New Delhi: The pandemic and subsequent lockdown resulted in a drop in traditional crimes like theft, robbery, and assault on women and children in 2020, but there was a drastic jump in disobedience to government orders, primarily arising due to violations of COVID-19 norms, official data showed.
According to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on ‘Crime in India 2020’, a total of 66,01,285 cognisable crimes comprising 42,54,356 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 23,46,929 Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered in 2020.
It shows an increase of 14,45,127 (28%) in registration of cases over 2019 (51,56,158 cases), while the crime rate registered per lakh population increased from 385.5 in 2019 to 487.8 in 2020.
During 2020, registration of cases under IPC increased by 31.9% whereas SLL crimes rose by 21.6% over 2019.
Percentage share of IPC cases was 64.4% while that of SLL cases was 35.6% of total cognisable crimes during 2020.
Major increase was seen in the cases registered under disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant from 29,469 cases in 2019 to 6,12,179 cases in 2020 and under ‘other IPC crimes’ from 2,52,268 cases in 2019 to 10,62,399 cases in 2020, the report said.
Similarly, under SLL category, more cases were registered under ‘other state local acts’ from 89,553 in 2019 to 4,14,589 in 2020. These together have resulted in 16,43,690 more cases registered in 2020 as compared to 2019.
These cases are primarily those arising out of violations of Covid norms. Effectively therefore, there is a decrease in registration of traditional crime by about two lakh cases, it said.
During 2020, a total of 55,84,135 IPC cases (13,27,167 cases pending from previous year, 42,54,356 reported during the year and 2,612 cases re-opened for investigation) were under investigation, of which 34,47,285 cases were disposed of by police including 26,11,925 cases which were charge-sheeted, resulting in the charge-sheeting rate of 75.8%.
The country remained under complete lockdown from March 25 to May 31, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic (first wave), during which movement in public space was very limited.
The cases registered under crimes against women, children, and senior citizens, theft, burglary, robbery and dacoity declined, whereas Covid-related enforcement resulted in an increase of cases registered under ‘disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (Sec. 188 IPC)’, under ‘other IPC crimes’ and under ‘other state local acts’, it said.
A total of 10,47,216 cases of offences affecting the human body were registered which accounted for 24.6% of the total IPC crimes during 2020, of which hurt (5,78,641 cases) accounted for the maximum cases – 55.3% – followed by cases of causing death by negligence (1,26,779 or 12.1%) and cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (85,392 or 8.2%).
The cases registered under offences against human body depict a marginal decrease of 0.5% in 2020 over 2019 (10,52,016 cases) and the crime rate has declined from 78.6 in 2019 to 77.4 in 2020.
A total of 29,193 cases of murder were registered during 2020, showing a marginal increase of 1% over 2019 (28,915 cases) with disputes’ (10,404 cases) being the motive in the maximum cases followed by ‘personal vendetta or enmity’ (4,034 cases) and ‘gain’ (1,876 cases).
A total of 84,805 cases of kidnapping and abduction were registered during 2020, showing a decrease of 19.3% over 2019 (1,05,036 cases).
A total of 88,590 people (14,869 males and 73,721 females) were reported kidnapped or abducted during 2020, of which 56,591 (8,715 males and 47,876 females) victims were children and 31,999 (6,154 males and 25,845 females) were adult.
During 2020, a total of 91,739 kidnapped or abducted people (22,872 males and 68,867 females) were rescued, of which 91,458 people were rescued alive and 281 found dead.
A total of 3,71,503 cases of crime against women were registered during 2020, showing a decline of 8.3% over 2019 (4,05,326 cases).
Majority of crimes against women under IPC were registered under ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (30%) followed by ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ (23%), ‘kidnapping and abduction of women’ (16.8%) and ‘rape’ (7.5%).
A total of 1,28,531 cases of crime against children were registered during 2020, showing a decrease of 13.2% over 2019 (1,48,090 cases).
In percentage terms, major crime heads under ‘crime against children’ during 2020 were kidnapping and abduction (42.6%) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (38.8%) including child rape.
A total of 29,768 cases were registered against juveniles during 2020, depicting a decrease of 7.8% over 2019 (32,269 cases).
The crime rate also depicts a decrease from 7.2 in 2019 to 6.7 in 2020.
A total of 35,352 juveniles were apprehended in 29,768 cases, of which 31,618 juveniles were apprehended under cases of IPC and 3,734 under cases of SLL during 2020.
Crimes against women
Nearly 77 rape cases were reported across India on an average every day in 2020, totalling to 28,046 such incidents during the year, NCRB data showed.
Overall, 3,71,503 cases of crime against women were reported across the country last year, down from 4,05,326 in 2019 and 3,78,236 in 2018, the NCRB, which functions under the Union home ministry, stated.
Of the total cases of crimes against women in 2020, there were 28,046 incidents of rape involving 28,153 victims, according to the NCRB data for the year, which witnessed COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Out of the total victims, 25,498 were adults, while 2,655 were below the age of 18 years, it stated .
The number of rape cases, as defined in Indian Penal Code section 376, stood at 32,033 in 2019, 33,356 in 2018 and 32,559 in 2017. The figure for 2016 was 38,947, according to NCRB data from corresponding years.
Among states and Union Territories, the maximum 5,310 rape cases were lodged in Rajasthan in 2020 followed by Uttar Pradesh (2,769), Madhya Pradesh (2,339), Maharashtra (2,061) and Assam (1,657).
National capital Delhi logged 997 such cases during the year, the data showed
Of the total crimes against women last year, the maximum 1,11,549 were under the category “cruelty by husband or relatives”, while there were 62,300 cases of kidnapping and abduction also, it showed.
Besides rape, there were 85,392 cases of “assault to outrage modesty and 3,741 cases of “attempt to commit rape”, the NCRB data showed.
There were 105 cases of acid attack logged across the country during 2020, it added.
India also recorded 6,966 cases of dowry deaths with 7,045 victims last year, the data showed.
The NCRB, under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and by special and local laws in the country.
(With PTI inputs)