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Marital rape law and AI

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This is the story of one Mr Avadhesh Yadav. One the morning of February 25, 2015 he was found dead. He had committed suicide due to a “woman”. The woman was his wife who had registered a false case of dowry against him and his parents. The family was arrested and then released on bail. The girl now filed false molestation case against the boy’s father and his brother. The police again arrested them. Drove to desperation Avinash Yadav now committed suicide in a bid to save the humiliation his family was being subjected to.

As early as 2013 the Delhi High court had warned that rape laws were being misused by a section of women.

Yet the laws exist and for good reason. Its a common knowledge that women are still exploited. That rapes are not infrequent and culprits often escape punishment. The victim’s vulnerability forces her not to even complain many a times and even if she complains she is up against a slow creaky system

It is in this milieu that the martial rape laws are being debated in the country.

The ongoing debate on the marital rape laws is also a function of the complexity of India’s social milieu. No sane man would be against laws that punishes a man for torturing his spouse. The problem however starts with the issue of misuse of such laws.

The problem of misuse stems from several reasons. However one of the basic reasons is that the laws are an attempt towards a “one size fits all”. In an effort towards “nuking” the malice of exploitation of women, sweeping powers have been given to women in these laws. The reason for such sweeping power is that women in villages and illiterate communities would not be able to sufficiently present their case before the authorities. They wouldn’t be able to gather the requisite evidences. Post complaint it would be easy to muzzle them.

The assumptions are in place for large sections of the population of the country.

However the same assumptions do not hold true when you deal with the much more empowered spectrum of the women. Educated women from the metros who can just as well take care of themselves. Women, who in no respects are less than a man. The same laws which were “necessary” for the village, uneducated girl becomes a very powerful instrument in the hands of the city woman.

India is a subcontinent. The objective situation varies remarkably across geography, financial status ,caste etc. A low caste village girl in the hills of Uttarakhand can hardly be compared to her educated sister coming from a bureaucrat family and living in Delhi.

And power corrupts. The laws tend to be misused and the entire episode leaves a bad taste

So where is the balance? Softer approaches such as looking into circumstantial evidence etc may be used. But this gives rise to scope of much discretion.

Herein a point based system may be used. The vulnerability of a women can be mapped in several dimensions viz:

i)Education: A more educated woman is more likely to be knowledgeable of the laws in the country and her own rights vis a vis her uneducated or less educated sister

ii)Geography: Getting help in cities is far easier than in  a remote village. Further in a city a woman is far more likely to know about her rights

iii)Financial status: A working woman is in a much better position to walk out and fight back than a woman totally dependent on her spouse

Caste and religion status may play a role too in the index of deprivation as can the education of her mother and her siblings or even the locality she stays in (a woman in a posh suburb in Kolkata can hardly be compared to woman in the slums).

The law may now be mapped to the amount of points that a woman has accumulated. Thus a village girl who is uneducated and living in a remote village needs a powerful law to her rescue vis a vis an educated women lawyer residing in the cities.

In the past making such “tailored laws” wouldn’t be possible. Not any more. AI can help us in these matters. Thus the Aadhar number of each individual can be populated with a “1” or a “0” in each dimension. Say a woman is educated, in a city and working. She gets a score of 3. A village girl who is uneducated and not working gets a score of “0”. Two different laws can now be used for them. The former gets a law where is is treated at par with her spouse(or has a slight advantage), the later has a law that is much more stringent.

The job of finding the right “mix” and getting the right law can be left to an AI bot. Of course human legislators have to give it the choices to begin with. But once given such, it can just ask for the Aadhar numbers of the individuals involved, find the scores and just give out the appropriate laws. Once this sytem is up and running, and we have confidence on it, in the next stage, the outcome of the cases registered (i.e., the judicial outcome at various levels), the arguments made etc can be fed to a neural network. With the wealth of data relating to both the individuals, the arguments made, the logic used by the judge, case laws relied on etc an AI system can make still more fine tuned laws(this time automatically) which are even more “tailored” to an individual. It can glean through several cases and give us insights which would help the human law makers too to make better laws.

In an age of phones(smart or dumb), implementation would be very easy too. The aggrieved woman just has to send a message (through an app, a whatsApp chat, a SMS or just a call to a help line), tell her Aadhar number and bingo a case can be registered in the appropriate police station(the location can be found from the tower of the mobile phone) and based on the point index the police knows the severity and rush to the spot.If phone numbers are mapped to Aadhar numbers the victim needs to just tell her complaint.

The point based AI system can be used in other domains too where a “one law fits all” approach leads to injustice and social tensions. For eg Caste based reservations. Few would resist a reservation system that benefits a boy or a girl from a historically poor and unprivileged low caste who has to fight his way up the system. The resentment starts when one sees someone getting a privilege even when he or she is a second or third generation bureaucrat and everyone in family placed in good positions (This is not to say that just because one has attained a high post caste discrimination ends—it doesn’t. But surely his position cant be compared with that of a village boy from lower caste whose parents are uneducated and still doing caste based jobs. The point based system would again split the “deprivation” of such an individual in terms of the several dimensions such as

i)Caste

ii)Geography

iii)Parents education

iv)Financial status

v)Education of the individual etc

The various points can be mapped to his Aadhar number and the cumulative points used to decide if at all reservation is merited and if merited at what level.

The beauty of the system would be that it can be done without any human subjectivity whatsoever.

With machine intelligence now approaching greater heights we no longer need to be in an era of static laws. Laws which are “well meant” but which cannot take in  the richness of the circumstances that any case presents and thus prevents proper justice and thus prevent preventable deaths of men like Avadesh.

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