Instances of crimes against women have surged, witnessing a 4% uptick in States and Union territories, alongside a notable increase of 12.3% recorded in 19 Metro cities in 2022 compared to the previous year.
In the 19 Metropolitan cities with population above two million (Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Pune and Surat) a total of 48,755 cases of crime against women were registered during 2022, showing an increase of 12.3 per cent over 2021 (43,414 cases).
The majority of cases under crime against women were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or his Relatives’ (32.6 per cent) followed by ‘Kidnaping and Abduction of Women’ (19.4per cent), ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (17.9 per cent), and ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012’ (13.2 per cent).
Rajasthan tops the rape cases for 4th consecutive year
For the fourth consecutive year in 2022, Rajasthan topped the nation in reported rape cases, as per data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This revelation comes just days after an election where crimes against women emerged as a significant issue, targeting the outgoing Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot.
Rajasthan led the list with 5,399 reported rape cases, followed by Uttar Pradesh in second place with 3,690, Madhya Pradesh at third with 3,029, and Maharashtra at fourth with 2,904, according to the 2022 data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
While Rajasthan’s count in 2022 experienced a decline from the previous year, dropping to 5,399 cases from 6,337 in 2021, it continued to maintain its lead in the table. Additionally, the state recorded the highest number of attempted rape cases, reaching 1,053 incidents. This indicates a persistent concern despite a slight reduction in the overall figures.
In previous years, Rajasthan held the unenviable distinction of leading the chart with 5,997 reported rape cases in 2019 and 5,310 in 2020, according to NCRB data. These figures highlight a consistent upward trend in crimes against women in the desert state, encompassing various offences beyond rape. According to the NCRB, such cases totalled 45,058 in 2022, representing an increase from 40,738 in 2021. This concerning pattern indicates the need for heightened attention and preventive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of women in the region.
The surge in reported cases has frequently been linked to the mandatory FIR registrations enforced in the state. This policy mandates Station House Officers (SHOs) to register cases upon receiving reports of such offences, under the threat of facing disciplinary action if they fail to do so. This proactive approach to registering complaints aims to ensure a more accountable and responsive law enforcement system, emphasising the importance of addressing and recording crimes against women promptly.
In States and UTs, according to NCRB data in the 70th edition of its annual report, a total of 4,45,256 cases of crime against women were registered during 2022, showing an increase of 4 per cent over 2021 (4,28,278 cases).
“The majority of cases under crime against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (31.4 per cent) followed by ‘Kidnapping and Abduction of Women’ (19.2 per cent), ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (18.7 per cent), and ‘Rape’ (7.1 per cent). The crime rate registered per lakh women population was 66.4 in 2022 in comparison with 64.5 in 2021,” the NCRB report stated.
Uttar Pradesh stands at the top, while Rajasthan is at the third position in crime against women.
Uttar Pradesh registered the highest number of 65743 cases of crimes against women under IPC and Special and Local Laws (SLL) with a 75.6 per cent chargesheet rate. Maharashtra registered 45331 cases with Maharashtra 80.6 per cent chargesheet rate, while Rajasthan recorded 45058 cases of crime against women with a low chargesheet rate of 54 per cent.
In this context, the most recent report from the NCRB has sounded a “word of caution” regarding the differentiation between two closely related yet distinct terms: “rise in crimes” and “increase in the registration of crime by police.” The bureau emphasises the need to discern between these terms and understand the nuances associated with each, slipping light on the complexity of crime statistics and their interpretation.
According to the NCRB report, an “increase in crime numbers in state police data may be on account of certain citizen-centric police initiatives, such as the launch of the e-FIR facility or women helpdesks, etc.”
While such initiatives contribute to the numerical rise, the report underscores the necessity for a professional investigation into the underlying factors specific to local communities. This approach aims to address the pertinent issues comprehensively, emphasising the importance of delving into the root causes of crime trends.
As the NCRB emphasizes the nuanced interpretation of crime statistics, it underscores the importance of professional investigations into underlying factors, emphasising community-specific approaches to comprehensively address the complex issues surrounding crimes against women. This comprehensive view calls for a collective effort to create a safer environment for women in the state, urging both immediate action and long-term strategies.