The High court dismisses the PIL in which Constitutional Validity of Section 376 and 376-A of IPC was Challenged: Telangana High Court

On 10th Aug 2020, a PIL was dismissed by Telangana High Court challenging the Constitutional Validity of Section 376 and  376-A, claiming it to be violative of Article 14 and  21 of the constitution in the case of B. Nava Pravalika Gaud vs Union Of India (WRIT PETITION (PIL) No.178 OF 2020)  decided through the learned council lead by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy stating that the petitioner has all the right to raise his concern either before the Central Government or before the Parliament of India but the judicial forum is not a place for raising an academic issue with regard to any alleged weakness in law.

Facts of the case: According to the petitioner there seem to be a grave loophole in Section 376, and 376A of IPC. While dealing with a case of a woman under sixteen years of age, who is a victim of rape, Section 376(3) of IPC prescribes a punishment of imprisonment i.e. “with a term of not less than twenty years”, and “which may extend to life imprisonment”, which means imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life and also the given provision has no mention of capital punishment and according to Section 376A of IPC, if a victim dies, or is reduced to a persistent vegetative state, the said provision does prescribe capital punishment as one of the punishments, which may be imposed upon the alleged offender, if found guilty by the learned trial Court. This is a gaping hole that has been left in the law dealing with rape.

Judgment: – As we know that there is a separation of power in India and the judiciary is limited to interpretation of the law and it can only tell what a court intended while making such law. The judiciary has no power to make and amend any laws, this can only be done by the legislature. The court stated that the PIL has raised an academic issue with regards to the loophole in the law and its not based on interpretation of the law. The court further elaborated stating that an academic issue cannot and should not be entertained in a court of law, as the judiciary lacks the power to do so. In case, the petitioner is aggrieved by any lacuna in the law, the petitioner is free to raise the grievance either before the Central Government or before the Parliament. But the judicial forum is not a place for raising an academic issue with regard to any alleged weakness in law.

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