NECROPHILIA LEGAL PERSPECTIVE
Necrophilia is attraction towards dead whether sexual or asexual and this is not a usual or customary practice but is a paraphilic disease. Humans and animals both could be affected by Psychological and Psychiatric conditions which can lead to paraphilic diseases like necrophilia. The author has attempted to use qualitative methodology to understand variations of necrophilia which were defined by Dr. Anil Agarwal so as to improve medical science and for evolution of better treatment but the author found that corresponding laws in India are not such that which could effectively protect dignity of the dead and punish the offenders who are not likely to suffer from any disease rather just acting as opportunistic. Necrophilia can also result in several other sexual diseases which could not only affect the person in direct contact with the dead but also other persons who are sexually connected to the person suffering from necrophilia. The studies of various researchers and the previous cases shows us the changing mindset of NECROPHILIA due to social, economic and other factors but has failed to come to a proper solution that too because of the no meeting point of the medical science and law.
So, further the author has tried to use quantitative methodology to suggest some solutions to improve the legal perspective towards necrophilia. Modifications and drafting of new provisions are required from time to time but the slighter knowledge of this issue and less care towards this issue would cause serious harms in future, that is why the author has attempted to study all the factors and comparative laws of different countries by mixed method methodology to propose some of the changes required in Indian laws.
According to the dictionary of Merriam Webster, Necrophilia is an “obsession with and usually erotic interest in or stimulation by corpses”2. Necrophilia is also known as necrophilism, necrolagnia, necrocoitus, necrochlesis and thanatophilia. Necrophilia or love for the dead, has generally been applied to two kinds of phenomena: sexual necrophilia, i.e. a man’s desire to have sexual intercourse or any other kind of sexual contact with a female corpse or vice versa and nonsexual necrophilia, i.e. the desire to handle, to be near, and to gaze at corpses3. Necrophilia is classified as a paraphilia by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnostic manual4, as well as by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)5. Abusing with the corpse is not a new concept but it took a long time to define it as a severe medical condition. There exist variations of necrophilia and various authors have attempted to classify kinds of necrophiliacs. But Dr. Anil Aggarwal (Professor of Forensic Medicine) has proposed a new ten tier classification of Necrophilia by way of his research, which is as follows.
Role Players This kind of necrophiliacs are more into role play. Their sex arousal is not particularly for the dead but for living persons pretending to be dead. Some authors have also named it as Pseudonecrophilia.
Romantic Necrophiles When necrophiliacs have romantic tendencies which they want to fulfil after being separated from their loved ones, they tend to continue their sexual relationship by preserving the dead bodies of their loved ones or parts of them to feel sexual arousal in future.
Necrophilic Fanatasizers When people only fantasize about having sexual relationship with the dead and just the presence of the dead or any cemetery gives them sexual arousal, erections or pleasure.
Tactile Necrophiles Tactile Necrophiliacs are one step ahead of Class III Necrophiliacs. The people falling in this category may have to touch the dead to feel orgasm or assault the dead body to get their sexual arousal. Medical students who get erection while dissecting also falls in this category.
Fetishistic Necrophiles This class of necrophiliacs is also known as necrofetishists because they tend to cut out parts of the dead to preserve it for their sexual arousals just by feeling the parts but they are different from romantic necrophiles as they do not preserve parts out of affection or their romantic feelings.
Class VI: Necromutilomaniacs:-
This class of necrophiliacs is considered to be very disturbed but they do not engage in any sexual intercourse with the dead. They find erotic pleasure by mutilating the dead bodies in a severe way and masturbating simultaneously.
II. HISTORY OF NECROPHILIA;-
Necrophilia is believed to be an age-old concept as people are performing it since years. Around 1980s archaeologists found paintings in pyramids of Moches who was also known as ‘Greek of Andes’ which depicted sex with dead. There exist other beliefs according to which some civilizations were such who used to practice necrophilia as some kind of tradition or ritual. The father of history in his book named ‘The Histories’ explained that Egyptians had a culture of leaving a woman’s body to rot for 3-4 days before preservation in order to prevent sex with the corpse.
Many serious cases of necrophilia came from the modern period. The following are some of the hideous and scary cases from modern history:-
In 1827, a Frenchman named Leger mutilated the genitals of a young girl and drank her blood after necrophilia. One of the most famous necrophiles was Sergeant François Bertrand, a sergeant in the French army, who during the years 1847–1849 dug up corpses, to have sex with them. It was Bertrand’s case that prompted the Belgian Psychiatrist Joseph Guislain to come up with the term necrophilia;
In the early nineteenth century, the Catholic Church discussed “What Kind of sin it is to have carnal connection with a female corpse (coirecum foemina mortua),” and came to the conclusion that it should neither be considered whoring (fornicatio) nor bestiality, but pollution with attendance to whoring (Esse pollutionem et fornicationum affecitvam).
III. COMPARATIVE LAWS ON NECROPHILIA:-
Necrophilia is a psychosexual disease and is actually legal in many countries. And other countries which do believe in privacy of the dead and consider abusing the dead a crime have criminalized it. But the countries who have penal provisions related to the liability for necrophilia are not much developed and are vague in nature. The concept of necrophilia is not new, people are practicing this since ancient times. It is being believed that during old times there were no fast transportation services so even the dead bodies were transported to different places through ships and the sailors while onboard the ship to meet their needs used to abuse the corpses sexually.
IV. PSYCHIATRY AND NECROPHILIA:-
Psychiatry in lay man’s term is treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders19. As stated above all necrophiliacs are not ill, some are Pseudonecrophiliacs and some are opportunistic necrophiliacs, so it is difficult to distinguish in terms of mental state because there are different factors which affect a person’s mental state from time-to-time. Necrophilia is defined by the DSM-V as “an other specified paraphilic disorder, involving recurrent and intense sexual interest in corpses”.
V. PSYCHOLOGY AND NECROPHILIA:-
Criminological Psychology is thoughts, views, behaviour and way of responding to a situation of a criminal. Psychology20 of a criminal is closely associated with necrophiliacs but Psychology of necrophiliacs is a distinct concept from that of a criminal because it is not essential that a necrophiliac is committing an act with criminal mind or intention. Usually, the persons suffering from necrophilia have erotic fantasies and desires but it is still very baffled to understand the exact Psychology of people doing this kind of acts. Even after understanding the Psychology of necrophiliacs from case studies few Psychologists are of the view that necrophiliacs believes that the dead are far from sufferings and using their bodies for a little pleasure would not harm them.
VI. NECROPHILIA IN ANIMALS AND BIRDS:-
Necrophilia not only develops in humans but there are evidences of necrophiliac symptoms in animals and birds. Symptoms of necrophilia in humans are as follows:-
Inability to relate with the living;.
Fascination with foul odours;
Lack of spontaneity;
Language that includes numerous death-related or the excretory system;
Appreciation for machines over people;
Insensitivity to a tragedy involving loss of life;
Dry skin; Interest in sickness and death;
Incapacity to laugh; A tendency to smirk;
Usually wears dark colors, while disliking bright ones;
A view that the past is more real than the present;
A belief that resolving conflict needs force or violence;
Compartmentalization of emotion and will;
Tends to be bored;
Worship of techniques or devices of destruction;
Tends to break and mutilate small things;
Enthralled by skeletons.
VII. JUDICIAL IMPLICATIONS OF NECROPHILIA:-
Various incidents have taken place of necrophilia since long ago and which led to evolution of laws in some of the countries but majority of the countries still does not have laws to protect dignity of the dead effectively. In India also, necrophiliacs would only be punished majorly for Murder, Rape or Bestiality and not for offences relating to offences against the dead. The most brutal necrophiliac rape and murder in India was ‘Nithari’ case which came into light in 2006 but the debate is still on “whether the increased number of cases of necrophilia in India will lead to the laws dealing specifically with the crime or not?”
The scenario in other countries is no different, various cases have been reported not just having sex with the dead but having sexual intercourse with a living partner after raping a corpse and it leads to uncountable infections and diseases. For example: A girl having sexual intercourse may develop itching in her private parts because of the maggots which may transmit from the person engaged in necrophiliac activities to her which are generally found on dead bodies
VIII. CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS:-
Necrophilia is not any emerging trend or new disorder, but it is an actual problem for which proper procedures should be there. In cases of animals and birds, it is not feasible to punish them for necrophilia but in cases of human beings this should be dealt with proper care. Medical science is evolving in a righteous manner but it definitely requires proper laws to implement things properly. Various studies show the origin of necrophilia but the present society requires much serious outlook on the future.
Though sections in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 clearly have wide ambit to include the crimes against the dead but ambiguity still persists because of no legislation and no clear precedents over the issue. It is true that crimes against dead are lesser in number as compared to dacoity, rape, murder, forgery, white-collar crimes but taking due care at the very initial stage would cause no harm. This is not just the case in India but other countries also lack the proper legal channel in these issues. Previously Section 377 of the IPC used to deal with unnatural offences which included intercourse with the dead but now only Section 297 is there which is also not fairly competent to save the dignity of the dead.
Major developments in medical science have led to inclusion of ‘Necrophilia’ in DSM-V but here in India there is no such development or recognition of this condition. Development of branch of Psychology and Psychiatry is need of the hour in India because without this it would become difficult to criminalize offences which actually could be made punishable by proper studies in Psychology and Psychiatry. Rehabilitation process should be the key but that also requires research and study. To distinguish between the actual offenders and mentally ill persons, strong and effective provisions are the need of the hour.