Death penalty for repeat offence of rape is draconian

I admit I wouldn’t have commented on this if Mulayam Singh Yadav had not taken up this issue not because I was ignorant but because no one was talking about it. Rape as per the new definition includes penetration not only by penis but also by any object, and the penetration not only of vagina but also of other organs. In such circumstances, repeating the offense can’t be termed as Rares-of-the-Rare offense, but the way Indian Trial Courts are, they will award death sentences in high profile cases especially if a celebrity lawyer represents the State. In the Bombay journalist case, both the convictions happened on the same day; thereafter, the application was moved for addition of charges. I fail to understand how the charges can be added when the trial has come to an end on conviction — this is a mystery — I think the Bombay Trial Court has erroneously allowed the application for addition of charges, and the verdict on punishment will be reversed in the High Court, but the fact remains that, in high profile cases, the Trial Courts play to the galleries. The only cases when the death penalty can be awarded to the rapists is when they leave the victim in a vegetative state as in Aruna Shahbaug’s case or may be in such cases when they repeat the same offense with the same victim over a long period of time while infringing her privacy by making and publishing her nude videos and relegating her life to that of a captive sex slave for a long duration of time. The Bombay journalist case definitely doesn’t qualify for death penalty; the punishment awarded is draconian. There is enough reason to move away from the punishment of death penalty, and, even if it has to be retained, the offenses calling for death penalty have to be very well delineated from the rest in the same class.

About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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