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Are Sexual violence laws adequate in Nepal?

With the growing gender-based violence in Nepal, the threat increases exponentially every year.

2022 May 22, 16:35, Kathmandu

According to the report done on sexual violence by Equality Now in 2021, out of thousands of rape cases filed every year, 65.2 percent do not get conviction in South Asia.

And it is no different when it comes to the security of the women in our country, Nepal. With the growing gender-based violence, the threat increases exponentially every year.

Out of 3,916 crimes registered by police in the period of one month from mid-July to mid-August, 12 percent were against women and children as reported by Nepal police in 2021. Data from the Women, Children and Senior Citizen organ of the Nepal Police, state that since 2003 there have been more than 15,000 recorded cases of rape registered with the police. With Kathmandu Police, last year, alone reporting 98 rape cases registered by August.

According to the Section 219 (c) of the 2017 Criminal Code states: “The penetration of penis into anus or mouth, penetration of penis, to any extent, into anus, mouth or vagina, insertion of any object other than penis into vagina shall also be considered to be rape.”

Lawyer, Sallu Tiwari
Lawyer, Sallu Tiwari

Lawyer, Sallu Tiwari, says, “The victims above the age of 18 can file a case within a year, and the minors can file a case after a year they are of legal age. Before the code of conduct was passed, the time length used to be only 35 days. However, a year period is still among the shortest limitation periods in South Asia. ” “But on the other hand, in 2016, the government decided to add a clause where if the victim is suffering from mental health issues then she can file a case against the perpetrator,” she adds.

While the chapter 14 of Muluki Ain, amended by the sixth amendment, says, “Having sexual intercourse with an unmarried girl, a widow or someone's wife under sixteen years of age with or without her consent and with one above sixteen years of age without her consent by using force or showing threat or even under inappropriate influence is proved to be a rape case.” While there are laws against those who commit rape or sexual harassment, a report done by Trail International in 2020 points out how the law is satisfactory only on the paper.

The report notes the overarching gender bias in Nepal’s legislation, resulting in the exclusion of men, male children or transgender individuals from potential rape victims and the narrow definition of rape leaves out a number of sexual crimes, which are qualified as 'sexual harassment' instead which leads to a lesser sentences for the culprits.

An additional limitation of the law relates to the statute of limitation (the time after which rights offenses cannot be punished) on rape and other forms of sexual violence. Depending on the situations, the statute goes from 35 days – including for conflict-related sexual violence – to a year.

A statute of limitation on rape and other forms of sexual violence does not factor in the fear and stigma faced by victims. The report emphasizes how in Nepal rape is not criminalized as a war crime or crime against humanity.

Just like in the West, Nepal also joined the #Metoo moment in 2019. Ever since the movement tried to take off women have taken to social media or reach out to newsrooms, time and again, to share their stories of sexual violence.

Recently Susmita Regmi also took to her social media to tell her story about her harrowing moment in the beauty pageant in 2014 as the pageant organiser raped her multiple times.

With Regmi’s case, many have come to her defend, asking for justice for rape victims. And in the light to the case, Kathmandu Police on May 21 arrested Manoj Pandey on charges of the alleged rape.


sexual violence Equality Now South Asia nepal Gender-based violence Women Children and Senior Citizen Criminal Code sexual crimes #MeToo moment Susmita Regmi
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