Laws against sexual assault


The punishment for rape is stated in sections 376, 376A-E.

  1. Read about section 376. Here the punishments for sexual assault are described. Certain cases are considered aggravated violence, and then the punishment is harsher.
  2. According to 376 A: If an aggravated assault results in an injury which causes the death of the woman or causes the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state, then the assaulter will be punished with rigorous imprisonment for at least twenty years. This can even be converted to a much stronger sentence, or even a death sentence, if the magistrate judges so.
  3. 376B(Bailable): Suppose the victim is the assaulter’s wife, but they are/were living separately during the crime. Then the man will be punished with imprisonment for at least two years.
  4. Section 376 C deals with sexual violence committed by a person in authority. If the aggressor is:
    • in a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship;
    • a public servant;
    • superintendent or manager of a jail, remand home or other place of custody, or a women’s or children’s institution;
    • on the management of a hospital or being on the staff of a hospital,

    abuses his power to induce or seduce any woman either in his custody or under his charge or present in the premises to have sexual intercourse with him, then even if the woman gave her consent, the man will be punished with rigorous imprisonment for at least 5 years.

  5. Section 376 D is regarding punishment for gang rape. It recognised gang rape as an aggravated assault and that each person accused will be treated as an aggravated assaulter – the punishment will be imprisonment for at least 20 years.
  6. Section 376E is regarding punishment for repeat offenders. Repeat offenders under section 376, section 376A or section 376D will be punished with imprisonment for life.
  7. Punishment for attempt to rape: Under section 511 of the IPC, attempt to rape will be punished with one-half of the longest term of sentence assigned for committing the crime.

* Since this is quite a strong stance against sexual assault, there has to be a safeguard against false reporting. False reports result in jail term or fine as described by the Act. However, this is not to deter women from reporting genuine cases, as the named aggressor is considered guilty until proven otherwise.

Please read about the definition of sexual assault by Indian law and how to report a case of sexual assault to the police.

You should also know about the medical aid that is to be given to a victim of sexual assault.

Here are some important things to keep in mind during the whole legal and recovery process of a victim.