Sexual assault on the DEAD by Bhumica M @lexcliq

Sexual assault on the DEAD 

 

By Bhumica M

BA-LLB

REVA University, Bangalore

 

It has to be noted here, that writers often limit the word personality to humans. However in law, the connotations are different, idols, company, gods, etc. all are given the status of juristic persons, and hence have rights as any other human being would have. When humans die, for obvious reasons they don’t have any duties and also can’t be subjected to any punishment. Therefore, when humans die they become mere things and hence do not enjoy the position of a legal person. So, one thing is clear, the dead do not enjoy the status of a juristic person. However, certain rights are provided to the dead. They have the right to dignity in burial, the right to disinterment, and so on. 

What are the rights that the dead have against sexual assault? To understand this concept, let’s first understand its cause.

Necrophilia 

Necrophilia means a feeling of sexual enticement or sexual attraction that a minority population has towards the dead. The World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association have classified this as paraphilia. Paraphilia may be called a deviation, an abnormal sexual attraction towards atypical objects, situations, etc.

The situation in different parts of the world,

Many countries around the globe have a well- defined law against people who try to treat dead bodies with indignity, more specifically against people who try to commit sexual offences against the dead.

 

New Zealand provides a section under the Crimes Act, 1961 which prescribes two-year imprisonment to those who treat dead bodies with indignity. These dead bodies may be buried or not.

United Kingdom’s Sexual offences Act 2003’s Section 70 deals specifically with people who commit a sexual act with a dead body. While Section 14 of the South African Law does the same in the country. While the United States Of America Lacks A Federal Law for the same, different states have their own laws punishing these offences. 

 

Situation in India, 

Sexual offences against corpses are on the rise in India. One recent example is that of a 26-year-old woman whose corpse was gang-raped in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Her corpse was taken out of her grave by the assaulters and was found naked twenty feet away from her grave. Another example of this is the 2006 Noida serial killings. In this, a rich businessman and his accomplice committed sexual assault on dead bodies of some women and children.

Despite all these horrific examples, India does not have a specific law in this regard. Although offenders are charged under Section 297 (trespassing on corpses) and Section 377 (Unnatural Sex) of the Indian Penal Code. 

 

It should also be considered that there are some cases in which women are killed just before they die. In such situations, these sections don’t apply. Also, the degree of punishment given under the already present sections is very less considering the gravity of these offences. Hence, there is an urgent need for making specific laws in this regard in India.

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