Gender Neutral Rape Laws : A Need of the Hour?

 By Aanya Gupta, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, GGSIPU.

Rape is the fourth most prominent crime in India, it is a crime that is assumed to be done against women by a man but have we ever thought vice versa? with time it has been seen that other genders such as males, homosexuals, and the transgender community is also sexually affected by this crime. However, rape can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, sexual attitude. Though there are a large number of cases, most of them are not reported as people presume that their pride will be lost when it is disclosed to society that they have been victims of this atrocious crime. People have less knowledge about such things. That’s why there is a need of the hour that people should have knowledge about such crimes. 

First, we have to accept the fact that the victim and perpetrator of rape can be of any gender and it can take place anywhere in school, office, prisons, workplaces, coaching, etc. It is a reality that there is no room for an adult male or transgender victims under Indian laws. There is a growing need to pass gender-neutral legislation. We consider that human bodies are clearly either male or female and turn a blind eye to violence suffered by those who violate the normative understanding of what it means to be a man and a woman. The law dealing with rape has been provided under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code and is based on the pre assumptions that the offence of rape can only be committed by a male upon a female. This view does not conform to the central idea of equality and equal protection of the law as written down in Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which makes sure equality before the law and equal protection of the law. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex. Article 15(3) of the constitution does allow the state government to make provisions for the upliftment of man. Even though rape on men and people of the transgender is less frequent, they cannot be denied their right to equality. The law that does the unreasonable classifications of certain sections of society is against the basic structure of the Indian constitution. 

The idea of gender neutrality was introduced for the first time in the case of Sudesh Jhaku vs Kc Jhaku by the Delhi High Court where the court said that the protection of the law against sexual assault must be extended to men as well. It was only by the criminal law amendment bill 2012 that a legislative change was proposed, for the first time providing for a gender-neutral definition of rape.The same, however, failed to acquire the sanction of law amidst the massive socio-political uproar caused by the famous Nirbhaya rape case. Justice Verma committee formed in 2012 favours the gender-neutral laws and there were some other sections like stalking, and voyeurism that has been added in the Indian penal code. The Gazette of India published the criminal law amendment ordinance 2013 containing the view of the committee. but it was repealed by the criminal law amendment act 2013 which is again gender-specific. 

Seventy-seven countries have already established and accepted gender-neutral laws. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and  Denmark are some countries. According to a victim survey of British and American males have reported at least one incidence of sexual assaults in their lifetime. It recognised various acts which were not offences earlier, thus giving scope to every victim to access justice. Putting it all into perspective, the criminal law amendment bill 2019 aims to make such progress, when its calls for a gender-neutral section that punishes any form of sexual assault. It is to be noted that Indian society has progressed a lot in the 21st century. It not only recognised the third gender to exist but also identified them as a part of the Indian society. Making laws gender-neutral will only help more victims seek help and justice and will in no way undermine the priority of one gender.

Views expressed are the author’s own, 

Law Daily neither endorses nor is responsible for them.


Post a Comment


  1. Very nicely written. Congratulations Aanya. Proud of you๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  2. I think this might be a very genuine issue. Though such an assault is less frequent in out country, it is important that a platform is provided to other genders to report such a crime openly without shame. The article reminds me of court trials from the movie 'aitraaz'.

  3. Its time we truly acknowledge and accept this fact and live in a society which is more gender neutral! And no one gender can be stereotyped

  4. Very informative ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ’ฏ

  5. Truely proud of you to reconsider this topic which is quite sensitive to deal with, in this society.

  6. Very well and explicitly reproduced. Keep it up, bravo..

    Though gender neutral rape laws should be prevailing however, immense protection, immediate stricter actions and punishment under law should be for woman rape cases since the proportion of such crimes are much much higher in our society than any other gender crimes..