The Central Government has informed the Delhi High Court that it is opposed to making the existing definition of rape under Section 375 (rape) gender-neutral.
The centre has said that this decision was taken in view of the fact that victims of sexual harassment in the country are predominantly women.
Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),1860 only covers instances of rape of a woman by a man.While,Section 376 lists out the punishment for the offence.
The petitioner has said that Section 375 violates Articles 14(right to equality),15(prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste,sex) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution as it does not account for rape of men and transgender persons.
Further,the petitioner said that sexual crimes against boys under 18 years are covered under the POCSO Act but once they become adults, they do not have any legal recourse.
Even Law Commission of India,in its 172th report had recommended changes for widening the scope of rape law to make it gender neutral by substituting the definition of ‘rape’ with that of ‘sexual assault’.