Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Rape in India: Venkayesh Nayak on "Preliminary Analysis of Some Statistics relating to the Offence of Rape as Reported by the National Crime Records Bureau for the Period 2001‐ 2013 "

In a previous post I had included an essay written by Venkatesh Nayak, Programme Coordinator, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in New Delhi, "Sexual crimes against women and claims of Nirmal Bharat Campaign - How good is the MIS data?" exploring the data implications of the recent and widely publicized issue of sexual violence against lower caste women in India.
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Mr. Kayak has recently written:
Readers may recollect that I had circulated in April this year our analysis of the datasets relating to crimes against members of the Scheduled Castes. Apart from showing the enormity of the phenomenon of atrocities against members of these communities the purpose of the study was to demonstrate the value of using crime related statistics made publicly available by the Government of India through its Data Portal

I have attached to this email our preliminary findings of an analysis of the statistics related to rape that are made available by the National Crime Records Bureau through its own website and through the Data Portal. A lot more analysis can be done suing this dataset by linking it to various socio-economic variables. I hope civil society organisations and researchers will interrogate the findings further, delve deeper into the core of the societal problem of violence against women and demand better performance and greater accountability from the law enforcement machinery of the State. I have attached the PDF file for readers' reference.

Portions of the Report follow:

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2014)

Preliminary Analysis of Some Statistics relating to the Offence of Rape as Reported by the National Crime Records Bureau for the Period 2001‐ 2013

Research and Report: Venkatesh Nayak, CHRI, New Delhi1 Data Analytics: SS Tech Point, New Delhi


Earlier in April this year, we circulated our findings from an analysis of the crime‐related datasets published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) through the Data Portal recently established by the Government of India. That study focused on the number of crimes against members of the Scheduled Caste community committed across India over a 12‐year period. In the current study we have focused on the datasets containing figures and statistics relating to the crime of rape. The main NCRB dataset for the period 2001‐2012 is accessible on the Data Portal.2 The dataset for 2013 is sourced from the latest Crime in India Report accessible on the NCRB’s website.3

The purpose of this preliminary study is to mark the trends in the number of cases of rape registered across the country over the 13‐year period. In recent months, the spate of brutal incidents where women have suffered or lost their lives due to the sexual depredations of men has drawn mixed responses. While the larger public is rightly outraged by the growing number of such incidents, several political leaders have tried to play down the seriousness of this phenomenon by commenting in a manner that is either casual or cruel or both. What is worse, in the face of such attitudes it is difficult for citizens in general and civil society and the media in particular to gauge the State’s response to crimes. In the face of this creating or preparing better preventive and responsive measures becomes difficult. In the absence of a study of the long term trends, downplaying the seriousness of the phenomenon of sexual crimes against women is easy. This study, based on the Government’s own data which it has sourced from the level of the police stations, is intended to hold up a mirror to Governments and politicians alike to reflect the truth about and the magnitude of this violent phenomenon.

This preliminary study is divided into two parts. The first section contains our findings regarding broad trends across the States and Union Territories (UTs) during the period under study. We have also attempted to draw a comparative picture by linking the findings to some easily identifiable landmarks such as the general elections held during the period covered by this study and the expansion of the list of offences treated as rape with the enforcement of the Criminal Law Amendment Act in 2013. Linking these trends to changes in the demography, and rates of economic growth and conditions of human development are likely to reveal many more truths which we leave to other experts to work on. The last part of the first section deals with the trends relating to rape trials during the years 2012‐2013.4 Unfortunately consolidated data is not available for other years on the Data Portal and we are restricted to the two recent years only. In the second part of this study we have discussed the reporting of cases of rape in 20 States and 1 UT with the most number of cases reported during the 13‐year period.

Another purpose of this preliminary study is to demonstrate to advocators of human rights, women’s rights, academics and the media the potential of Open Data made public under the Central Government’s National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy, 2012. The datasets uploaded on the Data Portal provide immense opportunities to advocates for reform to hold the authorities accountable using official figures and statistics. We hope readers will not only go through these findings, but also interrogate the datasets for their quantity and quality and recommend to the Government public disclosure of other kinds of data that are connected with this burning issue. These findings are subject to the caveats mentioned on page 30 below.

I. Reporting of rape cases – Macro‐level findings:

1) According to the NCRB data, during the period 2001‐2013, a total of 2,72,844 cases were reported across the 28 states and 7 UTs in India.5 On an average, a little more than 57 rapes are reported to have occurred every day across the country during this 13 year period.6 That averages to more than 2 rapes across the country, every hour, every day, during the last 13 years. If the figure for 2013 – the year in which the list of offences that constitute rape was expanded – is discounted, the total for the 12‐year period between 2001‐2012 becomes 2,39,137 cases across all States and UTs. The daily and hourly averages reduce by a few decimal points only.

2) The total figure for the 28 States alone stands at 2,64,130 rapes during the 13‐year period – an average of almost 56 incidents of rape per day. In the 7 UTs the average is almost two rapes per day (total incidents = 8,714). However Delhi alone accounted for 8,060 reported incidents during this period.

3) While a total of 16,075 cases of rape were reported in 2001 across all States and UTs, in 2013, the figure stood at 33,707 – indicating an increase of 52.30%. However if the figures for 2013 are omitted, then the increase is 35.5%.

4) During the 13‐year period, the total figure for the States alone rose every year, except in 2003, when it dipped by a little less than 4%. The total figures in the UTs dipped during the years 2006‐2008 but have risen in all subsequent years. This is due to the dip in the total figures for Delhi during the same years. However Delhi alone accounted for an average of 1.69 rapes per day during the 13‐year period.

5) Prior to the amendment of the law relating to the offence of rape, Meghalaya witnessed the largest percentage increase in the number of reported cases amongst the 28 States. While only 26 cases were reported in 2001 in Meghalaya, this figure rose to 164 – an increase of 531%in 2012. Goa stood 2nd with an increase of 358% followed by Sikkim (325%) in the 3rd position, Manipur (215%) in the 4th position, West Bengal (188%) in the 5th position, Punjab (128%) in 6th position, Karnataka (112%) in the 7th position, Uttarakhand (100%) in the 8th position, Mizoram (98%) in the 9th position and Rajasthan (95%) in the 10th position. (see Table 1 and Table 2 below).

 6) However in terms of absolute number of cases reported from each State in 2012, Madhya Pradesh (3,425) topped the list followed by Rajasthan (2,049), West Bengal (2,046), Uttar Pradesh (1,963), Maharashtra (1,839), Assam (1,716) Odisha (1,458), undivided Andhra Pradesh (1,341), Chhattisgarh (1,034) and Kerala (1,019) in descending order (see Graph 1 on page 6).

7) Prior to the amendment of the law relating to the offence of rape, Daman and Diu witnessed the largest percentage increase in the number of reported cases amongst the 7 UTs. The figure rose 500% from nil to 5 in 2012. However in terms of absolute numbers Delhi topped the list of UTs with 706 cases in 2012 followed by Chandigarh (27), Puducherry (13) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (12) (see Graph 2 on page 6 below).

8) The expansion of the list of offences that constitute rape through the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013 has had its impact on the figures reported in 2013. The highest percentage rise amongst the 28 States and UTs was in Delhi (329%) as compared to the figure reported in 2001 (see Table 1). In view of the figures reported in Maharashtra, in 2013, the rise in the number of cases was more than three times the figure reported in 2001. In the States of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh the figures are more than double the figures reported in 2001. Another reason for the increase in the number of cases reported in 2013 would be due to the fear of punishment in the minds of the police officers to whom cases of rape are reported. Under the criminal law amendments, if an officer refuses to register a case of rape upon receiving a complaint, he/she commits an offence and may be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a period between six months to two years and will also be liable to pay a fine.

9) West Bengal is the only State where fewer cases of rape were reported after the 2013 amendments were enforced. The absolute numbers fell from 2,046 in 2012 to 1,685 in 2013 (see Table 1). This phenomenon deserves deeper analysis in order to ascertain whether fewer offences of rape were committed or if the police were burking complaints of rape.

10) After the criminal law amendments, the number of cases reported in 2013 did not rise by leaps and bounds in the States of Madhya Pradesh (52%), Chhattisgarh (44%) and Bihar (27%) which may be indicative of the low levels of awareness about the new law on sexual offences amongst women.7 Uttar Pradesh, interestingly, witnessed less than 0.5% increase in the figures reported in 2012 as compared to the figure reported in 2001. However in 2013, with the expansion of the list of offences termed ‘rape’ the number of cases reported increased by 56% (see Table 1).

11) During the 13‐year period, Madhya Pradesh reported the most number of rapes at 40,422 – (see Graph 1). This figure is 44% higher than that of West Bengal which stands second on this list. The average figure for Madhya Pradesh is more than 8 rapes per day during the 13‐ year period.

12) West Bengal reported the second highest number of rapes at 22,472 during the 13‐year period (see Graph 1). This averages to almost 5 incidents of rape per day across the State during this period. However the number of cases reported in recent years in West Bengal indicates a downward trend as explained at para # 2 in the State‐level findings given below.

13) Uttar Pradesh (UP) stands third in this list with a total of 22,108 instances of rape reported during this period (see Graph 1). The recent statements of senior leaders of the ruling political party in that State that, given the size of the population the number of instances reported are minimal, is not borne out by NCRB data. UP averages at 4.65 incidents of rape per day during this 13‐year period.

14) Maharashtra with 21,049 instances and Rajasthan with 19,083 cases of rape reported during this period complete the list of top five in that order for the 13‐year period (see graph 1). On an average more than 4 rapes occurred per day in Maharashtra and about 4 rapes per day in Rajasthan during this period.

15) Assam comes 6th with a total of 18,115 instances (average of 3.81 rapes per day) followed by Andhra Pradesh at 7th place with 15,114 cases (average of 3.18 cases per day), Bihar at 8th place with 14,252 cases (average of 3 instances of rape per day), Odisha at 9th place with 13,262 cases (average of 2.79 cases per day) and Chhattisgarh at 10th place with 13,218 cases (average of 2.78 cases per day) (see graph 1).

16) Amongst the 28 States, Sikkim sits at the bottom of the list with only 238 cases of rape reported during this period (see graph 1). The least number of rapes anywhere was reported in the UT of Lakshadweep at 9 cases during the 13‐year period (see graph 2).

17) Delhi, also a UT reported 8,060 cases during this period (see graph 2), much more than the larger States of Tamil Nadu (7,875 cases) Karnataka (6,204 cases), and Gujarat (4,981 cases) (see graph 1).

18) Amongst the 3 States created at the turn of the millennium, Chhattisgarh topped the list with 13,218 cases of rape followed by Jharkhand with 10,363 cases during the 13‐year period. Uttarakhand with 1,606 cases is in the third place (see graph 1).

19) Amongst the States in the northeastern part of India, Nagaland reported the least number of cases of rape ‐ 251 during this period (see graph 1). After Assam, Tripura reported the most number of cases at 2,291 followed by Meghalaya at 1,203, Mizoram at 915 and Arunachal Pradesh at 575 cases during the same period (see graph 1).

20) Jammu Kashmir reported 3,188 cases during this period while geographically smaller sized states like Haryana and Punjab reported 7,381 and 6,347 cases respectively during this period. Goa reported only 436 cases of rape during this period (see graph 1).

21) None of the major political parties that have run the governments in the States during this period, have succeed in bringing down the number of instances of rape in a consistent manner year after year despite their election manifesto promises to improve the law and order situation in the concerned State. The All India Trinamool Congress is the only exception where the number of rapes have come down somewhat since it assumed power in the State of West Bengal. However it has been in power only for a little more than three years. its performance needs to be watched over the remainder of its term to make a correct assessment of its ability to bring down the figures – not by burking but by taking resolute steps to prevent occurrences of rape in that State.

22) Analysis of findings from the 20 States and 1 UT covered by this study shows that in some States the number of rapes reported in an election year or a year before general elections to the State Legislative Assembly fell considerably in States like Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh while it rose in a few other States such as Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. This aspect requires deeper analysis to ascertain whether the administration tried to be more sensitive towards sufferers of rape and registered the cases or refused to register cases in order to keep levels of crime low on paper. The hike or decline could be due to other socio‐economic factors as well. We have only pointed out this correlation in the study to encourage other researchers to take this issue up seriously and delve deeper to examine the peaks and troughs during election years. It is also important to correlate these phenomena with the general trend regarding other heinous crimes such as murder, dacoity, arson etc that were reported during the same period.

Rape trial related trends – 2012 vis‐à‐vis 2013

Detailed dataset about rape trials is available on the Data Portal only for the year 2012. The data for the remaining years lies scattered in the NCRB’s published annual reports which are not always available in machine‐readable form. For the purpose of this study we have compared the 2012 dataset with the figures available in the latest Crime in India Report for 2013.8 Our findings comparing the data for the two year period are given below:

--While 1,01,041 cases were under trial in 2012, with 1,14,785 cases under trial this amounts to a 12% increase.

--In 2012 trial was completed in 14,717 cases whereas in 2013 this figure rose by a little less than 22% to 18,833. While 3,563 persons were convicted for rape in 2012, 5,101 culprits were convicted in 2013 indicating an increase by a little more than 30%.

--The number of acquittals rose by 18.79% in 2013 when 13,735 accused persons were pronounced not guilty as compared to 11,154 persons in 2012.

--In 2013, the proportion of cases where the offence of rape was compounded9 fell by a little more than 24% as compared to 2012.

--The proportion of rape cases where trial was pending rose by a little more than 10% in 2013 (95,731 cases) as compared to 2012 (86,032 cases).

II. State‐wise major findings:

We have given below our findings borne out by an analysis of the NCRB datasets for 20 States and 1 Union Territory which reported the highest number of instances of rape during the 13‐year period (i.e., more than 200 cases during this period).

1. Madhya Pradesh
At the start of the period under study, in 2001, Madhya Pradesh reported 2,851 rapes. This number reached 4,335 in 2013 indicating a rise of more than 52%. The rising trend of rapes in MP dipped marginally only during the years 2003, 2006 and 2008. Incidentally, 2003 and 2008 were election years in that State.

The sharpest spike in any year in comparison to the immediately preceding year occurred in 2013 at more than 26% (Graph 3). 72% of the total number of rapes reported was during the years 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2009, 2008, 2005 and 2006 in descending order of the number of cases reported in each successive year (Pareto analysis ‐ Graph 4). The State was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during all these years.

 2. WestBengal
At the start of the period under study, West Bengal reported only 709 cases of rape (Graph 5). Thereafter it witnessed a rise in the number of cases every year between up to 2009 (2,336 cases). The figure dipped to 2,311 in 2010 and rose again to 2,363 in 2011. Thereafter the number cases have declined in subsequent years with only 1,685 cases reported in 2013. Nevertheless in 2013 there were 138% more cases as compared to 2001.

• The sharpest spike in any year as compared to a previous year (47.2%) occurred in 2004 when the Left Front was in power. The numbers declined slightly in 2010 and rose again in 2011 – an election year which brought the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) to power in the month of May. Only 52 more cases were reported that year compared to 2010. The figures have declined every year since then. Nevertheless the 2013 figures are more than double of those reported in 2001.

75% of the rape cases were reported during the years – 2011, 2009, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2012, 2006 and 2005 in descending order of the number of cases reported in each successive year (Graph 6). The Left Front was in power in all years except 2012 and the first four months in 2011.

3. UttarPradesh
At the start of the period under study, in 2001, Uttar Pradesh (UP) reported 1,958 cases of rape (Graph 7). This figure rose by 56% to 3,050 in 2013.

• The sharpest spike in any year as compared to the previous year was in 2004 (53%). The Samajwadi Party (SP) was in power during that year having defeated the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which ruled the State between May 2002 and August 2003. The years 2002 and 2003 witnessed a declining trend with the numbers falling to 911 in 2003.

72% of the cases were reported during the years 2013, 2011, 2012, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2007 and 2010 in descending order of the number of cases reported in each successive year (Graph 8). The BSP was in power during four of those namely, 2008 – 2011. The BJP was in power in 2001 and the SP in 2013 and the last nine months of 2012.

Despite being third on the list for the 13‐year period – the total number of rapes reported in UP in 2013 is 44.75% higher than the figure reported from West Bengal for that year.


The findings of this study are subject to the following caveats:

a) Senior police officers and experts on the subject have always cautioned against accepting the NCRB reported crime figures as the gospel truth. As junior level police officials are responsible for data collection, compilation and submission from the police station level to the district level units and further up to the SCRBs, they may not portray an accurate picture. However these dataset are being officially generated and used for replying to questions raised by Parliamentarians on the floor of both Houses. We hope that the findings themselves will raise the shortcomings in the manner of data collection and reporting and encourage civil society organisations and experts to recommend better methods of collection and reporting of data about crimes committed against SCs and STs.

b) The findings described above are true only to the extent of the correctness of the numbers and figures mentioned in the dataset uploaded by the NCRB on the Data Portal.

c) We have not interrogated the quality of data made available on this Data Portal as that will require an inquiry into the original records held in thousands of police stations across the country – a time consuming process. We agree that for these findings to make greater sense they need to be linked to other datasets and statistics about the delays in registering of offences under this law, the manner of their investigation, the speed with which offenders are arrested, the quality of legal aid available to the victims of such offences and the speed with which trials are conducted and punishment handed down to the convicts and equally importantly the rate of conviction. During the course of this analysis we discovered that many other kinds of datasets need to be collected and made publicly available for people to get a clearer picture of how accessible that constitutional promise of ‘JUSTICE’ is to the sufferers of the crime of rape. We hope readers will take this initiative forward and make use of the immense opportunities that open data policy presents to assess the performance of the law enforcement mechanisms at both micro and macro levels.

d) Last, we do not claim that the NCRB data represents a complete picture of the number of offences of rape committed against women during any given year. There are two reasons for this caution. First, experts have pointed out that the data collation exercise commencing at the police station level takes into account only the principal offence mentioned in the FIR. However an FIR may contain other offences also committed by the same person(s) during the same event. So if a woman raped was subsequently murdered by the culprits, to escape identification, the principal offence noted in the FIR would be that of murder. So the crime data compilation will reflect only the principal offence of murder and leave out rape. As a result the NCRB dataset for a given year may not be an accurate reflection of the total number of instances of rape that occurred across the country.

Second, experience shows that many cases of rape go unreported for various reasons such as lack of faith in the ability of the criminal justice system to deliver quick and efficient justice protecting the dignity of the sufferers of this crime, lack of critical support from the family, friends or the community to pursue such cases to their logical conclusion, social stigma that often attaches to the sufferers on account of going public with their cases and many other such reasons.

For further information contact:
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

B‐117, 1st Floor, Sarvodaya Enclave New Delhi‐ 110 017
Tel: +91‐11‐43180201/43180215 Fax: +91‐11‐26864688
Email: Website:


 1 The author is grateful to Ms. Maja Daruwala, Director, CHRI and Ms. Navaz Kotwal, Programme Coordinator, GOI‐ UNDP Access to Justice Project, New Delhi for reading the first draft and providing insightful comments. I have tried to incorporate them to the best of one’s ability. Any shortcoming in this report is entirely the author’s responsibility.

2 See website of the NCRB at:‐against‐women#web_catalog_tabs_block_10 ‐ accessed on 20 July, 2014.

3 See website of the NCRB at:‐CII2013/Home.asp ‐ accessed on 20 July 2014.

4 The data for 2012 has been sourced from the Data Portal at:‐registered‐and‐ their‐disposal‐under‐crime‐against‐women#web_catalog_tabs_block_10 . The data for 2013 has been sourced from the Crime in India Report, 2013 accessible on the website of NCRB at:‐ CII2013/Home.asp ‐ accessed on 20 July, 2014.

5 As the State of Telangana had not yet been formed during the period under study only 28 States are being mentioned. All references to Andhra Pradesh in this report must be construed as the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh.

6 3 days have been added to the total number of days on account of leap years occurring in 2004, 2008 and 2012. This amounts to 4,748 days in all for the period 2001‐2013. The period between 2001‐2012 had 4,383 days. 

7 The lack of awareness may also extend to policemen who may be blissfully unaware of the changes in the law relating to the offence of rape. Experience shows that circulars about changes to the criminal law sent from the highest office does not always reach the constabulary simply because everybody is quite busy going about their routine duties. Special awareness raising programmes are required to apprise police personnel about changes in the criminal law and procedure in a timely manner.

 8 A 13‐year comparison will require more time to cull out the data from the published reports – a task we hope to accomplish in future.

9 It is strange that despite rape not being a compoundable offence under the Indian Penal Code, the authorities permit such compromises and even record it.

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