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Death for 4 rapists

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Death For Four Rapists : If capital punishment can only be an exception and not the rule, the Delhi court is fully justified in treating the Nirbhaya...

If capital punishment can only be an exception and not the rule, the Delhi court is fully justified in treating the Nirbhaya gang rape case as an exception because of the unbelievable brutality that characterized it. That the 23-year-old paramedic was gang raped by five (one of them has since escaped the punishment he so richly deserved for no better reason than that he was a juvenile!) in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16 last was bad enough; that she was also disemboweled only showed that the rapists were not human beings but beasts, although it is possible to argue that not all beasts would behave in such a beastly fashion.

Therefore, not many can question the judgment even on the ground that the guilty four are young and so deserve a chance to reform themselves. That argument would be perfectly valid in normal cases where the crime is not pre-meditated. But in this case the crime was not only pre-meditated but also ghastly. In most cases, public sympathy lies with the accused; after all, it is only proper that one should be given a chance to reform himself or to atone for his crime; but not when the crime shows that it has been committed by brutes.

Of course, the rapists will appeal against this judgment, but without presuming to prejudge the possible stand of the superior court, it can be said that national sentiment is overwhelmingly supportive of the four rapists being hanged till they are dead. That is not to say that judgments of courts should be based on public sentiment; on the contrary, emotion has no place in judicial thinking. However, no judgment can fail to reckon with public sentiment.

Right from the day the crime took place, ordinary people in almost all Indian cities and towns have been carrying placards and shouting slogans demanding that all rapists should be hanged. But that sentiment has had nothing to do with the sentence pronounced on Friday. The judge based his judgment on the dying declaration of Nirbhaya and the injury marks on her body. The nation is already regretting having on the statute book such as thoughtless Act as the Juvenile Justice Act which sort of provides cover to juveniles and helps them get away with murder, as it did in the Nirbhaya Case.

Indeed, shortly after the rape and physical attack on Nirbhaya it came out that the worst offender was the “juvenile” who was primarily responsible for brutality on her; and he is serving a three-year “sentence” in a juvenile home! Does a juvenile home in any way resemble a prison? If it does not, as it indeed does not, what sort of a punishment should he be deemed to be undergoing? Therefore, the first thing that Parliament needs to do is amend the Juvenile Justice Act so that even a so-called juvenile may be made accountable for his crimes.
If one is a juvenile and so cannot be punished like an adult, how would one explain the beastly conduct of a juvenile that might put to shame many adults? Therefore, the Government should realize that laws are meant to punish the guilty and protect the innocent, not the other way round. In other words, while the nation may celebrate the death sentence awarded to the four rapists, it will certainly regret that in the guise of being “under-age” a criminal has got away with a crime against humanity.
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