Kalpana Kannabiran, “Rethinking the law on sexual assault”

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“Human rights groups combating sexual assault, women’s groups and groups working on child rights have come together to reflect on the extent to which the proposed Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2010 addresses concerns on the ground.”

…”Broadly, rather than viewing ‘sexual assault’ as a mechanical substitute for ‘rape’ under Section 375 of the IPC, the effort of rights groups has been to think through the feasibility of formulating a chapter on sexual violence/atrocity that will define a range of such violence in a manner in which the focus shifts from the penetrative logic of definitions hitherto used to the assaultive nature sexual violence. Effecting this shift has implications for procedural law and the law of evidence as well — carefully calibrating the shift in burden of proof and eliminating the two finger test, for instance — both of which are being examined alongside the penal code provisions, with a clear understanding that procedural and evidentiary guarantees upholding universal human rights standards will not be derogated in the course of redefining the law on sexual assault.”

Kalpana Kannabiran, “Rethinking the law on sexual assault,” The Hindu, June 3, 2010.

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