04 February 2013

Why treat a Juvenile Rapist with Kid Gloves?

In the wake of the horrific Delhi gangrape case (of Nirbhaya or Damini, as the unfortunate victim was addressed by different media channels), the debate over what could be the most befitting punishment for such heinous crimes is still raging. 

Today crimes against women, especially against young girl children, are rising alarmingly. This is because the law is seen as lax and its enforcement ineffective. On February 3, the Union Cabinet passed a new-look anti-rape ordnance

Source: India Today
I believe child rapists should be first castrated and then hanged. If the tardy investigation and judicial processes in such cases can be speeded up, I am sure such punishment will deter others from committing such dastardly crimes. 

Another dimension to the Delhi Gangrape Case is that one of the accused has been declared a juvenile. At present, under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, a juvenile accused has to be kept in a juvenile correction home or any other reformatory centre for minors. The juvenile faces a separate trial under the JJ Act and the maximum sentence that can be given is only three years. Just three years for exhibiting unparalleled moral depravity and indulging in such heinous crime!

On February 2, The Telegraph of Kolkata published an interesting opinion piece on juvenile crime by Sunanda Datta-Ray. Here's an excerpt:
When two eight-year-old boys committed a gruesome murder in the northern English town of Stockport 152 years ago, the coroner ruled that it isn’t the offender’s age but his “strength of understanding and judgment” that establishes the true “capacity to do evil or contract guilt”. By that yardstick, a youth aged 17 years, six months and 12 days must face up to the consequences of his action like any adult. As the coroner pointed out, the two eight-year-olds who tortured and drowned a two-year-old child on 11 April, 1861, were well aware of the difference between right and wrong. By choosing a “secluded place” for their “horrifyingly brutal” deed and by keeping quiet about it, they had proved their “consciousness of guilt” beyond any doubt.
I believe that the Trial Court, which is hearing the Delhi Gangrape Case, should consider the horrific criminal behavior exhibited by the accused juvenile. Applying the same above principle (mentioned in the English case) the court should rule that it isn’t the offender’s age but his “strength of understanding and judgment” that establishes the true “capacity to do evil or contract guilt”. In fact, this Delhi juvenile not only exhibited a true capacity to do evil but himself is evil personified.

Come to think of it, under the current law this juvenile criminal may walk free after serving just a few months behind bars; in jail he will turn an adult and imagine the serious danger a criminal like him will pose to the society at large.

Today, it is fashionable to talk about changing the attitude of a male chauvinist society like ours; trust me, it never will change for good.

Haryana's Khap panchayat leaders call for lowering the marriageable age of girls to 15 years! Why? These elders say this move will force men to go to their wives for sex and hence they will not look elsewhere! 

These so-called keepers and upholders of our Bharatiya Sanskriti also say that eating Chinese food make men and women horny. Blaming foreign food for the moral depravity of their children is Hamari Mahaan Bharatiya Sanskrit for these elders.

And yes, we live in a society where religious leaders say that a woman’s indecent clothes attract unwanted attention from men. I wonder what such religious leaders have to say when a three-year old child is raped. 

Can we ever change this creepy and medieval attitude toward women? Given the plumbing moral turpitude in our society, for once I cannot help being a pessimistic.


Rohith castelino said...

Wonderful, The article changed my dimension of thinking and the excerpt from the News paper is very good

Anonymous said...

I would not straight away go with castration and capital punishment for juvenile rapists.I believe crime deterrant is, to a large extent, the certainty of punishment and to some extent, the nature of punishment. Juvenile rapists should not be castrated or hanged right away but at the same time should not be allowed to get away with three year imprisonment of Juvenile Act, which is a joke.

The Juvenile act needs some serious modifications, exceptions should be made to try the accused juvenile under adult law in cases of serious crimes. This would be lot better than lowering the juvenile age. In such serious crimes, like that of Delhi one, where a juvenile is the prime accused, the verdict can be as harsh as adult law allows it to be.

It's already been recognised as rarest of rare cases which can lead to death penalty as per adult law. The juvenile who's capable of committing such can't-even-mention atrocities against the victim should be tried under adult law as he's fully aware of what he was doing. And hence the prime accused juvenile in Delhi case deserves to be and should be hanged.