Even as the country has toughened its laws on sexual offences, crimes against women are on an upsurge in the city. Testimony to this is the statistics revealed by the Mumbai police, which shows a 43% increase in the number of rape cases in the first six months (till June 15) of 2014, as compared to the corresponding period of last year. From 191 last year, the numbers has jumped to 273. The police has, however, revealed that in 95% of these cases, the victim is known to the accused and 90% of the acts have been purely "consensual". This year, 237 people were arrested while last year 175 were arrested in the first six months.
DCP Mahesh Patil, spokesperson of the Mumbai police, said, "Most of the times, the rape case is filed following an affair that went sour. That apart, as per the law, we have to arrest the person if he ends up having an affair with a minor and the parents file a complaint. In all these cases, the act is consensual but we have to arrest the accused on charge of rape." Therefore, due to an increase in awareness, many a time, the law is misused and several cases are recorded, majority of which do not stand in the court of law due to to the technicalities of the case, said the police.
The increase in the number of rape cases is also attributed to increased awareness among women following the Nirbhaya case. Milind Bharambe, additional commisioner of police, (W) region, said, "Although most cases registered are technical in nature, we do have more women coming forward to register cases. Majority of the complaints are from people belonging to lower middle class and middle class backgrounds. In cases where it was consensual, we try and defer the case till substantial evidence is collected. However, as per law, we have to arrest the accused and produce him in court."
According to women's rights activists, while the atrocities against women are on the rise, many are using the law to seek vengeance and for monetary compensation from the accused following an affair that went sour. Abha Singh, women's rights activist and lawyer, said, "The conviction rate in rape cases is only 16% in India, simply because most of these acts were consensual and do not stand in the court of law. There should be further amendment in the law where there is a clear demarcation of rape that is consensual/technical and that is forced. A separate section should be invoked under the IPC to define technical rape."
January 1 to June 14, 2014
Number of rape cases: 273
January 1 to June 14, 2013
Number of rape cases: 191
Increase: By 43% (82 cases)