Crime Against Women In India

Article by Shivya Malhotra, UPES, B.Com. LLB(Hons.) , Year- 2nd


The main objective of this article is to analyse the crime which entails various violations against women. Crime Against Women is a public health hazard. A deep analysis is made on Crime against women which will be helpful in understanding the depth of the problem and to take further steps to stop crime against women in India. Crime against women in India is Increasing day by day and it is necessary to get rid of this problem. The main aim is to analyse and find insights using data manipulation and visualization techniques by applying various tools of analytics and giving a clear idea about the data and forecasting or predicting the crime.

For the analysis of the crime that is being talked about in this article, secondary data is being used in accordance with the requirements of the objectives of the study. The secondary data is collected from the publications of the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau, Govt. of India) and also from various sources such as articles, research papers, journals, and books on crimes against women.The researcher focused on six major types of crimes, these are ‘acid throwing’, ‘child marriage’, ‘female infanticide’, ‘rape’ and ‘domestic violence’.


In this article, I have attempted to analyse the crime against women by looking into the aspects and the conditions of the victims and the attributes related to the ones who have gone through heinous crimes like rape or acid attacks and the attributes are such as states, years, number of cases reported age factor. Total number of victims of rape.

Crime or violence against women is also referred to as physical or mental abuse committed against women. Today’s era is witnessing the increasing violence and crimes against women despite of their ages all over the world be it in a manner of domestic violence, kidnapping and abducting, threatening or rape. The difference between the women and men is getting monstrous in subject of crime. Such matters are a matter of great concern and important preventions must be taken to the earliest in order to maintain the respect, dignity, honour and peace amongst the women. As stated by NCRB, the crime rate has increased 6.5% during 2012. While it increased 45% in 2015 with around 3,50,000 reported cases.[1]

Millions of women across the world face discrimination all over the world and are abused by everyone just because they are women. Every woman has a right to live a free, independent and respectful life along with the main thing that is protection. No woman is ensured protection or we can say that no woman is safe. Many women are not given proper education and are not taken care of. They get violated by man or by family members. In some parts of the country still women are considered as liability so the parents sell them off to get rid from them or they are being killed at the time of their birth. Some of them are forcefully given into prostitution and they have to go through a lot of difficulties and violence.[2]

History of women in India.

Indian women have passed through various phases from the ages to which the history can take us back to now. She enjoyed respectable status in some of the earliest ages but at some ages the conditions were and while at present the condition is not so good in regard to the respectable position of the women. Factors responsible for such case are marriage system, education, religion and purdah. In the Vedic age, there were high ideals of womanhood, Rig Veda had gently but firmly put the men in their light position. Women were protected by God. Men were considered as her guardians. Vedic period gave women a status equal to man. In Upanishads age there were women rishis like Gargi and Maytri, the women had the right to own the properties at that time and widows got the right to remarry. The position enjoyed by women in Rig Vedic period deteriorated in later Vedic civilization. A daughter began to be regarded as a curse. All moral and social rules framed by male dominant society ignored their Identity, Individuality and Integrity. Evil and in human practices came to be inflicted upon them in the name of custom. The Scholastic counterpart of the Vedic ages were gradually reduced to mere household drudgery and this plunged Indian Society into abysmal darkness. The Story of the Suppression of Indian Womanhood is an old one dating back to Ancient India When Manu laid down the Hindu social code.


Participation of women in social life.

The degree to which women participate in societal activities, that is being outside the home, varies by region and background of the society they are living in and also the mental status of the family they belong to. For example, the Rajput Gharanaas, a traditional group of people inhabiting parts of India, especially in the north-western area, have traditionally practiced ghoonghat, and many still practice it to this day. In recent years however, most of the women have beenresisting to follow or are challenging such social norms: for instance, women in rural Haryana are increasingly rejecting the ghunghat. In India, most population (about two thirds) is rural, and, as such, people in such backward communities have a thinking that it is very easy for a woman to ruin her family’s ‘honour’ through her behaviour. The concept of family honour is especially prevalent in northern India. Izzat is a concept of honour prevalent in the culture of North India and Pakistan. Izzat applies to both sexes, but in different ways. Women must uphold the ‘family honour’ by being chaste, passive and submissive, while men must be strong, brave, and be willing and able to control the women of their families. The rural areas surrounding Delhi are among the most conservative ones in India: it has been estimated that 30% of all honour killings of India take place in Western Uttar Pradesh, while Haryana has been described as “one of India’s most conservative when it comes to caste, marriage and the role of women. Deeply patriarchal, caste purity is paramount and marriages are arranged to sustain the status quo.” Most of the differences lies in the ground of religion, caste, race, colour etc.


The legislature has given certain rights to women against the violence through certain laws which are as follows: –

  1. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  2. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
  3. Prohibition of Sec Selection Act

The rights of women are being violated on day-to-day basis. Though sometimes it can be seen that certain protests take place for the protection of the rights of the women and also against the crime that are against the women such as rapes and acid attacks.

Amongst these crimes, rape is the most heinous one, rapists become so cruel that they don’t even look into the age of the women while committing such a shameful offence.

Rape and other crimes related to sex in our country are acts of a patriarchal mindset that compels a man to believe from a very early age that it is their right and power to misuse and abuse a girl and also to keep her under their own control. The Delhi rape case in December 2012 provided testimony to the state of affairs. In, Mumbai also a young Nepali girl of 22 years age was gang raped by three men and this crime is committed to such an extent that a girl is not safe even in her own house, a 15-year-old girl was raped by her own father. According to the government records in every 15-20 min a girl is being raped.[4]

This is just about rape which is one of the crimes, there are so many such crimes that a woman has to face in her daily life, be it at home or outside the home. Safety of a woman cannot be ensured anywhere. Out of the total crimes committed in India about 90% of them are against women. According to NCRB, 1.5 lakh crimes get recorded against women amongst which 50,000-60,000 are related to domestic violence. Trafficking of women is also one of the crimes against women. Here is a data that is being collected by a survey to bring it to a knowledge, the extent of trafficking of women in the following states.

West Bengal23%
Andhra Pradesh11%

Crime rate data per 1,00,000 women is the broadest definition of crime against women under Indian Law. It includes rape, sexual assault, threat to modesty, kidnapping and abduction, cruelty, dowry death, forceful prostituting and all the crimes as according to Indian Penal Code.

Earlier women used to get scared to report the cases due to shame and due to their thinking that this will lead destruction of the family respect but that thinking is decreasing day by day and women are taking a step forward in order to fight for their rights and to protect their modesty and to get an equal status as of men and are approaching the courts and police officers for the same and reporting the crimes that are being committed against them.

In India, the Code of Criminal Procedure divides all type of crimes into two categories which are cognizable crimes those are defined under Sec.2 (c) of CrPC and non-cognizable crimes that are defined under Sec.2 (l) CrPC. It is the direct responsibility of the police to take immediate action after receiving allegations of such crimes or based on credible information about the crime. After inspecting the commission of a crime, investigating the incident, arresting the culprit and bringing him to court is also the responsibility of the officer in charge.

Cognizable crimes are basically of two types, i.e.,

· crimes under the ‘Indian Penal Code (IPC)’ and

· crimes under the ‘Special and Local Laws (SLL)’.

This section of the study specifies the state-wise spatial distribution of all types of crimes against women under the IPC and SLL from the years 2014 to 2019.If we analyse in terms of state-wise distribution, we will see that Uttar Pradesh has the highest share. Other states with high crime are Maharashtra and West Bengal. Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Rajasthan are also not in a stable position to control crimes against women. Among the other states, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha, and Telangana also have the highest number of women victims. On the other hand, comparatively less crime is observed in the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. However, the lowest share of crime against women were in Goa and Uttarakhand, including all the states of North-East India[5]

Some of the crimes against women are as follows: –

  1. Acid Throwing.

A survey was conducted which says that India is the 4th most dangerous country in the world where the women isn’t safe to live in. Women belonging to any caste , class or religion can be a victim of this cruelty of the male dominated society either in the form of victim of the cruel offence like rape, acid attack, trafficking or any other crime, whatever it may be. Acid is cheap and is easily available and the easiest way to destroy the life of the women, if she refuses a man’s proposal of marriage or for being in a relationship or for refusing anything said by a man.

Followed by the leading case law of Laxmi v UOI, the Supreme Court passed an order in which they stated the ban on the selling of the acid. Supreme court made it mandatory for the sellers to record the details such as name and address of the buyers of the chemicals or the acids and also it is necessary for the buyer to show the government issued photo identity card and after specifying the purpose of the purchase. The buyer is also required to submit all such record to the police within 3 days of the transaction. A person buying the acid must be above the age of 18 years. Acid attack is now being declared as the non-bailable and a cognizable offence.

Laxmi, a 22 year old girl, was attacked with acid when she was waiting for a bus in Delhi in 2005, she was attacked because she refused to marry one of the men whom she refused to get married to. Laxmi went through 4 plastic surgeries but couldn’t regain here physical appearance, according to doctors she had to go through much more surgeries to get rid of those strains. The victim can of course never look as she did before the attack. The Supreme Court passed the order directing the states to provide the victims of the acid attacks with 3 lakhs for medical treatment and 1 lakh within 15 days from the day of the attack. [6]

  • Child Marriage

It used to prevail in India earlier but now it has been abolished to much extent. The child brides used to live with their parents till the time they attain puberty. In case they lost their husbands at the earlier age they were condemned to a life of great agony, shaved heads, living in isolation, and being shunned by the society. Although child marriage was outlawed in 1860, it is still a common practice. The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 is the relevant legislation in the country. According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children- 2009” report, 47% of India’s women aged 20-24 were married before the legal age of 18, rising to 56% in rural areas. The report also showed that 40% of the  world’s child marriages occurred in India.

  • Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence in India is the most common crime faced by women of India. Around 70% of women in India are the victims of Domestic violence. It was legally addressed in the 1980s when the 1983 Criminal Law Act introduced section 498A “Husband or relative of husband of a women subjecting her to cruelty”. It is revealed by NCRB that in every three minutes a crime is being committed against a woman, in every 29 minutes a woman is being raped, in every 77 minutes a dowry death takes place and in every 9 minutes a husband abuses her wife physically, psychologically, sexual   or we can say that a case of domestic violence takes place. This all is happening despite of women being protected by several laws and especially by Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. It cannot be handled rime or complaint; it is seen more as private or family matter. Though it can be seen that these cases get reported but most women refuse to report. The women are guaranteed constitutional justice, dignity and equality but continue to refuse to report because of the socio-cultural contexts.

  • Female Infanticide and sex-selective abortion.

In India, the sex ratio of male-female has a vast difference and is more tilted towards the men and the reason behind this is higher demand of male in this society and a woman being killed in the womb of the mother itself and in certain rural areas if a woman get’s a life then she’ll be killed before reaching the adulthood. This is because those rural people do not have higher income and they think that it is useless to spend money on a girl and treat her as a liability. Many experts suggest the higher number of men in India can be attributed to female infanticides and sex-selective abortions. Although ultrasounds during pregnancy are meant to keep a check on the babies health and growth along with the mother but some people make a use of it to reveal the sex of the foetus and if they find it to be a female foetus they decide to abort it even against the will of the mother. And try again for the male child due to this the male female sex ratio is getting affected. In 1994 a law was being passed to prevent the determination of the sex of the foetus but this law has been widely ignored and number of abortions remain high and the sex ratio at birth keeps getting more skewed.  Female infanticide is still prevalent in some rural areas. This takes place by neglect, for example families may not spend money on medicines if a girl becomes sick or on their education or on their marriages as they will have to spend money on the dowry during marriage.

  • Rape

In India it has been described as one of the most common and the heinous crimes against women and has been declared as the national problem by the UN’s human rights chief. Since the 1980s marital rape was declared unlawful, but according to Criminal (Amendment) Act, 2013 still maintains marital exemption clause of Section 375.

According to Section 375 of IPC a person shall be held liable for the commission of the rape which says that there must be:

  1. Penetration by a person of the penis to any part of the vagina, mouth or anus of the women.
  2. Insertion by a person of any object or part of the body that is not being used by the penis or the vagina.
  3. Manipulation done by someone into a women’s body so that they can sexually penetrate her vagina or any other part of her body.
  4. Application by a man of his mouth to the vagina, anus or urethra of a women.[7]

 Circumstances in relation to this include:

  1. Act is done without the consent of the women.
  2. Act is done against her will.
  3. By forceful consent
  4. By Misrepresentation

Nirbhaya Case that was MUKESH &Anr. Vs. NCT of Delhi &Ors.

On December 16 2012, a young girl was brutally raped by 5 people amongst whom one was the minor, this incident happened in a moving bus in Delhi. Victim’s intestines were pulled out using the iron rods. Doctors tried their best to save her but couldn’t save her and she lost her life. One of the accused committed suicide in the jail. The court sentenced the four adults to death and one juvenile to three years in a juvenile facility. In a case where juvenile was involved in a sexual harassment act, the victim was punished with three years in a rehabilitation centre.

After such case an amendment was made by JS Verma, the then Chief Justice of India, where he headed a panel that was formed to study the criminal law in the country and suggest the possible amendment that could be made to enhance the punishments for such heinous crimes. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 was enacted to provide for the amendments in several laws related to sexual offences which included the laws like IPC, 1973; IEA, 1872; The Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation Act, 2012.[8]

There are still a lot cases those are not being recorded are women do not report such cases may be because of their family pressure or in order to maintain their respect in the society as they think that this is the violation of women’s respect and will destroy her future. They do not think that their modesty has been outraged so they must fight for their rights. Due to lack of awareness and this backward thinking of the society, women are always considered to be at the fault. Though it is very important for the society and the family members that they must support the victim and must fight along with her and help her to get justice.

“Women, Gender Equality and the State” mentions that the constitutional commitments to gender equality and a spate of legal changes since the beginning of 1980s have not helped to improve the condition or the equality status of the women in Indian society. Four major conclusions that emerge from state efforts in the arena of law reforms are:

  1. Law reform was not taken up from the point of view of granting legal equality to women. Despite official commitment to gender equality, the constitution and laws of the country are a source of perpetuating inequalities between women and men especially with regards to their rights in family and marriage.
  2. Laws have contributed towards reinforcing the image of women as wives and mothers and dependants on male members of family, through legal definition of man as head of the household, through male lineage, through unequal property rights etc.
  3. Laws have also been promoting sexual stereotypes, i.e., creating women’s identity as chaste, loyal and ideal wives, self-sacrificing mothers and dutiful daughters, thereby creating two types of moral standards for women and men.
  4. Laws also became the basis of extending protection to women, i.e., only good women need to be protected. Laws on rape, prostitution and adultery specifically promote this. The most disturbing feature of many laws is- treating women victims as offenders by stipulating punishments for women. The prostitution, anti-Sati, anti-dowry and sex-determination laws are blatant examples, where the law considers women as guilty and therefore liable for punishments, thereby reinforcing societal and anti-women notions. [9]

Strategy of Planning for Women Development and Empowerment


This shall be done through an effective monitoring and legislative measures in order to prevent social evils and social discrimination and ensure gender justice along with equality amongst the sexes both theoretically and practically.

There can be no better approach than translating the adopted National Policy for Empowerment of Women through:

  1. Creating an environment, through positive economic and social policies, for the development of women to enable them to realise their full potential
  2. Allowing the de jure and de facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women on par with men in all spheres- political, economic, social, cultural and civil.
  3. Giving them the opportunities to participate equally in every activity and giving them equal decision making rights in regard to social, political and economic life of the nation.
  4. Providing them equal access to health care facilities and education at all levels, careers and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, security etc.
  5. Changing societal attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of both men and women.
  6. Eliminating discrimination and all forms violence against women and the girl child[10]

Some more ways to prevent violence is to introduce laws that protect women from violence, and enforce those laws to prevent violence against women. Special courts need established to take the women’s right issues into consideration and provide judgment as early as possible. Final judgment should be based on two factors, the judicial judgement and the public voting. Severe punishments for the offending the practices must be given to the offenders, on the spot or on the same day to prevent impunity for human rights violation and there should be easy access to women harassment cell. Women helpline number 181 must be reachable by any telecommunication provider that too 24 x 7 Public and private transportation facilities must be ensured in main routes and there must be safe and easy access to them. Complaint box in every collectorate building with regular monitoring and immediate action can be maintained. Implementation of such preventions must be ensured. All women activist should unite under one national organisation for protection as well as empowerment of women.


The society is under the impression of age-old dogma that woman is inferior to man. Religion is wrongly interpreted and women are at the receiving end not from today but from earlier ages. However, being human they have same rights at par with men. Some of the basic human rights such as right to equality, right to education, right to live with dignity, right to liberty, right to politics, right to property, right to equal opportunity for employment, right to free choice of profession, right to livelihood,right to work in equitable condition, right to get equal wages for equal work, right to protection from gender discrimination, right to social protection in the eventuality of retirement, old age and sickness, right to protection from inhuman treatment are to be protected by the preventive measures.

[1] Mamta Malhotra, CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA, 235, 2021

[2] Dr. T. Balasubramanaian , VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA. 876, 2020.

[3] Dr. R. Radha, Historical perspective of violence against women in India through various ages, 10 May, 149.

[4]Dr. T. Balasubramanaian, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA. 876, 2020.

[5]ProsenjitMurmu,, crime against women in India, 14 December, Crime against women in India: A geographical appraisal (

[6]Acid Attack and the Law in India – iPleaders

[7]Dr. T. Balasubramanaian, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA. 876, 2020.

[8]K. Mahogany Reddy,, September 21, 2021, Landmark Judgements that shaped the Rape Laws in India – Law Insider India

[9] Aruna Goyal, Violence and protective measures for women development and empowerment, 5, 2004

[10]Aruna Goyal, Violence and protective measures for women development and empowerment, 5, 2004