Barriers to Access to Justice for Rape Survivors in India

  • M. Vijay Bhaskar
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  • M. Vijay Bhaskar

    Assistant Professor at Capital Law College, Madhusudan Law University, Odisha, India

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More than ten years have passed since the barbaric Nirbhaya incident in 2012, when humanity was ashamed on all counts. More recently, the Hyderabad veterinarian rape and murder incident is another glaring example of the condition of women safety in India. Females in India irrespective of age continue to remain unsafe and the tales of rape survivors is even more tragic. According to Human Rights Watch rape survivors in India face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support services. According to the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, access to justice and fair treatment means victims should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity. They have every right to access the machinery of justice and to quick redress, provided by statutory provision, for the injustice that they have suffered. To ensure victims are provided redress through formal or informal procedures that are expeditious, fair, inexpensive and accessible, judicial and administrative mechanisms should be established and strengthened wherever necessary,. Victims should be informed of their rights in getting relief through such mechanisms. But unfortunately, in India women and girls who survive rape and other sexual violence often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals. For them access to justice leads to secondary victimization where they have to knock at each and every door of justice. Further, police are frequently unwilling to register their complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading “two-finger” tests. The tragic death of the Unnao rape survivor after being burnt alive by the accused bears testimony to the fact that access to justice for rape survivors is mirage. This hurdles to justice and dignity is further intensified by insufficient health facilities, counseling, and legal help for victims during criminal trials. Legal and other reform adopted since the Nirbhaya incident have not been fully realized. According to Sustainable Developmental Goal No.16 sexual violence is prevalent where there is conflict, or no rule of law, and countries must take measures to protect those who are most at risk. Thus promoting rule of law and upholding human rights are paramount if we seriously ever seek to realise these goals.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 4, Issue 2, Page 286 - 295


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