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Nationís shame: Most rape cases end without conviction 
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, December 18
The horrific shame that the national capital suffered on Sunday may find its logical conclusion primarily due to the political attention the case has received after a massive public outrage. However, the government data shows that a majority of rape cases in the country end up without conviction, a reason that perhaps emboldens sick minds to fearlessly indulge in such acts.

Data submitted by the Home Ministry, in response to a query by Punjab MP Avinash Rai Khanna in the Rajya Sabha, shows how rape cases have increased steadily year after year but the conviction rate has remained constant. For example, the country as a whole saw registration of 21,397 rape cases in 2009, which went up to 22,172 in 2010 and 24,206 in 2011. But the convictions in the past three years could not cross the 6000-mark. It was 5,316 in 2009, 5,632 in 2010 and 5,724 in 2011, remaining constant at just about one conviction in every four registered cases.

Figures show that in India a woman is raped every 22 minutes, that between 1971 and 2011 the registered rape cases saw a jump of more than 800 per cent, possibly the largest among all categories of crime. The deductions, however, are based only on the official data sourced from the cases which were actually registered. It is an established fact that the real number of rape cases is much higher but majority of these go unreported because the heinous crime also has other socio-cultural dimensions attached to it.

It is a well-known fact that nine out of 10 culprits are known to the victim. So in many cases, a complaint is not lodged due to family pressure and worries about social stigma. Khanna, who today moved the original notice for raising the barbaric incident during the Zero Hour, says the reason majority of accused go scot-free is because of shoddy and defective investigation.

Even though, as per the law, the testimony of rape victims does not have to be corroborated for a conviction, it does not really help a victimís chances of getting justice. It is quite easy to create doubts about the perpetratorís whereabouts with unscrupulous help from those ready to lie.

Many a time the complainant also backtracks due to family pressure or social stigma since the perpetrator is known to the family. Besides, cases in India drag on for so long that for a victim it is a easier to get a sense of closure by just letting it all go rather than suffering the humiliation.

Sad state of affairs

As many as 21,397 rape cases were registered in 2009 in the country, which went up to 22,172 in 2010 and 24,206 in 2011. But convictions in the past three years could not cross the 6,000-mark

A woman is raped every 22 minutes in India and nine out of 10 culprits are known to the victim

Between 1971 and 2011, the registered rape cases saw a jump of over 800%, possibly the largest among all categories of crime

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