There was a rightly placed outrage today on Mumbai Police brutality. The incident where cops in Andheri Police Station in Mumbai badly roughed up an ‘allegedly quarrelling and drunk’ couple was caught on camera and the video clip went viral. Though the Mumbai Police, like in a trademark way by the type of generic reputation associated with the Indian police, downplayed the incident and tried to defend its men, the issue dominated the airwaves.
Now consider this.
A poor, minor girl is raped by a hooligan, who comes from a family of strongmen of the locality. She is forced to remain silent. The matter comes to light when the pregnancy matures to an advanced state to be terminated. Last month, the girl delivered a baby girl. The family is so poor that it has refused to take responsibility of the infant. The girl says she wants the child to hand over some ‘adoption centre’ as it would be impossible to raise her with the attached stigma of ‘being an illegitimate child from a rape incident’. Yesterday, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled that the ‘illegitimate’ baby girl had ‘inheritance rights’ on ‘rapist’s’ property in this case – as long as she is not adopted by someone.
Now, that is a real tragic incident, something to be outraged at – though the issue didn’t become a rallying point.
The court stopped short of setting any precedent and left the matter for legislation to decide and settle on. The bench observed – it may not be possible to judicially lay down any norm or principle for inheritance by a minor who is born as a result of rape. Such attempt by the court would amount to legislation by judicial pronouncement and would operate as precedent in times to come. “It would not, therefore, be desirable to venture into this field and accordingly we leave it open for the appropriate legislature to deal with this complex social issue.”
And it is an issue that is quite pandemic – a simple Google search shows. I googled with the key phrase ‘ raped girl delivers baby + India’ and I what I came across was shocking – even if I know perverts in the society are touching new lows every day. See this, the first page on Google search:
12-year-old delivers baby, says stepfather raped her – Mumbai Mirror
Class 6 girl, gang-raped by two, delivers baby girl in Madhya Pradesh – Times of India
Raped by step-father, 12-year-old Mumbai girl delivers boy – IBN Live
Teenage Pregnancy: Mehsana rape victim wants to deliver, says cops – Indian Express
‘Bravely Go Ahead, Have the Baby,’ Court Tells Gang-Rape Survivor Who Wanted Abortion – NDTV
These are just some of the headlines from the past three months – and mind you, these are from reported cases. Countless such cases go unreported. Yet, we haven’t seen a national outrage or any outrage on any such case that can push our policymakers to legislate on this sensitive or the ‘complex social issue’ as the Allahabad High Court says.
And it is not about minor rape victims only. With more and more perverts and mentally sick people on the prowl, a legal measure becomes a must to deal with ‘upbringing related issues’ of every newborn born out of a rape assault. The legislator, in fact, must go a step ahead (from what the Allahabad High Court has done), and must legally make the child natural ‘inheritor’ of rapist’s property, and this ‘punitive’ action must be made independent of conditions like ‘future adoptions’. And this clause must be introduced in addition to the other regular criminal acts that apply on such criminals.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/