What should be the sentence then if fast track courts come?

The 23 year old bus rape victim is in extreme pain, and on ventilator and still very, very critical. She had regained consciousness for a while and conveyed to  her parents – who are by her side, that she was in pain. ‘The doctors at Safdarjung hospital say they have never come across a patient with such horrific injuries.’ [Read more at: Link]

One of the rapists claims he lost control because the rape victim was fighting back.

Delhi gang rape case: Main accused went berserk after victim bit him

Ram Singh, 33, the prime accused in Sunday’s gang rape, is a volatile man, known among friends as “Mental,” … he lost control

“When she resisted and bit his hand, he says, he got very angry. Alcohol and the victims’ defiance, made him go berserk. He picked up a rod and hit the two everywhere. His accomplices followed suit,”…

“Initially, he denied everything. But when he began to open up, he chose to divulge each detail, with no repentance… He tried to destroy evidence by washing the bus with confidence and told his accomplices to not worry, and lie low for some time.

…Ram Singh decided to strip the victims completely before throwing them out of the bus to leave no trace of incriminating semen or blood. He also kept their mobiles and switched them off.

If there wasn’t so much public outrage, maybe they would have successfully evaded being arrested?

Take a look at this one line in a link shared on facebook:

According to police, …several gangs … after robbing people, also rape the women so that they don’t approach police. [Link]

I agree with this article, rape is a cultural thing.

Beating them up or sending them to jail don’t work either because more than the desire or testosterone, it is the cultural ideas or social norms that they they have grown up with, which drive them. Our culture should ask them to stop. Or we have to change our culture. [Delhi rape: It’s time men started fighting for women’s rights]

1.
DSC_8320Translates to something like: Women should not be asked to change the way they live, when it’s men who are committing crimes. Like, if men get drunk and attack women, it’s men who should be barred from public spaces, pubs and from drinking.

2. DSC_8321

“My voice is louder than my clothes.”

3. DSC_8328

“My voice is higher than my skirt.”

(Pictures are captures from TV)

Another problem with focusing only on the rape victims (and what she was doing, wearing etc) is that there is no effort to understand that all men are not rapists, and those who are should not be out in public spaces, endangering innocent citizens’ and their families.

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. [From: I am Adam Lanza’s Mother]

And now,

Delhi gang-rape: Mujhe faansi de do, says accused Pawan (“Hang me.”, says one of the rapists)

Do you think capital punishment for rapes would make Indian women safer?

Rinzu Rajan asked, If not Capital Punishment, then what should be the sentence then if fast track courts come?

These are my first thoughts, would like to hear yours.

Seven years rigorous imprisonment, complete financial compensation for legal and medical expenses to the victim and family, and also fine.

When there is aslo an attempt to kill and physical torture involved then the rapists should be tried for these too (separately),

When there is cheating involved, they should be tried for that;

If there is child sexual abuse involved, they should be charged for that too;

If there is stalking, street sexual harassment etc they should be tried for that.

But each judgment should come very fast, there is no other way to put fear of consequences in such criminals.

I also feel those who make irresponsible statements blaming the victims should be fined.

The police should be instructed to keep their opinions, judgements and chauvinism to themselves, when on duty they should only do what they are being paid to do – investigate and arrest the criminals.

Prominently displayed notices explaining exactly what is to be done when a rape victim approaches the police, should be put up in EVERY chowky, even the smallest, remotest chowky, so the victim (their family and friends), criminals and the police know exactly what to expect, their rights, responsibilities and exact procedures. Media should also publicise this.

This would also mean immediate medical examination of the victim, immediate (within minutes) action to arrest or find the rapists.

Do you think capital punishment for rape would be a better deterrent? Is that what countries where women feel, and are safer are doing?

63 thoughts on “What should be the sentence then if fast track courts come?

  1. My personal opinion is that Capital punishment is not the solution. That’s so much easier for the accused. They should be made to live a miserable life repenting on what they’ve done. Rigorous imprisonment and publicly paraded without masks. They should feel the angst and hatred people have for them.

    Inserting an iron rod into her vagina was the worst thing anybody could do…one can’t even imagine what the poor soul would have gone through…..bastards they are and they don’t deserve any kind of sympathies or a re-look at what their lives where or are like.

    But the punishment should be immediate and rigorous….else, they’ll also escape and we’ll only end up reading more rape cases in the newspapers.

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  2. Capital punishment wont work – reason – as a Retired supreme court Justice said yesterday on NDTV with Shabana Azmi – Being the severest form of punishment – if the case if complicated – where the prosecution has worked hard to prove the rapist guilty – the slightest doubt the judge has about the evidences – he is very likely to ‘NOT’ award death sentence to the guilty. The thought of spending the rest of their lives behind bars is in my opinion more scary than death.
    May be life imprisonment (till the rest of their normal life and not just 25 Years ) in complete insolation would be better.

    As for your suggestion of financial compensation – though it sounds good – in a case like this one…..do you think the collective wealth of these goons living in slums is sufficient for even 1 day that that girl has spent in the hospital. It might become meaningless if the perpetrators are broke.

    More than the severity – it the surety of the punishment that can(to an extent) prevent such incidents.

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    • I wholeheartedly I agree with the point you made. Also why doesn’t it occur in the minds of others that if death penalty were to be instituted, the chances of rapists actually murdering their victims and strategically disposing off the bodies somewhere safe, so that the victims body are never to be found may also increase.

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  3. I think capital punishment serves no good nor does life imprisonment (isn’t that 14 years according to Indian law?). They will get out sooner or later, get bailed and escape.

    Either castration or life imprisonment, meaning till he dies with lots of labour and absolutely no bail or letting out early would be better.

    In the first place, the court should be faster, police should be educated and polite & not pass judgements and major works on changing attitudes is in order.

    What if most Indian women and families just refused to marry such backward famillies and laws were strict against crimes? These guys live in assurance that they will not be punished and they will anyway get women to marry with a big fat dowry.

    Indian women should let go of their barriers and just marry men who treat them well or even leave men who cannot respect them or stand up in front of their spouses in front of their families. Then men would have to change. Thy continue with shitty behaviour because they can.

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    • Isn’t that 14 years according to Indian law?

      Not law, but rather Indian prison manuals.

      After the completion of fourteen years, Indian lifers may be entitled to a remission. This is not a right, but rather a privilege, although in practice it is almost never denied.

      If necessary, courts are free to specify the actual duration of the term, and can order incarceration up until death, with no possible remission.

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      • Okay, but I believe this is the most common case. There will be an outcry and the courts and government will say, we gave him life imprisonment but he will anyway be out after 14 years or like I read in some murder case, after all the hue and cry in the newspapers, the guy just got bail and appealed to supreme court and the crime was out of lime light anyway.

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  4. yes imprisonment for rest of their lives should be the norm,but he cynic in me believes that remedial measures would also not work much in crimes like these,the larger gender issues in the country need to be handled immediately.
    How about making our men in general and especially those in Police and Media more gender sensitive?How about creating asocial environment where perverts and sadists like these men live in fear of a aware and forthcoming community and society and where victim blaming and forced sex is taboo and not sex education or short skirts.

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  5. 1. They can try chemical castration on rapists
    2. People talk of counselling the rape victims to re-integrate them in the society! How about counselling the rapists?
    3. You can’t change the mindset of Indians. People still think that city chicks wear clothes that attract such incidents. If this logic is true, why have I never heard a woman trying to rape a man when he is wearing translucent dhoti or mini-lungi with hanging organs, which is a common scene in India!
    Uneducated people are running the country, and the educated ones are busy making money!Things won’t change until a breed of fresh educated minds enters the parliament!
    That’ll change the system, but still not the way Indians think. Sad, but true!

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  6. Slightly off-topic, but I am a little surprised that the media has not reported on the victim’s friend. He was attacked with the iron rod too and original reports stated he was seriously injured too. Our country’s obsession with the “honor” lost by the woman victim means they will not bother with the other victim.

    A first step towards a solution would be to change the mindset that the victim has lost honor. It’s not the victim, but the rapists who have lost honor (assuming they had any).

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  7. I like your suggestions, although I’d add that since it is unsafe to let some kinds of criminals on the streets, the provision for life imprisonment should remain in force.

    To be honest, I am disappointed by the way this incident has been treated by the media, by politicians and by the public. The unfortunate fact of life in India today is that people have become so desensitized to crimes like rape and casual assault, that it takes an incident of mind-boggling brutality for them to really raise any kind of concern. But what’s even more unfortunate is the fact that those concerns and the touted solutions are so incredibly myopic and superficial.

    What could have been a serious opportunity for introspection and soul-searching has been turned into a media-fueled blood frenzy, with politicians of all stripes yelling out magical solutions to problems that are very deep rooted and complex in scope, and random personality riding a wave of public outrage that is basically directed nowhere.

    People talk about fast-track courts as though they are a magical solution. They are nothing of the sort. They help, yes, but that help is an ongoing process. Just because these have been set up doesn’t mean the problems are fixed. There is a lot of procedural streamlining to be done here. If that streamlining is not done, FTCs will simply get bogged down into the same nightmarish quagmire of painfully slow litigation processes that ordinary courts deal with every hour of every day.

    Capital punishment is no solution either. I am personally in favor of abolishing it altogether, but no matter which side of the death penalty debate one stands on, there needs to be a reality check here. A majority of rapists are expecting to simply get away with their crimes. This is a fact, and with a national conviction rate of something like 26%, rapists who are betting on this are making a very safe bet. To someone expecting not to be reported and/or convicted at all, no amount of punishment, however severe, is an effective deterrent. The only effective deterrent is increasing the certainty and promptness of whatever punishment is laid down.

    For women (and everyone else) to feel safer, the response needs to be multi-pronged.

    The personnel crunch in both the police and judiciary is perhaps the biggest impediment to effective law enforcement, and needs to be slowly eliminated or at least substantially reduced through targeted, well-executed policies with clear objectives and clear, verifiable metrics of progress.

    A simultaneous substantial increase in basic, beat level policing would certainly help, as would increased automation in both law-enforcement and judicial processes. Make no mistake, procedural reform is absolutely vital.

    Fast-track courts are a good idea in theory, but making them work in practice requires dedicated work. The government must commit to this.

    An effective sensitization program and increased female representation in Law Enforcement won’t hurt at all, and although a top-down structure is inevitable in an organization as large and bureaucratic as the police force, sincere endeavors must be made to encourage public accountability and clear demarcations of influence. The force itself needs to be less centralized and more loose-jointed, so as to maximize efficiency.

    This is what the government can do.

    There is a larger, much harder-to-change part of this – the national psyche. I’m not sure if it’s even possible to directly change that. A few days from now, this case, just like the hundreds of sensational crimes before it, will be forgotten. But the oppression won’t stop. The culture which makes men think they can simply ‘teach her a lesson’ as and when they wish will continue to exist. Until that culture changes, until people concede that it is just as wrong to rape your own wife as it is to rape a woman on a moving bus (something that a lot of these outraged protesters would likely have trouble with), until people realize that small acts of discrimination are what turn into a sickening attitude of male supremacy… until then, true change will be elusive.

    Debating how much punishment we should dole out to convicts, and believing that a change in this parameter will somehow result in measurable change on the streets, is like switching off a kitchen tap to try and increase the pressure in water mains. It’s the papering over of deep cracks in our social structure, in our judicial structure and in our policing structure. It’s missing the forest for the trees.

    Law and order is all very well, but a shrewd suspicion points to the idea that the answers to this one lie with the sociologists, not the criminologists.

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  8. Capital punishment for rape will only make things worse: http://www.bhagwad.com/blog/2010/politics/death-sentence-for-rape.html/

    The existing laws are actually pretty good. They just need to be implemented properly and quickly. There is currently no fear because people don’t believe the justice system will catch them and convict them quickly. If at all.

    We need an efficient justice system. Capital punishment here is like trying to sharpen a pair of scissors that refuses to snap shut in the first place.

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  9. How about having him get beat up mercilessly by the victim once she makes a full recovery (which i hope and pray will be real soon). I know it’s an immature solution. But at this point, i do not wish to see rationale.

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  10. 25 to life for each criminal assault, with no chance of parole. A nationally maintained database of sexual offenders and criminals. A nationally maintained shame register with photos of these individuals. A national awareness campaign (much like Mera Bharath Mahaan in the 80s) to instill in everyone that the shame of rape lies in the rapists. Neighborhood watch groups. More women in the police force. A way to make sure that the police are lodging all complaints that walk in their door (don’t know how to make sure this happens) without harassing the victim even further. Any elected official that makes public comments that implies that the victim is at fault must be removed from office. At home and schools, kids need to be taught to talk with respect to both genders. Correct a kid that starts a sentence with “boys are/don’t/do” OR “girls are/aren’t/don’t/do”. Get rid of stereotypes of all kinds. Challenge movies that still get made on a variation of the “taming of the shrew”. Finally, it’s not “eve teasing” it’s harassment.

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    • Good suggestions mostly, but I’d tread carefully with the registration and naming and shaming campaigns. I personally don’t like American-style sex-offender registries at all. The concept was formulated largely as a political response to a frenzy over child molestation that bordered on the irrational, and from a jurisprudential point of view, it is still and has always been more of a political brownie point than a serious crime fighting tool.

      There’s little evidence it does much good and a lot of evidence that it’s harmful.

      ‘Sexual offender’ is a very broad term. In the Indian scenario, it includes the very bottom of the barrel, such as the people featured in this blog post, but it also includes live-in partners who promised marriage to their partner and then backed out of it, and 19 year olds who had sex with 17 year old classmates from college.

      Legally, all of these guys are guilty of the same crime (rape), and putting them all on the same list, a list which pretty much destroys their chances of ever getting proper employment or even residence, is not only pointless from a law enforcement perspective, but also ethically unjustifiable.

      And this is assuming a fair system, which India is most certainly not. The potential for misuse by bureaucracy and law enforcement is immense, and the people who would bear the brunt of it would be.marginalized minorities – not because these guys commit more rape, but because they cannot defend themselves against the system, cannot protest as stridently about wrongs done to them. That’s what happens in America, where legal systems are far more polished and efficient. India is likely to be a lot worse.

      It goes without saying that rapists are fully culpable for the crimes they committed, and should be prosecuted for the same. However, nuance is key here. Not every rapist is equal. Not every rape is even defined the same way. Sex-offender lists destroy that nuance and tar a lot of different kinds of people with a very, very broad brush. They are extremely expensive, unfair even in theory and often unworkable in practice.

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    • Mostly agree. Yes we do have different classes of rape, so we deal with them differently. For the worst offenders, I would argue that a database does help. At the very least you can cross correlate crimes in different regions. Should help in tracking down serial offenders. As for the shaming campaign, yes I am not the one to support trial by public opinion. I am talking about after the conviction. Why? Because of late the cockiness exhibited by these perps, has become intolerable. May be negative press for women’s attire and prior sexual activity can only be negated by counter information campaigns. The more we withdraw into our the shells, the bolder these offenders get. Getting the word out to as many people as possible along with a national campaign regarding who is to be blamed for rape, should work. Even a system like Amber Alert that gets issued here for suspected missing children. The police should have a better system to get the names and likenesses of suspects out fast. We need more organization in everything including public infrastructure for any of this to work. As for police, politicians and the rich exploiting the system — the unsavory characters among them have always done it haven’t they? We will just have to work out checks and balances that will stop the minority and the under privileged from being targeted. It is going to be difficult, but it is a nation that has a lot of work yet on the TBD list in all fields except perhaps medicine and engineering! May be a renaissance in this field is long over due. May be this will lead to more intelligent minds and honest souls voluntarily taking up these positions. May be that will in turn put names on the ballot boxes that right thinking people can actually get behind. “It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
      It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles”.

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      • For the worst offenders, I would argue that a database does help. At the very least you can cross correlate crimes in different regions.

        The database already exists (for ages). It’s just not available to the general public, which I don’t see as a particularly bad thing.

        I am talking about after the conviction

        I know, and I wasn’t suggesting that you were keen on public trials.

        The thing is, you can be convicted for ‘sexual offenses’ for a lot of different reasons in India. For example, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (commonly known as PoCSA) makes it illegal for anyone to have any kind of sexual activity with a person who is under 18 years of age, even if both parties are minors. Therefore, consensual intercourse between two 17 year olds would result in one (or even both of them) being branded ‘sexual offenders’, and possibly being put on a sex offender list for life.
        I cannot think of any scenario in which this might be fair, and I can think of a lot of scenarios where angry parents would misuse those provisions, possible destroying lives in the process.

        This is a flaw with the law itself, but an offender list, which is effectively an extended punitive measure disguised as a preventive one, would exacerbate those flaws and make them much more damaging than they already are.

        It is going to be difficult, but it is a nation that has a lot of work yet on the TBD list in all fields except perhaps medicine and engineering! May be a renaissance in this field is long over due.

        It is not just difficult, it is something that is likely to take several decades, perhaps centuries of work.

        A change in this regard would require not mere organizational reform but a drastic reduction in raw wealth disparity levels, and quantum leaps in accessibility to education, legal systems and the larger State framework.

        Holding out for some kind of renaissance is frankly nothing short of wishful thinking; this level of change isn’t going to be realized in any of our lifetimes, and we’d be lucky if it happened within our children’s lifetimes as well. As a matter of fact, there’s no guarantee at all that India will ever become a particularly egalitarian country, or that a substantial part of the population will ever get somewhat equal access to the legal system.

        The inequalities have indeed always existed, but not enacting laws which make the effects of misuse so incredibly deleterious is part of the checks and balances. We cannot just ignore reality and go ahead with making rules and procedures which may, on an intuitive – not empirical – basis, help.

        In national development, slow and steady does indeed win the race.

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        • “I cannot think of any scenario in which this might be fair, and I can think of a lot of scenarios where angry parents would misuse those provisions, possible destroying lives in the process.”

          That’s why I said we treat different cases differently. I have heard that the main accused in this particular case had several “complaints” against him. This is what I am talking about.

          “A change in this regard would require not mere organizational reform but a drastic reduction in raw wealth disparity levels, and quantum leaps in accessibility to education, legal systems and the larger State framework.

          Holding out for some kind of renaissance is frankly nothing short of wishful thinking; this level of change isn’t going to be realized in any of our lifetimes, and we’d be lucky if it happened within our children’s ”

          I am not holding out for a renaissance. I want to *be* the change agent. In whatever way I can. That is why I suggest we start working towards it. Even if we wont be the beneficiaries, it’s worth it. We wont make the perfect solutions today, but we can start.

          Someone in the position of effecting change made an inane comment “from now on buses will have lights and no tinted windows or curtains”. We can certainly do better than this. How long is it going to take for the perps to figure out that they should keep the victim down on the floor? And for the worst kinds, what prevents them from using the lights as a better way of “teaching them a lesson”.

          You also talked about reducing the chasm between the haves and the have-nots. I am totally in agreement with you.

          Summary: this is a symptom of a very wide set of pervasive problems. Solutions will have to be multi-pronged. And *synchronous*. Without that it wont get done or will be too slow.

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        • That’s why I said we treat different cases differently

          Indeed, but as the American experience shows, it quickly becomes impossible to produce and administer a highly graded form of registration in any large population. It’s very hard to come up with an objective formula for what offense is ‘serious enough’, so to speak, to go on the list. In the end, it often comes down to public opinion, which of course means public prejudice.

          Of course, it would all be worth it if such a measure actually helped. The fact is that it succeeds only in producing a whole new class of outcasts and makes any possible rehabilitation much, much tougher.

          The reason I am debating this point at such length is that there are pervasive myths and presumptions about such measures, presumptions which are as inaccurate as they are dangerous.

          Someone who commits a crime should either be incarcerated, so as to prevent further criminal acts, or if possible, s/he should be set free and given a chance to rebuild their life. Ghettoizing criminals is an unnatural in-between which serves no useful purpose at all. And ghettoization is exactly what such measures do.

          I am not holding out for a renaissance. I want to *be* the change agent. In whatever way I can. That is why I suggest we start working towards it. Even if we wont be the beneficiaries, it’s worth it. We wont make the perfect solutions today, but we can start.

          I understand that, and I do not disagree with your viewpoint.

          Let me try to explain myself a little better.

          The actual Renaissance is often described as a cultural movement, a period of great change and advancement, a time of emergence from the barbaric nature of Middle Age Europe. Yet, it was not a ‘movement’ in the sense that, say, feminism is a movement. The Renaissance came about not as a result of directed efforts made by citizens and governments, but largely because of a complex confluence large-scale civic, social and technological changes created by a changing economy and changing politics. The exact nature of the confluence is still debated.

          Although we can all be agents of change, and although we must strive to do what we can, to come up with solutions, to come up with answers, we must also keep in mind the immensity of the system. Middle Age Europe was not barbaric because everyone liked it that way. There is no period in human history when someone or the other hasn’t been happy with the status-quo. However, transformational changes in society require corresponding transformational changes in economic and political systems.

          What I am getting at is that at our level at least, there is unlikely to be any renaissance we can see. The very best we can do is both create and follow the slow, steady, inexorable transformations in the so-called ‘Zeitgeist’, which produce true, measurable change.
          The Renaissance we seek is not a matter of government agencies putting their act together. It is a matter of creating the right conditions, that critical mass, to MAKE them put their act together. In doing that, lies the devil and even if we do find that devil, there are no guarantees at all that society will move the way we want it to.

          We can do our bit, and be mindful of OUR everyday reality. That’s all.

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  11. I am strongly against capital punishment under any circumstance, but that is a broader debate. In the case of rape, it might in fact deter some of the rapists who are so cavalier about their crimes. As Praveen says, they are betting on not being prosecuted at all, but still risking death and risking prison might be different things. But practically speaking, rape does not usually happen in public; it may involve threat or coercion rather than just force and is sometimes very difficult to prove. So in most cases, a death penalty would be either irresponsible or impossible to attain, because the chance of false conviction cannot be denied. I don’t think the presumption of innocence should be set aside for particular crimes.

    I agree with IHM’s suggested solutions of a minimum 7 year prison sentence, and separate charges for assault and violence. The prison sentence would be gradually graded, based on the level of violence, and repeat offenders would automatically receive a life sentence. It is very tempting to ask for castration, or automatic life sentences for all types of rape, but it is not fair in law. I agree with Prashant, that there is no quick fix to this problem. Implementation of existing law is the first step, but India needs a much deeper overhaul of its entire attitude towards women. Punishing the criminal is an essential component of that, but it is in no way sufficient.

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    • risking death and risking prison might be different things.

      Intuitively, yes, but as a matter of practice, no.

      The risk of death is always a very remote one, even if capital punishment is provided as a possible remedy to the perpetrator’s offense. A very small number of criminals will die for their crimes. Even in the United States (a very active death penalty country), the number is about 1% of all murderers.

      In India, it is much, much smaller. Official figures state that only 52 people have ever been hanged in India since independence (although Amnesty International doubts that figure). In any case, since the SC’s ‘rarest of rare’ judgment in 1983, India has only executed five people, including Ajmal Kasab, a terrorist convicted of 80 charges in a chargesheet that ran over 11,000 pages and Auto Shankar, a serial killer who abducted and murdered at least six people, and was suspected of three more. The sort of people who end up getting hanged usually aren’t the type of people who worry about what sentences they might get. Kasab came prepared to die. Shankar showed classic signs of psychopathic behavior.

      There are thousands of murders every year in India. The chances of a given murderer facing a death sentence are remote enough to be non-existent. The penalty simply doesn’t apply to ‘ordinary’ criminals.

      Even if capital punishment was made available for rape cases, the same judicial standards would apply.

      In such a scenario, I find it hard to believe that that remote threat of being considered in the rarest of the rare category, and being hanged after a death row period of maybe 15-20 years would really deter a rapist any more than the prospect of spending his life in a high-security prison cell.

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    • I’m not fond of the death sentence, but what’s wrong with castration? Learning theory posits that instruction and reinforcement help people pick up desirable behaviours and discard undesirable behaviours. Considering what these men did as undesirable (and inhuman), the question for us is, whether to reinforce the right behaviour, which means sending him to prison where proper conduct can get him parole and a remission perhaps; or whether to stop all behaviour, considering whatever behaviour he has is undesirable and unpardonable, which brings us to consider the death sentence or capital punishment such as castration. I vote for the second option. The accused have shown no remorse, they have accepted the crime, and I don’t see why anyone would even consider having them roaming around… in fact I would want them to serve a prison sentence as well to instil some fear of the law in their twisted minds.

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      • Castration is no solution. Of all people, I would have thought feminists would understand that.

        For one, it almost certainly qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment, not least because of the fact that it is dangerous from a medical point of view – side effects include a highly elevated risk of diabetes, gallstones, hypertension and excessive weight gain, all of which kill a lot of people every year. Chemical castration drugs also induce cold sweats, nightmares and muscle weakness in the short terms. The long term effects are unknown, because trials have never been performed (it is considered too unethical to be allowed).

        Court-mandated castration is essentially an involuntary medical procedure, and as such violates medical codes of ethics in a lot of places. In many jurisdictions around the world where it is practiced, physicians refuse to participate in the administration of the procedure (just as physicians usually refuse to participate in administering lethal injections). The procedure is therefore administered by court officers and paramedicals, none of whom have the training necessary to ensure a safe and effective drug regime.

        And leaving moral objections aside, my biggest issue with castration is that it doesn’t deal with the root psychological issues which result in rape.

        I’m not against voluntary castration. Some rapists, specially child molesters, are indeed motivated by their sex drive. But mandating the treatment for all rapists, especially rapists who rape adult women, serves no purpose whatsoever.

        Most forms of rape have a lot more to do with the rapist’s psychology than a high sex drive. It is about violence, it is about power, it is about humiliating the victim. These guys aren’t desperate hobos looking to score, they are people who have far more deep-rooted issues. Castration doesn’t stop anything. It most certainly doesn’t stop people from believing that they can teach a woman a lesson by pushing an iron rod into her anus. It hides the real issues.

        Rape is a horrendous violation of a person’s most basic rights, it is an act that is reprehensible, but that does not mean we should start calling for punishments that are as reactionary as they are devoid of meaning. The idea that castration is a panacea for recidivism is as much of a myth as Santa Claus.

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  12. In this particular case, life imprisonment is called for. It is basically attempted murder, which is no different than actual murder in the execution on the culprits part.

    However, in general, I believe that society always is the biggest culprit in most crimes, and I am not going to change my mind regarding this general understanding in case of rapes. So retribution, should not be main theme.

    Much more importantly, a call for harsher punishments is just a knee jerk and emotional measure. Capital punishment has not reduced a host of crimes, say in Pakistan. I guess what is needed is to nip the rapes in the bud. I am not calling for a full transformation of society, but rather zero tolerance for sexual harassment. That does not mean, harsh punishments, but rather an environment where every harassment, even smaller ones are taken notice and the offender duly reprimanded, fined and/or shamed at least. Imagine somebody picking pocket of a male in Delhi and being noticed. I am sure he will be in trouble while it does not seem to be the case for sexual harassment. It will also involve full acceptance of women in public sphere, in all dresses and with all behaviours, in total parity with males, and anybody hindering this opportunity, again, duly reprimanded.

    let me give you an example, Murder is a serious crime in the villages of Punjab. However, the precursors are mildly handled. if you are in a brawl, if you have beaten up somebody, if you are in other conflicts, you can easily get out of trouble, through bribing, or merely because Police will first try to resolve the issue without any retribution for anybody. You get the signal that it is alright to escalate, and the situations get out of control and murders happen. Similarly, if the law enforcers, and the general public is properly aware of women’s rights, Most men will not go to the extent of raping women, as they will no longer see them as worthless controllable beings. At least not with this impunity.

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  13. I wonder how many of people here actually promote and believe on harsh, extra ordinary and/or swift punishments in case of other crimes apart from rapes. If you are not of this general mindset ( very right wing in essence) what makes you call for it in case of rape. Let me tell you what will actually happen if these punishments are introduced. The offenders (and even non-offenders) from poor classes will all end up with maximum punishments and the rich will still go scot free. At least this is what I have seen in case of murders. Rich committing murders of poor are always out. So what is the purpose of stand alone harsh punishments?

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  14. I’m all for stricter punishment as a deterrent but think we are forgetting one very important aspect, as punitive action becomes harsher the perpetrators are going to ensure that their tracks are cleared by murdering the victims and disposing off the bodies rather than letting them go afterwards thinking the crime would not be reported.

    The Indian mindset in general needs to change. The entire system is biased and needs to be overhauled. Stricter measures just seem to be quick-fixes without addressing the actual underlying issue.

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  15. Heavy compensation if strictly implemented might work more than imprisonment/death penalty. I feel that if these animals love something as much as forced sex, its money. Some Toi article suggested tattoo on forehead, but that’d mean we have to stare at everyone’s forehead all the time looking for it.

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  16. They have to paraded around the country naked. Scarred and humiliated so badly for life that NO ONE dares to even think about doing this again.

    IMO capital punishment doesn’t deter anyone as much as humiliation and long suffering, and that’s what these guys deserve.

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  17. Punishment for rape from the fast track courts?

    Some old tam movies have this novel punishment – The offender is stripped, his head shaved, and his face and body covered in tar/black substance of some sort, and paraded around town in this state to great jeers from the rest of the townsfolk. All rapists should be shamed in a similar manner before they are carted off to their rigorous imprisonment (at least 5-7 years). I think that will be a more effective deterrent than even capital punishment, given the undue importance attached to “honour” in our Society.

    Rape alone is not a serious enough offense to warrant the death penalty, or even life (exception: Child Sexual Abuse. Put those pervs away in a solitary cell to rot!) The other offenses, like assault, etc, should also be added as offenses, and life imprisonment can be given to those whose charge-sheet warrants it.

    Could there be some sort of deterrent against rape victims being re-victimised by Society? The child in Kerala who was expelled from her school comes to mind. Heavy fines (and maybe even a light jail term) for discriminating in such a manner, maybe?

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  18. Any person who claims to have “lost control” / “got provoked” and therefore committed a crime belongs in jail. How can some one who has the tendency to lose control be considered safe to be left out? Such a person is dangerous. The police and media should stop justifying any ones actions due to “lost control”.

    I saw the woman is a skirt and lost control – keep him away from situations where he will lose control, in jail.
    I was away from my wife and lost control when I saw the 2 year old baby – keep him away from situations where he will lose control, in jail.
    She talked back and made me lose control – keep him away from situations where he will lose control, in jail.

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  19. Reblogged this on Shail's Nest and commented:
    I am too numb to add anything. I just have a question: Is it that one organ that men have dangling between their legs that makes some of them feel superior and invincible, because they can use it to “punish” and “shame” women?

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  20. Changing the Indian mindset will take time. But immediate measures can be 1) parading the criminal on a donkey, black faced. 2) throwing them behind bars till their death. 3) Tying them up in chains even when imprisoned. 4) Daily being beaten up and made to work like a donkey. 5) Fine which should be paid on regular basis for using the jail (national resource). 6) chopping off their hands.7) Daily electric shock to change their mindset.

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  21. Life imprisonment should be given to the culprits. Killing them instantly is actually what they themselves will want right now. Their punishment should be slow and continue throughout their life.
    Making strict laws will help but it will not eradicate everything in one go. Generations of Indians have been brought up on the ideas of victim blaming. It is the mindset which is the main culprit, which give birth to such monsters. So, the next time someone comments in your presence that the girls should control themselves, don’t sit quietly. These are the kind of people who are responsible for the mess we are in right now.
    Another thing which disturbs me is that the whole country believes that Delhi is India. That if we implement something in the capital, then our work is done. The sensitization and laws are needed in small towns and villages too. That is where thousands of cases go unreported. That is where the culture of victim blaming runs deeper than we can imagine.

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  22. Capital punishment wouldn’t solve the problem given that the culture and society still continue to blame the victim. So you would probably have a few rapists dead but the mindset of the society will still prevail and the whole “I-can-get-away-with-it’ attitude won’t deter other rapists.

    Having moved countries and seeing that I do in fact feel safer here (despite not assuming that rapes don’t occur here), the difference I see is that majority of the police take the matter seriously. Again, I am sure there are a few who will continue to blame the woman but most of the time, if a woman is sexually assaulted, it is taken seriously by the authorities. The perpetrator is found and criminal proceedings take place. However, in India, as a woman, you know if you are sexually assaulted and you go to the cops, it’s akin to being sexually assaulted all over again. When I was at uni a few years ago, one of my flatmates had gone to a party and returned late drunk and thought she might have been raped. We called the police in the morning and they were very helpful. In the end, tests showed she wasn’t but never once did they tell her off for being too drunk and how she needed to be careful. All they were intent on was finding the truth and questioning the perpetrator and if needed, bringing him to justice.

    I guess in terms of your question re sentence, in this particular case given the brutality of it all, life imprisonment should be the answer. But on the whole, to deter rapes, the culture and mentality of people needs to change. Starting with those enforcing the law.

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  23. The only punishment I can think of for such a heinous crime is surgical castration and to strip them naked with their faces painted black and then walked all over the city. Let them face the same pain and humiliation that a rape victim goes through, as I feel that rape is not just an assault on one’s body it is an assault on women’s soul. God Bless her and the family.

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  24. Surgical castration will do and if the girl dies in this particular case they should be hanged.
    But above all the society needs give full support to rape victims. The country needs counseling/support centers at the earliest. It is the life after the rape that is more terrible for the victim. Society shuns the victims and even the court remains helpless. Sunitha Krishnan is a good example. She was submitted to gang rape and she tells how society rejected her. She being a strong woman overcome the hurdles and is now helping those like her.

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  25. In my view it must be left to the victim as to what punishment she would like to give to those who ruined her life. It must be a woman’s right to decide the punishment for such heinous crimes. In cases the victim is dead, it must be left to her family members. I don’t think anyone other than her can feel the pain she must have went through. The court should follow her directions. I know its not possible but this would be the best way!

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  26. All this comments, reminded me of a punishment from history called “Chauranga” used to be given by Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj.

    Ever heard of it? It was used to be given for dishonoring girls or women. In this punishment, both the hands and legs of the accused were chopped off, and then he was released.

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  27. i strongly believe capital punishment is the only deterrent. till the fear of death is not drilled in, there will be no respite. his along with assured judgement in a period of 45 days – do it in one case and most bastards will fall into line. i wud go on to say public castration – but we have those humanitarians who believe in human rights of criminals more than anything else. every act of harrasment outrages me. having grown up in delhi, gone to college there, i know most of these people waiting to commit crimes because they know they will be lost in the oblivion of the floating population or justice will be so delayed, they’ll eventually get out. these weak charactered people need the fear of law to keep them from committing crime. hang one rapist, and you will prevent thousands of rapes.

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    • along with assured judgement in a period of 45 days

      And how do you propose that might be done? Do you even realize the amount of work involved in the litigation process of a single case, ESPECIALLY if it involves the possibility of capital punishment?

      You imply – without substantiating arguments – that capital punishment is a magic cure that will prevent thousands of rapes, and yet, according to you, the whole business of deciding whether a person should be executed by the state or not must be decided within a period barely sufficient to file proper litigation, let alone collect and present evidence, hear protracted testimonies from possibly dozens of witnesses, wait for cross-verification, deliberate on arguments from the respective counsels, and provide for multiple appeals even when a considered judgment has been provided. All of this while concerned judges, court officers, law enforcement agents and attorneys are likely to be engaged in several concurrent cases, each of them just as important.

      Real life isn’t a courtroom drama. We’d all do well to remember that.

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  28. I do not think Capital Punishment will work because, they will just die, no body will care, we will forget this case very quickly. That is what Government wants us to do. Forget and than go through the same thing again….its not the capital punishment but these people who did this need to change from within. I would put them in jail, where they make clothes for women all their life and they be surrounded by mirrors, so they continue to self-reflect. They continue to see themselves until they forgive themselves and get over their own anger. The story should continue to be share for these men to share with the world. They should not die. They should live in confinement with public eye on them. I would even put a 24 hour public camera on them so they loose any sense of privacy. I just do not think that Capital Punishment would work, because it will make women more unsafe. If something like this happens, men who rape will just kill the women. I think there are many many people in this world who are victims of rape, or are rapists. It is because rape is such a sensitive topic. I think we also have to address how men are raping women in relationships, in marriages. Even women must be raping men at some level. I wish this women will live and be healed. I wish that we realize that we are all in it together and that we need to make sure that we do give our children proper understanding. Men should not be taught to disrespect women, we should not compare men and women in our society. We should not be favoring men over women all the time boosting their egos. I am sorry but this cause men to inherently think that women are their property and not human. This also means that men are being treated like they are property.

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  29. Rigorous Punishment is necessary. Castration or a few years of imprisonment isn’t of use. They will come out into the society sooner or later. They need to be publicly humiliated and killed. Rapists are not afraid of the law these days. They get away easily with fines and a few years of imprisonment. They need to be shown their limits by having very harsh punishment for Rape. It is horrifying that some people would go to this extent just for fun. Scary. We want a safer society. Safety for everyone. I really wish that this girl heals soon. I cannot get that horrific image out of my mind.

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    • I do think total castration (removing the penis + testicles) in public by a woman in front of women will be a much harder punishment for rapists then death. Death is coming to fast and after that they are dead and dont regret anything. They should regret every second of their life! Also this is a strong sign for men (no space for rapists). After the total castration they should spend some years in jail (where there is a high risk that they will get raped). Their life should be miserable not just their death that would be too easy. A miserable life always gives a miserable death but a very long one.

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  30. Let there be notices, displayed prominently, on public places which would read as “Ladies Beware, Men around”. Let all ladies be made educated as to how to react to such situations. Let girls undergo physical training to react to these evil ones…

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  31. In Rajasthan they had set a fast track but now they are forced to shutdown
    Here is the link :
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/rajasthan-fasttrack-courts-for-rape-cases-forced-to-shut-down-due-to-high-costs/311597-3-239.html

    If we go by law, this case will run around for 15-20 years, by then everyone has forgotten about it.
    The punishment should be speedy, as we tend to forgot things of past and it should be in open for public so that it remains in their mind for a long time so that some one would think twice before committing such crime.

    Imprisonment for a common man is just a breezy statement, nowadays as many politicians, businessman or any high profile people also serve jail term very comfortably, so there is no fear
    in people’s mind.

    I feel Castration should performed on the culprit in public or it should be made public and then given imprisonment for seven years, so every day they live they should feel the pain of brutality they inflicted on victim and her family and finally hanged in public.

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  32. Pingback: Don’t you think we should have a sex offenders’ registry of some sort? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  33. Pingback: Why should all acts of sexual harassment be taken seriously, even when there is no grievous physical injury? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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