Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Heinous Crimes against Women in India

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Heinous Crimes against Women in India

Article excerpt

Introduction

Women play a major role in the socioeconomic growth of society; a nation can't prosper until women are safe. Although women's rights are secured under the Indian constitution, their vulnerability hasn't decreased over time. In fact, incidences of violent crime against women that fall under the Indian penal code have increased by 46% over the past decade. In 2014, the latest year for which data are available, every day an average of 101 women were raped, 157 women were kidnapped and 23 killed over dowry. Moreover, crime against women in India goes underreported, especially in rape cases, due to social stigma attached to it. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are known for their extremely underreported crime rate (Gupta, 2014). Moreover, many women do not complain against crime because of family honor. Most of the time, offenders are family members or friends. Often, police do not give a fair hearing, particularly to women in weaker sections of society; even if cases get registered, justice is delayed or denied due to lack of evidence, particularly in rape and kidnapping cases. Obstruction of justice increases more if offenders are socially, economically, and politically powerful.

The main aim of this study is to analyze the crimes against women in India at the national as well as at the state and union territory levels. It also attempts to identify the major issues related to crime against women and discuss countermeasures that would have potential to curtail the crimes. The study primarily focuses on heinous crimes like kidnapping and abduction, rapes, and dowry deaths. The primary source of data for the study is Crime Against Women in India, 1991 to 2014 published by the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.

The analysis shows that, from 1991 to 2014, the total for heinous crimes against women in India grew 5.9% per year. During the same period, kidnapping and abduction grew 6.9% per year, rape cases increased 5.9% per year, and dowry deaths increased 2.2% per year. Accordingly, the incidence of heinous crimes per 100,000 women in the country increased from 6.7 in 1991 to 17.1 in 2014. The heinous crime rate varies across states and union territories; in 2014, it varied from 2.5 in Puducherry and Lakshadweep to 69.6 in Delhi. In 2014, there were 15 out of 35 states and union territories that faced a higher heinous crime rate than the all-India average. Change in the rate also varies across states and union territories; from 1991 to 2014, 15 out of 35 states and union territories recorded a higher increase in the crime rate than that in the country (4.2% per year). Nagaland (11%), Odisha (8.8%), Punjab (8.0%), Bihar (6.9%), and Kerala (6.5%) are some of the states that faced a rapid increase in their annual crime rate from 1991 to 2014. However, four union territories of the country experienced a decrease in their crime rate. In general, cities in India faced a higher crime rate than that in the rural areas. In 2013, Delhi (61.5), Patna (48.0), Jaipur (40.7), Indore (37.0), Lucknow (26.3), Varanasi (24.8), and Bhopal (24.2) are some of the cities that faced a 50% higher crime rate than the all-India average (15.8).

This study is organized into five sections. The second section analyzes heinous crimes against women at the national level. The third compares heinous crimes against women across states and union territories, and in selected cities. The fourth section discusses the way forward to check the crimes. The conclusion is presented in the fifth section.

Analysis of heinous crimes against women at the national level

Crimes against women in India have increased rapidly over the years. Incidences have increased at the rate of 5.9% per year from 27,250 in 1991 to 102,501 in 2014 (Table 1). From 1991 to 2014, incidences of rapes, kidnapping and abduction, and dowry deaths increased at the rate of 5.9%, 6.9%, and 2.2%, respectively. Moreover, the county witnessed a very rapid increase since 2010; incidences of such heinous crimes increased at the rate of 14. …

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