Death Penalty and Rape

Death Penalty and Rape
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In a bid to curb violence against women, two ordinances, one of which advocates the death penalty for those convicted of raping a girl below 12 years of age were approved. This development, which comes in the wake of the gory and brutal Kathua murder and rape incident, is indeed welcome. In the final analysis, losing life for a crime like raping a minor can be the best deterrent which can actually concentrate the minds of potential rapists. Minor sentences and punishment, it is axiomatic to state, have not and will not deter these bestial crimes. The case for capital punishment for crimes likes rapes, especially of minors, becomes powerful and compelling. But, in terms of the ordinance in contention, the hope is that rape is well and clearly defined and that there is no wriggle room for a culprit to go either scot free or with a lesser sentence on account of ambiguities and lax definitions. The ordinance, it is again hoped, will or should have a retrospective effect and it should thereby cover the heinous Kathua rape murder case. In fact, the death penalty for the perpetrators of this particular crime must serve as a precedent that will then automatically and reflexively deter other wannabe criminals. Generally speaking, violent and sexual crimes against women have been on the increase , at a range of levels. While this points out to a degree of bestiality that perhaps lurks under the surface of any given society, but mechanisms and laws to deal with these crimes have not yet fully taken shape. Moreover, if there are vigorous laws to deal with violence and sexual predation against women, including minors, the glitch lies in implementation. That is, usually, implementation of these laws is shoddy and far from perfect. This very fact then calls for fast track courts and systems once such cases come to the notice of the law. More importantly, while the deterrent aspect of the death penalty is fine and welcome, society also needs to look at what lurks underneath the surface and then introspect and review certain assumptions about women, crimes against the “fairer gender”, of different forms and natures, and then take a firm stance against these. Ultimately, it is the combination of society and law that can be the best protection and deterrents for crimes like rapes, including those of minors. Let the two work in sync then to exterminate , to the extent possible, these evil crimes , and protect the vulnerable.

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