Delhi Gangrape case: Punishment for Rapists – Death or Castration?

Delhi’s Girl (lets call her that instead of the demeaning “Delhi Gangrape victim”) has corroborated that all the 6 guys raped her, which syncs with her friend’s version as well. (All 6 men raped me, Delhi Gangrape victim tells SDM)  She countered the police version, who say that only 4 out of 6 raped her.

According to sources, the victim remained calm, composed and corroborated the version of events as they unfolded on the fateful evening as per her 28-year-old friend during an hour-long interaction with Usha Chaturvedi, the SDM of east Delhi, on Friday evening.

“We took the auto rickshaw till the DDA Munirka Bus Stop because the driver refused to ferry us till Uttam Nagar and decided to wait for a bus. When the bus with the men came, we boarded it. Minutes later, the men on it first passed a remark at my friend before passing a lewd comment at me,” the victim stated.

Maintaining a straight face and speaking in whispers under her breath given the nature of her injuries, sources said, the victim related the entire series of events without any inhibitions in the presence of her family.  “After their attack, all six men took turns to sexually assault me. They threw us on the side of the road where I then fainted,” she made it a point to state, sources said.

Chemical Castration: courtesy, HT

Chemical Castration: courtesy, HT

Given the ghastly nature of the crime, the Government is hinting on raising the penalty to Death Sentence in rarest of rare cases. (Government hints at death for rapists in ‘the rarest of rare’ cases)

“The government will take immediate steps for amendment of the criminal law for enhanced and more effective punishment in the rarest of rare cases of sexual assault,” Shinde declared.

Asked if this meant the noose, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari suggested the phase “rarest of rare” was only used in a particular context, an oblique reference to Supreme Court judgments on invoking the death penalty in the rarest of rare cases of murder.

Government sources indicated the home ministry didn’t want to jump the gun before getting legal opinion and a sense of the support the move would evoke from political parties. If there are problems, the ministry could make imprisonment for the rest of the rape convict’s life the enhanced punishment.

Meanwhile there is a loud clamour for castration of the rapists.  Chemical castration has been the favorite of the activists.  Interesting, an Additional sessions judge in Delhi had suggested for such a thing in another rape case. (Rape cases: Delhi Judge suggested chemical castration two years ago)

“My hands are tied since I am bound by the law of the land which only provides for imprisonment not less than seven years but may be for life or for a term which may extend to 10 years and also fine,” Delhi additional sessions judge Kamini Lau had said while expressing helplessness in handing down a befitting punishment to a man convicted of raping his minor stepdaughter.

“My conscience, however, tells me that this is a crime which is required to be addressed differently and a full public debate with regard to imposition of castration (both surgical and chemical) as an alternative punishment for the offence of rape and molestation is the crying need of the hour,” Lau had said in April 2011.

What is Chemical Castration?  Here is an explanation.

Chemical castration is the administration of medication designed to reduce libido and sexual activity. Unlike surgical castration, where the testicles or ovaries are removed through an incision in the body,[1] chemical castration does not actually castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization.[2]

Chemical castration is generally considered reversible when treatment is discontinued, although permanent effects in body chemistry can sometimes be seen, as in the case of bone density loss increasing with length of use of Depo Provera.[3] Chemical castration has, from time to time, been used as an instrument of public and/or judicial policy despite concerns over human rights and possible side effects.[4][5]

Chemical castration, as a punishment for rape, has been suggested around the world recently.  So it is not something that is just being thrown around in India.  Given the incidence of rape in India, this can be a viable punishment.

After high-profile child rape cases, politicians worldwide tend to pledge a crackdown and harsher punishments for sex offenders, involving chemical castration, said Don Grubin, professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University.

What would you suggest?

 

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