Rape and the death penalty

Savvy - - Contents -

Ad­vo­cate Van­dana Shah de­codes the new bill passed by Par­lia­ment which of­fers the death penalty as pun­ish­ment for rap­ing a girl be­low the age of 12.

Rape is a heinous crime com­mit­ted against a wo­man. It de­nudes her both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. While the rea­sons be­hind this crime vary - from im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion of lust to power play - the im­pact on the sur­vivor is dev­as­tat­ing. This is es­pe­cially hor­rific in the case of chil­dren.

We, as a na­tion, and more so as women, ex­pe­ri­enced a gut­tural re­ac­tion of anger, hor­ror and sym­pa­thy in the case of Asifa. Keep­ing this in mind, Par­lia­ment, on Au­gust 6, 2018, passed a land­mark bill sen­tenc­ing those con­victed of rap­ing chil­dren be­low the age of 12 to death.

THE LAW

Sec­tion 376 In The In­dian Pe­nal Code 1[376. Pun­ish­ment for rape.—

(1) Who­ever, ex­cept in the cases pro­vided for by sub­sec­tion (2), com­mits rape shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment of ei­ther de­scrip­tion for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may ex­tend to ten years and shall also be li­able to fine un­less the wo­man raped is his own wife and is not un­der 12 years of age, in

We, as a na­tion, and more so as women, ex­pe­ri­enced a gut­tural re­ac­tion of anger, hor­ror and sym­pa­thy in the case of Asifa. Keep­ing this in mind, Par­lia­ment, on Au­gust 6, 2018, passed a land­mark bill sen­tenc­ing those con­victed of rap­ing chil­dren be­low the age of 12 to death.

The so­cio-le­gal im­pli­ca­tions point to­wards a so­ci­ety that will not tol­er­ate vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially sex­ual vi­o­lence, against women and chil­dren.

which cases, he shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment of ei­ther de­scrip­tion for a term which may ex­tend to two years or with fine or with both: Pro­vided that the court may, for ad­e­quate and special rea­sons to be men­tioned in the judg­ment, im­pose a sen­tence of im­pris­on­ment for a term of less than seven years.

(2) Who­ever,—

(a) be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer com­mits rape—

(i) within the limits of the po­lice sta­tion to which he is ap­pointed; or

(ii) in the premises of any sta­tion house whether or not sit­u­ated in the po­lice sta­tion to which he is ap­pointed; or

(iii) on a wo­man in his cus­tody or in the cus­tody of a po­lice of­fi­cer sub­or­di­nate to him; or

(b) be­ing a pub­lic ser­vant, takes ad­van­tage of his of­fi­cial po­si­tion and com­mits rape on a wo­man in his cus­tody as such pub­lic ser­vant or in the cus­tody of a pub­lic ser­vant sub­or­di­nate to him; or

(c) be­ing on the man­age­ment or on the staff of a jail, re­mand home or other place of cus­tody es­tab­lished by or un­der any law for the time be­ing in force or of a wo­man’s or chil­dren’s institution takes ad­van­tage of his of­fi­cial po­si­tion and com­mits rape on any in­mate of such jail, re­mand home, place or institution; or

(d) be­ing on the man­age­ment or on the staff of a hos­pi­tal, takes ad­van­tage of his of­fi­cial po­si­tion and com­mits rape on a wo­man in that hos­pi­tal; or

Each time there have been grisly sex­ual crimes against women/ girls, the law has changed, as we saw even dur­ing Nirb­haya’s case.

(e) com­mits rape on a wo­man know­ing her to be preg­nant; or

(f) com­mits rape on a wo­man when she is un­der twelve years of age; or

(g) com­mits gang rape, shall be pun­ished with rig­or­ous im­pris­on­ment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be li­able to fine: Pro­vided that the Court may, for ad­e­quate and special rea­sons to be men­tioned in the judg­ment, im­pose a sen­tence of im­pris­on­ment of ei­ther de­scrip­tion for a term of less than ten years.

TAK­ING A STAND

Es­sen­tially, Sec­tion 376 deals with le­gal pro­vi­sions re­gard­ing pun­ish­ment for rape.

Af­ter the pass­ing of the bill, there has been an amend­ment in Sec­tion 376, as men­tioned above, which is the ‘all im­por­tant amend­ment’ - Death for rape of girl aged be­low 12 years. Sim­ply put, the lighter sen­tence has now been done away with and the death sen­tence hangs like the sword of Damo­cles over rapists.

Cer­tain other amend­ments have also been added. They are:

1. Min­i­mum ten years im­pris­on­ment for rape.

2. Life im­pris­on­ment for gang rape of a girl be­low the age of 16 years.

3. Min­i­mum twenty years im­pris­on­ment for rape of a child be­low the age of 16.

4. Death for gang rape of a girl be­low the age of 12. Be­sides this, pub­lic ser­vants are also to be held li­able and pun­ished if they fail to reg­is­ter a com­plaint un­der the new sec­tions and cer­tain per­ti­nent amend­ments to the POCSO (Pro­tec­tion of Chil­dren from Sex­ual Of­fences Act), Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure and Ev­i­dence Act.

FIGHT­ING FOR A SAFER FU­TURE

Law in In­dia is in­ter­twined with so­ci­ety and this new bill fur­ther un­der­lines that fact. The so­cio-le­gal im­pli­ca­tions are clear and point to­wards a so­ci­ety that will not tol­er­ate vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially sex­ual vi­o­lence, against women and chil­dren. The ground re­al­i­ties may be dif­fer­ent and rape may still be the fourth most com­mon crime against women in In­dia. But each time there have been grisly sex­ual crimes against women/ girls, the law has changed, as we saw even dur­ing Nirb­haya’s case. The in­creased fo­cus on leg­is­la­tion and aware­ness in so­ci­ety clearly proves that we are a coun­try in tran­si­tion where sex­ual vi­o­lence will not be tol­er­ated.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.