Montag, 21. Oktober 2013

ധ്രുവദീപ്തി // Crime/ Rape and Punishment-by P.D.mathew S J

ധ്രുവദീപ്തി // Crime:

Rape and Punishment

 P. D. Mathew S. J. (Advocate)

Protest demonstration in Delhi                                                                                                                (c)Sunday Times                                              
  (The author, Rev.Fr.P.D.Mathew S.J. is lawyer, and a famous human rights activist. Also he works as editor and publisher of Human rights journal "Nyay Darshan" in middle India.The photo shows the protest erupted in new Delhi after a medical student was brutally raped by seven men in a bus. The victim and her male friend were then severely beaten with iron rods before being thrown of the moving bus. The author writes his free opinion about the judgment on death penalty from the court against the convicts.)                                                            

The December 16 gang rape of a 23 year old women in Delhi was always a rarest of the rare case. Not just because of the brutality of the assault, but also in the way it wrenched attention to itself. It brought ordinary people to the streets, made a burning public cause out of rape and sexual assault, changed criminal law.

Stressing on the need to send a strong deterrent message to curb the rise in gruesome crimes against women a special court in Delhi on 13th septemner sentenced all 4 convicts to death under section 302 of the Indian penal code.

Justifying death penalty Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna wrote:

- "These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent massage to the perpetrators of such crimes.

-The increasing trend of crime against women can be arrested only once society realizes that there will be no tolerance from any form of deviance against women.

-The criminal justice system must instill confidence in the minds of people, especially women, more so in extreme cases of brutality such as the present one.

-The crime of such a nature against a helpless woman per se, requires exemplary punishment."

This judgment was based on the principles laid out by the supreme court in several cases. According to the supreme court in rarest of the rare cases when the collective consciousness of society is shocked, the court must use their judicial power to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion. In a case it held that it would be a failure of justice not to award the death sentence where the crime was executed in the most grotesque and revolving manner, so in extremely brutal, the diabolical grotesque killing, shocking to the collective conscience of society, the death penalty is justified.

In this case convicts in pursuance of their conspiracy lured the victims into the bus, brutally gang raped the girl, inflicted inhuman torture and threw the defenceless victims out of the moving bus in a naked condition profusely bleeding on a cold winter night. Their unprovoked crime demonstrated exceptional depravity of mind mind of the convicts. This ghastly act of the convicts definitely fits in this case in the bracket of rarest of rare cases. Now the conceits have the right to appeal against the judgment and order on sentence within 30 days.
This sentencing has also brought a renewed strength, peace and rest to the family members of the victims. They are grateful to the police, the government and media for bringing them justice.

At this juncture all must objectively think whether death penalty brings down crimes against women.There are many who believe that death could at most be deterrent but not justice. Death is a easy way out.What we need is a structural transformation that can bring speedy justice to all victims of rape.

There are many people against death penalty. They believe that greater justice can be given to the victims of rape or other serious crimes if the convicts are given 10-years or more rigorous imprisonment during which time the convicts are given public works including road building and cleaning of public places and lavatories etc.Half of the wages paid to the convicts for the work they have done must be given to the victims. If the convicts is a rich person 1/3 of his property must be given to the victim. Just keeping the convicts and feeding them in jails using public funds is not an adequate punishment that can give justice to the poor victims or his kins. Giving imprisonment alone as a punishment is outdated. Death as a deterrent punishment is also unjust and outdated. It is abolished by 2/3 of the nations of the world.

While punishing a convict we must also consider the consequence of the punishment on his family members who depend on him for their lives.

Will death penalty stop rape? We may say that this is justice for the victims, but it will not change crimes against women. Life imprisonment consisting of hard work and heavy fine (depending on the economic status of the convict.) can be adequate punishment. This may also give an opportunity to the convict to repent and reform himself and to compensate the victim or her family members, without destroying his own family.

                                   Women Protest against Crime.                                               
Government must make sure that every victim of rape gets adequate and speedy justice everywhere in India and not just in one case due to the wide spread protests across the country and wide media coverage.

Reforming that requires allocating greater resources to increase the number of courts, manage cases better with technology reduce the time taken on preliminary paperwork. These are investments we need, if rape cases are to be quickly and fairly resolved,with or without the vagaries of public attention.

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