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Implications of Removing Section 377 IPC from Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS): Analyzing the Impact on Male Rape Cases

Implications of Removing Section 377 from Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita: Analyzing the Impact on Male Rape Cases


The legal landscape in India witnessed a historic transformation with the removal of Section 377 from The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), the successor to the Indian Penal Code (IPC). While celebrated for decriminalizing consensual same-sex relationships, the omission of Section 377 has raised concerns, particularly in the context of male rape cases. This article delves into the implications of the removal and how it affects legal recourse for male victims of sexual assault.

Historical Context:

Section 377 of the IPC criminalized "carnal intercourse against the order of nature," applying broadly to both consensual and non-consensual acts. The provision's removal from BNS was a progressive step, aligning with the Supreme Court's ruling in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, which deemed it unconstitutional in consensual same-sex relationships.

Concerns Regarding Male Rape Cases:

1. Lack of Specific Provisions:

The removal of Section 377 creates a legal vacuum concerning male rape cases. Unlike its predecessor, BNS lacks specific provisions addressing non-consensual acts against men, leaving a gap in the legal framework for prosecuting such offenses.

2. Ambiguity in Definitions:

The absence of a dedicated section addressing male rape may lead to ambiguity in legal definitions. Clear and precise definitions are crucial for ensuring that acts of sexual assault against men are identified, prosecuted, and penalized appropriately.

3. Underreporting and Stigmatization:

Male rape cases were historically underreported due to societal stigma and legal ambiguities. The removal of Section 377 without the introduction of specific provisions in BNS may perpetuate this problem, hindering efforts to encourage victims to come forward.

4. Challenges in Legal Proceedings:

Prosecuting male rape cases under generic provisions not tailored to the nuances of such offenses can present challenges. A dedicated legal framework ensures that the legal system recognizes the distinct nature of sexual assault against men, facilitating fair and effective legal proceedings.

5. Human Rights Considerations:

The concerns around the removal of Section 377 from BNS in the context of male rape cases raise human rights considerations. Adequate legal provisions are essential to uphold the rights of male victims and ensure that they receive equitable treatment in the criminal justice system.

Potential Solutions:

1. Introduction of Dedicated Sections:

Policymakers should consider introducing dedicated sections in BNS addressing male rape cases. These sections should provide clear definitions, penalties, and procedural guidelines, ensuring a comprehensive and victim-centric approach.

2. Sensitization of Legal Professionals:

Sensitizing legal professionals, law enforcement, and the judiciary is crucial. Training programs can enhance awareness about the specific challenges faced by male victims of sexual assault and promote a more empathetic and informed response.

3. Public Awareness Campaigns:

Public awareness campaigns can help destigmatize male rape, encourage reporting, and educate society about the legal recourse available. These campaigns play a vital role in challenging societal norms and fostering a more supportive environment.


While the removal of Section 377 from BNS was a landmark step in recognizing individual freedoms, it necessitates a careful examination of its impact on male rape cases. Policymakers must proactively address the existing gaps in the legal framework, ensuring that dedicated provisions are introduced to safeguard the rights of male victims and facilitate effective legal redress. A balanced approach that respects human rights, acknowledges societal realities, and provides legal clarity is crucial for the continued evolution of India's legal system.


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