January 24, 2013

Why Capital Punishment should have been a Part of Justice Verma Report



I appreciate the fact that Justice Verma report came out on time. I also like the fact that suggestions were invited from people while drafting this report. What I don’t appreciate is the exclusion of capital punishment as an option for sexual crimes. This is why I feel capital punishment should also be applied to sexual crimes:-

Lack of Fear
India has always followed a ‘calm’ approach towards its judicial plans and policies however its this approach that has made a mockery of the entire judicial system. If people were so scared of imprisonment, they wouldn’t commit rapes the way they are committing these days. Yes, late implementation has a lot to do with this. The system wouldn’t change overnight, so unless you announce a trigger like this, people will just continue to play with women as if they are toys. Really, that’s what it feels like now – as if the women in this country are mere objects or toys whom men pick up or attack anywhere, rape and throw away.

Affect on the Victim
Rape is a heinous crime. While it may not always kill a woman, it definitely kills a part of her persona for all time. Sex is still taboo in this country, people just make caustic comments without thinking. Politicians, police officials, famous personalities have been known to come up with the most ridiculous yet hurtful comments that tarnish the victim’s character, personality and intelligence. And these are famous people, imagine the kind of venom that others can spew. A victim has to face all this apart from the crime that she underwent. Its not easy, it may take a substantial amount of time for her to recover and re-build herself, sometimes she wouldn’t be able to get there at all.
More importantly, the victim who is reduced to a vegetative state like Aruna Shanbaug or a victim who dies due the crime like Nirbhaya or a victim who is raped and murdered like Nayana Pujari – where is the justice for these women if the person(s) who destroyed their lives get only life imprisonment?

Taxpayer’s Burden
Jail is run on taxpayer’s money. Why should a tax payer pay for a rapist? Rape just does not violate a woman’s body, it destroys a part of her, a part of their lives – who are connected to her, and largely it destroys culture and society. Everytime a woman is raped in this country, someone’s mother, wife, sister or child is violated. Somewhere the religious values of equating women with Goddesses and Ethereal beings are destroyed. Somewhere a part of the culture and societal norms that constitute this nation are broken down. Why, should a tax payer pay for the upkeep of the perpetrator of destruction on so many levels?

I also do not support the juvenile argument. What is ‘under-age’ got to do with raping a women and then inserting rods in her? Infact, if the perpetrator could commit an ‘adult crime’ then he should be tried and subjected to ‘adult punishment’. That’s how justice should be meted out.

Today is National Girl Child Day. Lets make it a happy one and pledge to bring about changes that ensure a better future for the girls of this country. Rape is just one part of the story, overall, lets vote for stronger laws and bring about changes within ourselves that let the girls and women of this country breathe!

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