Child rape: Is death penalty a solution?
It has been well said that children are the greatest gift of God. They play a contributing factor to the future of any nation. But lamentably with the development in each and every aspect of people’s lives like education, science, technology, sports and others, we remained obsolete to teach them moral values in young age, ethics and etiquettes so that a feeling of respect for other’s feelings, sentiments and emotions could gain ground in their hearts. I being a student and a responsible citizen want to discuss the extent of child rape in India, rape perpetrators, public morality and the nature of rape laws in India. I believe that time is going to allow us soon to say ‘there is no place safe for children’. Child rapes in India are growing on frenetic pace. For a victim this four letter word (RAPE) does not end with the nightmarish experience. They are made to remember and relieve every traumatic moment, only to pursue justice via judicial proceedings, so that they become doubly victimised. The death penalty which was drawn out to be a solution in 2018 for child rape failed in a ballpark figure. Since everything has its pros and cons, so let us elucidate each of them.
Points in favour of death penalty for child rape
Sexual violence on children is on the rise these days. Death penalty instils fear and can deter the crimes.
Rapes of minors is different from the rapes of adults. Children who faced sexual harassment are not capable of dealing with the trauma. Child victims will have the emotional pain and trauma throughout their life. It will impact their ability to do well in their life and relationships. Hence, child rapists do not deserve to live.
If someone has committed heinous crime such as raping an innocent child, he/she is not reformable and will be a threat to other children too. Hence eliminating the criminal with death penalty will save society.
Points in against to death penalty for child rape
Rapists may kill their victims after the crime, because the punishment for both rape and murder are now same.
Human rights organisations worldwide terms death penalty as draconian.
Imprisonment till death too will serve the purpose of saving society from these rapists.
It was not proved in anywhere in the world that death sentence is a better deterrent than life imprisonment.
It is taking years to solve and do justice to the victims of rape. If the punishment is death penalty, cases may be dragged even longer, because if the accused is falsely convicted, an innocent life will be lost.
Conviction rate in rape cases is already low. Death penalty may further lower the conviction rate.
In 95 per cent of child rapes, accused is a known person to the victim. The perpetrator of the crime happens to be a family member or relative or a closed one in many cases.
Death penalty may discourage them to file the case. At present, only a few rape cases are reported in police station. Capital punishment may worsen the situation.
Punishments in a civilised society should not be awarded to take revenge. Rather they should be able to deter crimes, reform the criminal and to protect society from them.
Nirbhaya Act, 2013 is already stringent. But there are loopholes in its implementation.
Without fixing the loopholes, increasing the severity of punishment will be of no use.
What happens if any innocent is accused falsely, and death penalty is awarded to him?
We cannot bring his life back when his innocence is proved.
As per Nirbhaya Act, 2013, death penalty is already there in rarest of rare cases.
Severity of punishment should be based on the brutality of the crime.
Only girl child victims are mentioned in the ordinance, but male children are also vulnerable to rapes.
Victims may face even more pressure and threats to withdraw the case.
Rich and powerful can afford good lawyers and may escape from the punishment whereas poor cannot do that.
Death penalty may not deter the crimes because there are many underlying issues that are leading to sexual violence. Multi-pronged approach is needed to save society from this menace. A combination of both preventive measures and stringent punishments can reduce sexual crimes.
The main cause of deviant behaviour is lack of moral values. Children should be taught ethics and values from young age. Parents and education system should take this responsibility.