of such crimes,” said the petition.
Justice Misra claimed that IPC did not favour any discrimination by gender and it was highlighted in Article 15. They said that the article was intended to protect the women and children from discrimination. The Bench also observed that the amendment of legislation was the authority of the parliament.
“We are not saying a woman cannot rape a man, but these come under a different offence under the IPC. Even if we feel that the legislation should have been gender-neutral, what we feel is that the legislature would have acted as per what was the urgent requirement,” the bench said.
The Logical Indian Take
Sexual harassment and rape are not specific to women. Men get raped too. It is society’s idea of masculinity that attaches certain stigma with men getting raped or sexually harassed and makes it even more difficult for a man to share his experience. Yes, it is good to know that the Supreme Court is thinking of protecting women, but it is true that men need protection as well. Anybody can get raped or sexually harassed, it is not gender specific.