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In news:

After the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad on November 28 and the burning of a rape survivor in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, on December 5, there has been an outcry for justice for the victims.

In brief:

  • Rape’ as a clearly defined offence was first introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 1860. Prior to this, there were often diverse and conflicting laws prevailing across India.
  • The codification of Indian laws began with the enactment of the Charter Act, 1833 by the British Parliament which led to the establishment of the first Law Commission under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay.
  • The Law Commissioners decided to put the criminal law of the land in two separate codes. The first to be placed on the statute book was the Indian Penal Code formulating the substantive law of crimes. This was enacted in October 1860 but brought into force 15 months later on January 1, 1862.
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