News & Events

Faculty Seminar | Rape adjudication in India in the aftermath of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013: Findings from trial courts of Delhi

April 7, 2021

The paper was presented by Preeti Pratishruti Dash, Assistant Professor of Law, NLSIU.

Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 (CLA-2013) on rape adjudication, by examining 1635 rape judgments from trial courts of Delhi pronounced between 2013 and 2018.

Of these, 726 cases were adjudicated under the old law, of which 16.11% resulted in convictions and 909 cases were adjudicated under the CLA-2013, of which 5.72% resulted in convictions. Analysing this data, the paper argues that absence of engagement with criminal justice literature linking mandatory minimum punishments with higher acquittal rates, led to unintended consequences, like reduced convictions under the CLA-2013. The paper also finds similar patterns between nature of rapes and reasons for acquittal under both laws, highlighting that mere legal reform, unaccompanied by governance and social reform, does not yield far-reaching results. The paper concludes by questioning the use of criminal law as a site for feminist reform.

Read the full paper here.