The trending topic of debate since the widely publicized gang-rape of a girl in Delhi has been the strengthening of anti-rape laws. The cause of injustice they say lies with the “weak laws”. As I read the report on the “Anti- Rape Bill”, I wonder how this will actually help us solve this ever-increasing problem.
The main issue of contention here is not the previous legislations, not the current laws, not the future bills but, the proper execution of the present legal provisions for women. Any person well versed in the field of law can tell you that the steep rise in crimes against women and the shockingly low conviction rate is not the absence of stringent laws but the non-presence of competent machinery to implement the rule of law.
It is quite remarkable to note that 3 days after the announcement of a new anti-rape bill was made, the newspaper contained 4 pieces on 4 separate incidents of rape and gang rape in different parts of the country which were not given the column space they demand. There may be numerous others which have gone unreported and unnoticed. The Delhi gang rape case has been put in a fast track court, but no concrete action has been taken for the other thousands of cases of brutality, assault and rape which have not been under public scrutiny but are and must be deemed equally important cases that are still awaiting justice.
Why the bias?
I am alarmed at how difficult the police make it for women to lodge a complaint for a violation of their bodily rights; it is as good as violating her all over again. It’s no wonder that majority of women would rather live with the trauma than attempt to fight for justice which is her constitutional right.
It is axiomatic that in order to have a smooth functioning state, all three organs of the state namely the legislative, the executive and the judiciary must work in sync with each other. Until the executive shoulder full responsibility of discharging their duty faithfully, the law alone cannot rescue us from the sorry state we are in.
If one asks me, as a human being, citizen of India and most importantly as a woman, I am not interested in which bill is being tabled or which political leader espouses my problems. I am solely bothered and affected by the attitude, honesty and faithfulness towards duty of the police officer that may file and investigate my case, the judiciary that may hear my matter and the media that may or may not try to publicize my plight.
All any woman wants and asks for is to be treated with respect, to be heard and not to be considered an object to be victimized, made subservient and humiliated at will by men who believe themselves to be a greater, more powerful being.
A law without the force of executive will only turn out to be a show piece, a fancy idea which is an elixir out of reach for the suppressed and broken masses.
“If we desire respect for the law, we must make the law respectable”. – Louis D. Brandeis
About the Author
A patriot and hopeful change maker, Riddhima is a believer in the power of women to change the world. She has studied Political Science with special reference to the feminist movement, feminist theory and the position of women in Indian politics. She is currently pursuing Law in the first year and hopes to specialize in women related laws and work with an organization in a related field. She enjoys public speaking and is not afraid to speak her mind. Sharma is a quick learner and is keen to gain new experiences especially in the areas of public policy, politics and strategy.