A man was convicted of murder and rape, and when he filed a petition, the Karnataka High Court on May 30 said that having sex with the dead body of a woman is not must be a crime of rape.
Rape is an offense punishable under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Facts of the case (Rangaraju Vajapeyi v. State of Karnataka)
A 21-year-old girl was returning home after computer class on June 25, 2015. Accused Rangaraju held her back and gagged her. He then dragged the 21-year-old girl to a nearby bush. Next, the man cut the woman’s throat and murdered her. Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code punishes this offence.
After murdering the girl, the man raped her.
The police have filed a case. They received a voluntary statement from Rangaraju (accused). Next, the police filed a criminal complaint. The judge took cognizance of the matter and sent it to the sessions judge. The judge framed charges against Rangaraju (accused) for two counts of murder and rape, under Section 302 and Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code respectively.
After carefully studying the evidence presented, the prosecution firmly proved that the defendant committed murder and then “raped” the victim. The Sessions Judge sentenced the convict to life imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs. 50,000 for murder For the crime of raping the victim’s body, the accused was sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison along with a fine of Rs. fine 25,000
Therefore, the convict filed an appeal before the Karnataka High Court.
Court decision on this issue
Justices Venkatesh Naik and B. Veerappa, however, suggested that the Center must amend the Indian Penal Code to protect the dignity of the dead, however, partially allowing the appeal of the accused in the murder case and raped the victim afterward.
The trial court’s life imprisonment sentence for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code has been upheld by the Karnataka High Court. However, the Karnataka High Court acquitted the convict under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, on the ground that there was no provision in the Indian Penal Code punishing the convict for raping a corpse.
“It must be admitted that the accused had sex on the dead body,” the Kerala High Court said. However, it is yet to be examined whether the act would be considered an offense under Section 375 (rape) and Section 377 (unnatural offence).
However, the court later held that “A careful reading of the provisions of Sections 375 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code clearly shows that a dead body cannot be called a human being or human being. Therefore, the provisions of Section 375 or 377 of the Indian Penal Code will not attract…”
The court also said that the convicted did not commit any offense punishable under Section 376 (punishment for rape). It further clarifies by saying that “sex on a corpse is nothing more than necrophilia.”
What is the meaning of the word necrophilia?
In the case of Rangaraju Vajpeyi v. State of Karnataka, the Karnataka High Court held that necrophilia is a grotesque desire or fascination with the dead, or more specifically an erotic desire for a corpse.
DSM-IV classifies “Paraphilias” as a psychosexual disorder, including pedophilia, masochism, exhibitionism, and necrophilia. Contributing factors behind this disorder can range from rage to experimentation, to lust, rather than sexual habits or needs.
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