The High Court of Karnataka has asked the Centre to amend the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or bring in new ones criminalising and providing for punishment for ‘carnal intercourse’ with corpses.
The High Court made the recommendations after acquitting a person under Section 376 of the IPC as the ‘rape’ provision does not have clause for convicting a person accused of having intercourse with a dead body.
The accused had murdered a woman and then had sexual intercourse with her body. The court, however, confirmed the rigorous life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 for the accused under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
“Admittedly, the accused had sexual intercourse on the dead body. Whether it amounts to an offence under Section 375 or Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code? A careful reading of the provisions of Section 375 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code make it clear that the dead body cannot be called as human or person. Thereby, the provisions of sections 375 or 377 of the Indian Penal Code would not attract. Therefore, there is no offence committed punishable under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code,” the Division Bench of Justices B Veerappa and Venkatesh Naik T said in their judgment on May 30.
Citing the examples of several countries, including UK and Canada, where Necrophilia and crime against dead bodies are punishable criminal offences, the HC recommended that such provisions be introduced in India.
“It is high time the central government amended the provisions of Section 377 of IPC and included dead body of men, woman or animal as contemplated under the said provision,” the HC said in its judgement.
“The central government shall amend the new provision in the IPC with regard to sadism or necrophilia against the person whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the natural including the dead body of the woman, punishable with imprisonment of life or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and also shall be liable for fine,” it suggested.
The HC also directed the state government to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in mortuaries in all government and private hospitals to prevent offence against dead bodies within six months. It also recommended maintaining mortuary services properly and sensitisation of the staff.
The murder and rape incident dates back to June 25, 2015 and both the accused and victim are from a village in Tumakuru district.
The brother of the 21-year-old victim filed a complaint after his sister was found murdered. She had not returned from her computer class and her body was found with the throat slit on the way home. The accused, a 22-year-old, was arrested a week later.
After the trial, the Session Court convicted him under Section 302 (murder) and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for life. It also found him guilty of rape under Section 376 and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment for the same on August 14, 2017.
He filed an appeal in the HC which was heard by the division bench. His advocates argued that “the act of the accused is nothing but ‘necrophilia’ and there is no specific provision in the Indian Penal Code to convict the accused for the said act.
The HC found the accused guilty of murder but acquitted him of the charges of rape after it found the evidence before it pointed out that the rape was committed after the victim was murdered.