Notwithstanding the rising incidence of sexual assault on women, the conviction rate in rape cases is as low as 32.2 per cent at the national level, according to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The report ‘Crime in India – 2017’ also shows that the conviction rate was even lower in metropolitan cities (27.2 per cent) in 2017, the reference year for which the latest data is available. It shows delay in completion of trial in rape cases, and that conviction rate in cases of rape is even lower than that in cases of murder.
In 2017, at the national level, the total number of rape cases for trial was 1,46,201 but only 5,822 cases resulted in conviction. The conviction rate in rape cases in 2017 was just 32.2 per cent while it was 43.1 per cent in cases of murder.
What is more worrying is that the conviction rate in rape cases has increased marginally in recent years but chargesheeting rate has gone down. Data in the NCRB report show that chargesheeting rate in rape cases has come down to 86.6 per cent in 2017 from 95.4 per cent in 2013.
In 2017, a total of 1,46,201 rape cases were in trail, of which trial in only 18,333 cases were disposed of by courts. Of the total 18,099 rape cases where trial was completed in 2017, only 5,822 cases resulted in conviction while 1,1453 cases resulted in acquittal and 824 cases in discharge.
Significantly, a total of 28,750 rape cases were sent for trial during 2017, but only 3.5 per cent — 1,010 cases — resulted in conviction.
Out of the 1,27,868 rape cases pending trial in 2017 in the country, every third case was older than three years. Moreover, 12,216 rape case trials are pending for more than five years, and 1,840 rape case trials are pending for more than 10 years.
The NCRB started collecting data on rape cases since 1971. The data show that the number of rape cases increased from 2,487 in 1971 to 32,559 in 2017 — an increase of 1,209 per cent.
In 2017, majority of cases under crimes against women out of the total IPC crimes against women were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (33.2%), followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (27.3%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (21%) and ‘Rape’ (10.3%), says the report.