Outraged members of Parliament asked the home minister why criminals were not deterred by the law.
Here is one reason.
Three of every four men charged with rape in the past decade were set free by courts in Delhi. So, either the police had caught the right men but could not provide enough evidence or had arrested the wrong people. Whichever way you look at it, it means criminals who raped 3,800 women during 2002-2011 went unpunished. This does not include those who were never caught or those out on bail.
The story is same across India and other heinous crimes such as murder and robbery.
During 2001-2010, 1.56 lakh cases of murder, rape and robbery saw conviction throughout the country. But for every person sent to jail, two others (3.35 lakh, overall) went scot-free.
If all of them were to be put behind bars, India’s jails wouldn't have space to house them.
Experts have voiced concern. “If so many criminals are introduced into the system, it makes our society very insecure,” said security expert Ajai Sahni.
Prakash Singh, retired director general of Uttar Pradesh police, said the criminal justice system had become “ineffective” and blamed shortage of manpower, resources and excessive political interference.
But doesn’t the government doesn't recognise the crisis?
Home secretary RK Singh did concede a few months ago that it was time to “stop talking about law and order and start talking about delivery of justice”. “If somebody in his mid-40s murders somebody, he is most likely to die a free man,” the home secretary had said.
India doesn't even have enough judges to expeditiously try those investigated. In 1987, the law commission drew a blueprint to raise the judge-population ratio from 1.05 judges for every lakh population to five judges within five years. “But 25 years later, the ratio is still 1.4 judges per lakh population,” Sahni said.