Capital Punishment For Rapists


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It is a really pity that the interminable discussions in electronic media about the bizarre episode of a 23 year old girl raped in a bus in Delhi could come of with only a tiresome theatrical of Young Indians marching in Gantar Mantar demanding capital punishment for rapists and a confused Government and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde coming out with some meek and incoherent statements in response to the  histrionics. This has also caught the attention of some elitist, sitting in the comforts of their office or home to share the gory picture on social networking sights and seeking support for the causes and signing petitions demanding death penalty for rapist.

But people who is demanding capital punishment for rapists should understand the criminal justice system in India before demanding harsher rape law. While death penalty is legal in India, it is rarely carried out. Since 1995 it has been used only three times, on Auto Shankar(1995), Dhananjoy Chatterjee(2004) and Ajmal Kasab(2012). Even imposition of the penalty is not always followed by execution (even when it is upheld on appeal), because of the possibility of commutation to life imprisonment. There have been at least four cases in the recent past where rapists who murdered their victims as well who were awarded death penalty by the Courts managed to escape the noose after the President of India commuted their sentence to life imprisonment.

It is good that the Delhi protestors to remember that, in 2004, we saw hundreds of people gathered outside the prison holding all-night vigil similar to what we see in Delhi today, to protest against the execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee who was executed in Kolkata for raping and murdering a 14-year-old girl Hetal Parekh.

While I agree that rape is the most heinous of crimes on a human being and my heart goes out to all rape victims, but strongly feel that if the government heeds to the rising chorus to make rape an offense punishable by capital punishment and amends the law, the only thing we will see is that the conviction of rape cases coming down drastically. In my opinion what we need is stricter implementation of the existing laws but certainly NOT capital punishment.

If the Government is looking at stricter rape law, I am for castration and rigorous imprisonment of 10 years for rapists. Or 10 year rigorous imprisonment with weekly or monthly application of a paste of chilli on the rapists ‘weapon of mass destruction’ during his prison term.

Any suggestions?

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