Amid the outrage over the Hyderabad’s horrific rape and murder of a veterinary doctor, social media is on an overdrive of disinformation. From fake assault reports to linking old news with half-truths, the social media has become web of lies and deceit. One such news doing the rounds is Narendra Modi government passing new law that will award death sentence to the ‘potential rapists’. The message, in form of WhatsApp forwards and emails, talks about new rape-deterring law. “Finally a new law passed by Modi govt today. As per Indian Penal Code 233. If a girl is suspected to be raped or getting raped, then she has the supreme right to kill the man, injure his sexual part or harm that person as dangerously and girl won't be blamed for murder,” the message read.
Alarmed at such disinformation, the Press Bureau of India has issued an explicit clarification, which clearly states that above mentioned information is totally false and baseless. The PIB took to Twitter to issue the clarification. “Claim: New law passed - "Section 233 of Indian Penal Code", allowing a potential rapist to be killed Reality: Section 233 deals with counterfeiting of currency. Sections 96 to 100 deal with right of private defence of body and property.” Hashtagging it as ‘fake news’, the PIB has informed the netizens about the hoax.
However, there is a law that talks about self-defence. According to a report by The News Minute, “there is a Right of Private Defence of body in the Indian Constitution and those apprehensive that their lives are in danger can exercise this right. This law – Section 100 of IPC – can be exercised by anyone and not just women”.
Section 100 of the IPC states: “When the right of private defence of the body extends to causing death.—The right of private defence of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned in the last preceding section, to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the assailant, if the offence which occasions the exercise of the right be of any of the descriptions hereinafter enumerated.”
The fake news on Section 233 of the IPC has been circulted in media earlier too. A similar message was spread in 2013, and again in 2015.