A few days after a 26-year-old veterinarian doctor was gangraped and murdered in Hyderabad and saw protests across the nation, a message started doing the rounds on WhatsApp. The message claimed that section 233 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been amended to give women the right to kill someone who tries to rape her.
The message reads: “Finally, a new law passed by Modi govt today. As per Indian Penal Code 233, if a girl is suspected to be raped or getting raped, then she has the supreme right to kill the man, injure his sexual part or harm that person as dangerously and girl won't be blamed for the murder.”
As TNM had reported earlier, there is no section in IPC that allows women to kills rapists. The WhatsApp forward is fake news and has been busted several times earlier.
The message first popped up during the time of the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi in 2013. Later, in 2018, the message began doing the rounds again in the wake of Unnao and Kathua rape cases. This time, the message came with a request to share it widely. Since then, time and again, the message popped on WhatsApp group.
What is the truth?
Section 233 of the IPC doesn’t deal with the gender-related violence or on self-defense. The section talks about making or selling instruments for counterfeit coins.
Hence, the message doing the rounds on WhatsApp is factually incorrect and misleading.
Incidentally, section 100 of the IPC talks about self-defence. According to section 100, “The right of private defence of the body extends… to the voluntary causing of death or any other harm to the assailant…”
As per the clauses under which this section is applicable, including assault with the intention of kidnapping, wrongful confinement, acid attack or attempt of acid attack, rape and gratifying unnatural lust.
Advocate Sudha Ramalingam had earlier told TNM that there is a Right of Private Defence of the body in the Indian Constitution and “those apprehensive that their lives are in danger can exercise the right.”