Crime against women in Manipur : A legal perspective

Sagolsem Jasobanta *

The problem of crimes against women in Manipur is a multi-faceted problem that requires serious legal consideration. Despite laws and regulations to protect women’s rights, women in Manipur still face various forms of violence, discrimination and exploitation.

Legal framework : The legal framework for crimes against women in Manipur & India consists of various National and local laws as well as international agreements. Some of these important legal provisions include:

1. Constitution of India: The Constitution of India guarantees the fundamental rights of all citizens, including equality, non- discrimination and freedom from violence. Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution are of great importance in terms of solving the problems affecting women.

2. The Indian Penal Code (IPC): The IPC contains various vital provisions criminalizing various forms of violence against women, including rape (Section 375), sexual assault (Section 354), domestic violence (Section 498A), and dowry-related offenses (Section 304B). These provisions stipulate the penalties for those who commit these crimes.

3. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, 2005: This Law provides comprehensive legislation to regulate domestic violence against women. It defines domestic violence as a general term that includes physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse and provides legal remedies for survivors, such as protective orders, restraining orders, and financial assistance.

4. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013: Popularly known as Nirbhaya Act & enacted in response to the gangrape incident in Delhi in 2012, this law brought significant changes to the IPC and other laws related to sexual offences. The definition of rape was broadened, penalties for sexual offenses increased, and new crimes such as acid attacks and stalking were introduced.

5. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: This law deals with crimes against children, including sexual offences. It provides special methods and measures to protect children who have survived violence, recognize their weaknesses, and need support.


1. Weaknesses of Law Enforcement: Despite strong laws, law enforcement agencies in Manipur often face difficulties in implementing and enforcing them effectively. Factors such as corruption, lack of resources, inadequate education and social prejudice can hinder the investigation and prosecution of crimes against women.

2. Limited Access to Justice: Many women in Manipur, particularly those from marginalized communities or rural areas, face barriers in accessing justice due to factors such as geographical remoteness, lack of legal awareness, social stigma, etc.

3. Non-disclosure of crimes: Crimes against women in Manipur are mostly not disclosed due to fear of retaliation, social stigma and lack of trust in justice.

4. Inadequate Support Services: Despite legal provisions for support services such as shelters, counselling, and legal aid, the availability and accessibility of these services in Manipur are often limited.


1. Patriarchal Traditions: Patriarchal attitudes perpetuate a culture of inequality where women are viewed as inferior and subjected to various forms of discrimination and violence.

2. Socio-economic inequalities: Poverty, lack of education and limited economic opportunities increase women’s vulnerability in Manipur. Economic disadvantage forces many women into situations of exploitation where they cannot fight for their rights or receive compensation.

3. Conflict and militancy: Manipur has been grappling with armed and military conflict for decades, seriously affecting the safety of women in the state. The presence of armed groups, security forces and militarized environments has fuelled violence and created a culture of impunity where women are subjected to gender-based violence, abuse and violence.

4. Inadequate legal framework: Despite legal provisions aimed at protecting women’s rights, imple- mentation and enforcement of the law remains inadequate in Manipur. Weak enforcement, corruption and lack of access to justice prevent survivors from seeking justice and holding perpetrators accountable. Moreover, the prevalence of customary laws and informal justice can further marginalize women and undermine their rights.

5. Cultural values and beliefs: Cultural values and beliefs deeply perpetuate gender stereotypes, limit women’s freedom, and legitimize violence against them. Moral values such as marriage, chastity, and chastity put pressure on women to comply with their own desires, making them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

6. Lack of awareness and education: Many women may not know their rights or fear punishment when reporting crimes to authorities.

7. Economic dependence: Economically depen- dent women may not be able to leave an abusive relationship or seek help due to fear of insecurity. Economic empowerment programs, such as access to employment and income-generating opportunities, are critical in reducing women’s experiences of violence and abuse.

8. Migration and Human Trafficking: Poverty, lack of economic opportunities, and social instability contribute to women’s vulnera- bility, making them vulnerable to traffickers. The absence of border control and enforcement mechanisms further exacerbates the problem of human trafficking in Manipur.


1. Psychological trauma: Victims may experience depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health problems. The psychological scars of abuse can affect survivors’ self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being, leading to long-term emotional problems and difficulties coping with daily life.

2. Physical Health Effects: Survivors may be at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STDs), reproductive health problems, and other physical health problems as a result of the violence they experience.

3. Humiliation and isolation: Survivors of domestic violence often face stigma, shame, and ostracism from their families. This social violence can lead to isolation, loss of support networks, and social problem.

4. Economic impact: Survivors may lose money due to the inability to work, medical expenses, and other financial burdens related to the abuse they experienced.

5. Interference with education and employment: Survivors may drop out of school or lose their jobs due to the trauma and stigma associated with the violence they experience, perpetuating poverty and inequality.

6. Generational Impact: The impact of crimes against women in Manipur can reach future generations as children who witness or experience domestic violence may suffer long-term psychological and emotional consequences.

7. Obstruction of social cohesion : Crimes against women in Manipur can undermine community cohe- sion and trust, as fear of violence and distrust of authorities can prevent people from seeking help or reporting crimes.

8. Restrictions on development activities: Violence against women reduces women’s participation in education, work and social life, devalues the state, and undermines gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.


1. Strengthening Law Enforcement: This could include providing specific training for gender-sensitive policing, establishing special units to investigate crimes against women, and ensuring prompt and impartial justice for survivors.

2. Raising Legal Awareness: A literacy program should be implemented to sensitize the women of Manipur about their rights and the legal remedies available to them in case of violence or discrimination. These programs may include education, community outreach, and legal aid clinics.

3. Improving access to justice: Steps should be taken to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system in Manipur, especially for marginalized women. This may include establishing legal centres in rural areas, providing free or low-cost legal aid, and ensuring that interpreters are available for women who do not speak English.

4. Strengthening Support Services: This may include increasing the number of shelters, providing comprehensive psychological support, and ensuring survivors have access to medical, counselling and rehabilitation services.

5. Promoting gender sensitization: Gender sensi-tization awareness programs should be implemented for law enforcement officers, justice officials, healthcare professionals and other stakeholders involved in the fight against crimes against women.

Bottomline: Only through sustained efforts and collective action, can we ensure that Manipur’s women exercise their rights, access justice, and live free from violence and discrimination.

* Sagolsem Jasobanta (Advocate) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 22 April 2024

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