Justice delayed but done

The Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of the Delhi High Court sentencing the four monsters in human form who raped, mangled and mutilated a 23-year old paramedic student, Vidya Singh, on December 16, 2012 in Delhi who later died in a Singapore hospital, to death. One accused committed suicide in jail during the trial while the sixth one, being six months short of being an adult, escaped the gallows after spending a period in a reformatory. One of the apex court judges who heard the appeal, Justice R. Banumathi, rightly held that “Where a crime is committed with extreme brutality; and the collective conscience of the society is shocked, courts must award the death penalty. By not imposing a death sentence, the courts may do injustice to the society at large.”
Justice has been done in this case of rape and grievous injury leading to death. But the main question is, will the death of the four accused prove to be a deterrent to rapes in future? Likely not. After Vidya’s death the Justice Verma Commission was set up to recommend amendments to the existing law relating to rape and outraging of modesty. The Justice Verma Commission submitted its recommendations to the Government. The Indian Penal Code was amended accordingly, providing for stricter and harsher penalties for perpetrators of such crimes. The law was amended but scores of rapes have been committed since then and are being committed every day.  As far as preventing rape is concerned, even stricter laws have failed to achieve their end. In fact rape has become a daily occurrence, even minors often being found guilty.
As things stand, even after the four accused mount the gallows, rape will not be banished from this land. At best their hanging may cause a few heated debates in TV channels for a day or two. Political parties are not overly worried about sex crimes. No political party has given a call for a ‘Rape-mukt Bharat’. There will be more victims though all the guilty may not be put to death. The victims will have to carry the social dishonour and mental trauma till the end till the end of their lives. Nowadays, rape is frequently followed by the murder of the victim. A compulsory death penalty for all accused whose guilt has been proved in a court of law may prove to be a deterrent. The ultimate aim is to purge society of such crimes.

Tuesday, 9 May, 2017