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Published On: 3rd May, 2024

Authored By: Prasad C. Mali
MIT World Peace University, Pune


Rape is one of the most heinous crimes that is committed all over the world. In India, rape is the top fourth crime committed across the country. According to the reports of NRCB, India witnesses 86 rape cases every single day. Most of these issues go unnoticed because most people are unaware of the punishment and later consequences after committing the offence of rape.

This article discusses about the definition and types of rape, legal definition, and punishments in India. The detailed importance of consent and its role in determining the rape has been provided. The central theme revolves around rape as a crime that not only causes physical harm but also creates long-term emotional, physical, and psychological trauma to the victims. This text also highlights the severe impact of rape on the society. Stressing the urgency of addressing these crimes promptly to prevent further harm and trauma to the victims.


In India, crime against women is committed the most, sexual assault and rape are the most common thing in India which are often being ignored. We live in a society where people give more importance to political conflicts between parties rather than talking and solving problems about rape cases which are happening in the country on a daily basis. There are various punishments mentioned in the Indian penal code of 1860 after committing such a heinous crime. But still, people commit it. The main reason here is there are not much stricter laws regarding the punishment after committing rape of women. There are so many cases where the accused has literally walked off from jail after committing such a heinous crime. And there are also cases where government officials have refused to register the rape case. All this happens in the country due to corrupt government officials and loopholes in the judiciary. Women don’t even feel safe to move out late at night on the street. As seen in the case of Priyanka Reddy rape case and Nirbhaya gang rape case. We live in a society where we always talk about women’s safety but do nothing to make it better. This article discusses the meaning of rape and its classification, the meaning of “Consent” and the punishment given to the accused.


The author has referred to the following literature for this article:

Title – Rape Laws In India: All You Need To Know 1

URL — https://www.boomlive.in/law/rape-laws-in-india-all-you-need-to-know-10169

Author: Ritika Jain

This article has helped the author to understand the definition of rape, its punishments and consequences.

Title – Landmark Judgements That Shaped The Rape Laws In India 2

URL – https://www.lawinsider.in/columns/landmark-judgements-that-shaped-the-rape-laws-in-india

Author – K. Manoggnya Reddy

This article talked about landmark judgments like Muskesh & Anr. V. State of NCT of Delhi & OR’s (2017) also known as the Nirbhaya gang rape case. This article has helped the author in examining the punishment given to rape accused who have committed gang rape. article.

Title – What Is Rape? What Are The Laws And Rights Of Rape Victims In India?3

URL — https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-8693-what-is-rape-what-are-the-laws-and-rights-of-rape-victims-in-india.html

This article has helped the author in understanding the rights of rape victims.

Title – Rape in India 4

URL — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_India#Definition_in_Indian_Penal_Code

This article has helped the author to find the data on a number of rape crimes committed in the country.


  1. To analyse the legal definition and the classification of rape in India.
  2. To examine the concept of Consent in cases of rape by including landmark cases.
  3. To evaluate the existing punishment for rape in India as per the Indian Penal Code, with a focus on the severity of penalties based on various circumstances.
  4. To assess the life of the rape victim, including physical, emotional, and psychological consequences.
  5. To address the need for stricter penalties and expedited justice for the victims and their families.


Rape – What Does It Actually Mean?

The word Rape, which has been derived from a Latin word rapio, which means to seize. In layman’s language, it means the ravishment of a woman without her consent or against her own will. It is defined as any unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, mouth or anus of another person, be it a man or woman, with or without force, by a sex organ, any other body parts, or any foreign object, without her consent amounts to rape.

The first time “Rape” was mentioned in our legal structure was when the Indian Penal Code was written in the 1860s. In India. Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the NCRB5 data, there are 31,676 rape cases get registered across the country. On average 87 cases are registered daily. As it is a punishable offence in India, there are laws which define rape and its punishments. For example, in the Indian Penal Code, of 1860, the term “Rape” has been defined under sections 375 to section 377.

Different Types of Rape

  1. Aggravated Rape
  • Forced sexual act by any threat of bodily injury or threat of death.
  • Having sexual intercourse with a child less than 12 years old.
  • Forced sex acts involving unconscious or drugged victims
  • The punishment under aggravated rape is imprisonment of 10 or life imprisonment, which shall be discussed later in the article.
  1. Crime of Rape & murder
  • During or after the rape is committed the woman dies or comes into the vegetative stage, said to have committed the offence of the crime of rape and murder. The punishment is a death sentence or lifetime imprisonment in jail, which also shall be discussed further in the article.
  1. Gang Rape
  • The rape is committed by a group of people at the same time with the same women then it is said to be the offence of gang rape. It is mentioned in Section 376D IPC. The punishment for gang rape is for 20 years of rigorous imprisonment or death sentence, which can be determined at the time of judgement.
  1. Repeat Offenders
  • It is mentioned in the Section 376E IPC. it gives death sentences to repeat offenders.

The Section 375 of Indian Penal Code6 says that:

A man is said to commit “rape” if he—

  1. Penetrates his penis, into the vagina, anus, mouth or urethra of a body of a woman or makes her do so with him;


  1. Penetrates any object in her body, manipulates her body to cause a penetration;


  1. Applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, or urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person.

Under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:

  1. Against her own will
  2. Without her consent
  3. With her consent, but that consent has been obtained by her in fear of any other person whom she is interested in, in fear of death or any kind of hurt which will cause to her or that person.
  4. With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her own husband and that the consent is given because she believes that there is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  5. With her consent, at the time of giving or obtaining the consent, by a reason of unsoundness of mind or any intoxication given to her personally by him or any other person.
  6. With or without her consent, when she is a minor, she is under eighteen years of age.
  7. When she unable to communicate the consent


Consent is defined as an Unequivocal voluntary agreement when women communicate a willingness to engage in a specific sexual act through words gestures, or any other means of verbal or nonverbal communication. One of the most important things to be noticed here is one needs to examine whether consent is voluntary or not. This can be further clear by using this the the following case.

In the case of Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra7, in the year 1972, a minor girl was allegedly raped by two police officers. At that time, she was in police custody. The whole incident took place in Maharashtra at Desai gunj police station. The main issue of this case was consent and burden of proof. In the judgement, the session court explicitly mentioned that the defendants were not guilty due to the “voluntary consent” of the victim. It was held that the girl (named Mathura) gave her consent to sexual intercourse as she mentioned that she was habituated to it. The session court ruled that there is a difference between rape and having consensual sexual intercourse, and hence cannot be used in the same case. The case moved to the Bombay High Court, which observed that there was a difference between passive submission and consent. Here the court noticed that the girl (Mathura) as not given consent voluntarily but the consent was made due to the threat of arrest by police. Later the case went to the Supreme Court, the court observed that the girl did not possess or show any kind of injury on her body and that her consent was voluntary. The supreme court has finally ruled that it was the sexual intercourse and not a rape.


Section 376(1) of Indian Penal Code8 deals with punishment to the person who commits the offence of rape to be punished with a period of imprisonment, which shall not be less than 10 years; which may extend to life imprisonment and which would be rigorous imprisonment that depends on the injury that has caused to the rape victim.

Section 376(2) of IPC punishment for imprisonment for not less than 10 years which may extend to life imprisonment which is being imposed on any person who comes under the following points and commits the offence of rape;

  1. If a public servant or any government servant who is on duty commits rape with a woman who is in the custody of that public servant.
  2. If a person in the armed forces commits rape in an area where he is deployed.
  3. If a person who is working in a hospital or medical commits the offence of rape in that hospital where he is working
  4. If a person commits rape with a woman or a minor who is not capable of understating the consequences
  5. If a person commits the rape with a woman or a minor who is mentally or physically unsound or unwell.

Section 376(3) of IPC which was added by the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2018 provides punishment to the accused who has committed such an evil offence of rape with a woman who is a minor, under the age of sixteen years. It says that the person shall be given imprisonment for a period not less than 20 years.

By committing a rape, the person destroys the victim’s life completely, she may not be able to stay normal. She will always be stay in a fear of it getting committed again. She will be mentally and emotionally unstable. Which can be seen in the following case.

In the Muskesh & Anr. V. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors (2017)9. The case is popularly known as “Nirbhaya rape Case”. The rape was committed by a group of six men on a moving bus in Delhi. A 23-year-old girl, Nirbhaya was waiting for the bus late at night. She was forced to board the bus which had 5 passengers and 1 bus driver. Among them, one was a juvenile, a 17-year-old guy. All those six people committed this heinous crime and a brutal sexual assault. She was admitted to the hospital but due to multiple organ failure and internal bleeding, she passed away. The judgement by the Supreme Court was that four among six would be given a death sentence, whereas the juvenile who was 17 years old was sent to borstal youth detention for three years.

There are thousands of rape cases committed in India every single year. But how many victims get real justice? It affects the victim completely, be it physically or emotionally for the rest of their life. In cases like Priyankathethe   Reddy Rape10 case and the Nirbhaya case, the family gets affected and tortured the most. I would say that the Punishment for rape in India should be stricter and there should be no delay in giving justice to the victim and their family members. It is truly mentioned by Martin Luther King Jr in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” that “Justice too long Delayed is Justice Denied


The findings can be summarized here:

Firstly, this article states the importance of consent. Consent is one of the most crucial factors in detraining whether rape is committed or not. Secondly, impact on victims, the rape has severely affected the victim be it physically, emotionally and psychologically. Thirdly, the urgency of stricter penalties, the finding explicitly tells that there is an urgent need for stricter penalties for rapists in India.


In conclusion, I would like to say India needs a stricter punishment for the people who have committed the offence of rape. It not only affects the victim but society as a whole. and the judgement should be delivered as early as possible to give justice to the victim as it affects her emotionally, physically, and mentally.


  1. Ritika Jain, Rape Laws In India: All You Need To Know, boom live, 14 Oct 2020 2:30 AM GMT, https://www.boomlive.in/law/rape-laws-in-india-all-you-need-to-know-10169
  2. Manoggnya Reddy, Landmark Judgements That Shaped The Rape Laws In India, Sep 21, 2021, https://www.lawinsider.in/columns/landmark-judgements-that-shaped-the-rape-laws-in-india
  3. Rape in India, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-8693-what-is-rape-what-are-the-laws-and-rights-of-rape-victims-in-india.html
  4. Rape in India , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_India#Definition_in_Indian_Penal_Code
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_India#Definition_in_Indian_Penal_Code
  6. Indian Penal Code Section 375
  7. Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1979 SC 185
  8. Indian Penal Code Section 376
  9. Mukesh & Anr v. State For NCT of Delhi & Ors (2017) 6 SCC 1
  10. S.Mani vs Union Of India 2019 1253 SC

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