Even if Asaram did not indulge in actual sex with the 16-year-old girl who accused him of sexually assaulting her, his alleged act may still be interpreted as rape for the new rape law has widened the ambit of the offence.
Earlier, Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code defined rape as sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 16 years of age. It covered only penal-vaginal sexual penetration.
But the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 enacted after the December 16 gang-rape case and notified in the official gazette on April 2, 2013 has enlarged the definition of rape making it much wider.
Under the new definition of rape, a man is said to commit rape if he penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person.
Even inserting, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person amounts to rape.
Manipulating any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person is also construed as rape.
Further, applying his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or making her to do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances against her will, without her consent or by obtaining her consent by putting her in fear of death or hurt, or by impersonating as her husband etc.
Any of these acts mentioned under the new rape law can put the self-styled godman in trouble as consent is completely immaterial, the victim being a minor.
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