Free Press Journal

WhatsApp rumours alert: Neither ‘Section 233’ allows women to kill rapists, nor has Modi government passed such law



WhatsApp forwards comes in all forms and sizes. The recent doing the rounds claim that ‘Section 233’ of the Indian Penal Code has been introduced by the Modi government that gives women the right to kill someone who tries to rape her. The same message was viral in 2013 when India was raging in anger against the Nirbhaya rape case. And now once again in the wake of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu Kashmir and rape of a 17-year-old by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.

The WhatsApp forward says, “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, or harm that person as dangerously and the girl won’t be blamed for the murder. Tell as many as you can it is your power create awareness. Share this as many as you can.” The message is followed by an ‘expert’s advice’ that ensures the safety of women in a lift while travelling along at night, when someone attacks you in your house and when being stalked.

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Screenshot of the viral message.

Let us make you aware of the Indian Penal Code Section 233. Firstly it has nothing to do with rape, in fact, it relates to buying or selling the instrument for counterfeiting coin. According to IPC Section 233, “Whoever makes or mends, or performs any part of the process of making or mending, or buys, sells or disposes of, any die or instrument, for the purpose of being used, or knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used, for the purpose of counterfeiting coin, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extended to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Let us tell you no such law has been passed by the Modi government. The IPC Section 100 gives the right of private defense of the body extends to causing death. The law can be exercised not just women but anyone. Section 100 of the IPC states, “When the right of private defense of the body extends to causing death.—The right of private defense of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned in the last preceding section, to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the assailant, if the offense which occasions the exercise of the right is of any of the descriptions hereinafter enumerated.” The clauses under which the act is applicable are assaults that lead to death, cause grievous injury, assaults with the intention of kidnapping, committing rape and gratifying unnatural lust.