IS CAPITAL PUNISHMENT A DETERRENT TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

SNN2505GX1-280_441898aEvery time I venture out I feel scared, every time I walk a mile I feel scared, every time I see someone walking behind me I feel sacred. This is perhaps not only my personal feeling but a mutual feeling shared by every single women of this oh so independent country India. India is known as the spiritual capital of the world.  Really?  Where does the spirituality of these monsters go when they are snatching away someone’s innocence?  Every day I read countless cases of rapes, sexual harassment’s, acid attacks on women in the newspapers. Seriously where is our country heading to?

16 December 2012 would be marked as a black day in our country’s history. This was the very day on which a 23 year old medical student was brutally raped by six men including one minor and dumped naked to die in this dill wallo ki Delhi. Nirbhaya, Damini were the various names given to the brave heart girl and soon these names turned into symbols of strength and protest not only in India but all over the world. This case somewhere united the whole country to come forward and seek answers from the government about their security.

This particular case brought a whole new topic into the picture. The issue of capital punishment: is it right or is it wrong?  Large public demonstrations and protests were held demanding capital punishment for the six men accused in the rape case. The question which arises here is that, will capital punishment act as a deterrent for sexual harassment? Will it decrease the spirits of these perverts who could not keep it in their pants? Some people argue that such punishments should only be given in rarest of the rarer cases but I beg to differ here. How can one decide that one particular rape was more or less brutal than another? Rape is a rape enough said. Rape or any kind of sexual harassment is itself a rarest of the rare case.  Rape is such a hideous crime that it leaves an everlasting imprint on the victim’s soul. The body might recover but the mind and soul takes a long time to get back on track. According to me rape is in fact more gruesome than murder. With murder you kill the person ones in for all but in the case of rape the victims dies for every other second of her remaining life.

The current punishment for this gruesome crime available in our country is tad too lenient and can be accounted as one of the main reasons for the growing strength of these frequent offenders. They know that maximum punishment that they could get is 5-6 years in jail or some fine and even to arrive at this decision it would take around 10-12 years of as they famously call it court kachari. They are very well versed with the political and judicial status of the country. This very reason increases their spirits and they go ahead for the kill.

Indian laws have existed in their original form ever since they were made. The government and administration need to understand that with the changing scenarios and lifestyle the laws also need to be tweaked a little bit. The scenario and kind of lifestyle that people had 50 or 60 years was very different from what we have now. In this fast paced world where they don’t have time for themselves they want everything prim, proper and quick. Due to this their frustration and anger level shoot up sky high. This ultimately leads them to taking the wrong path.

Coming back to capital punishment, in capital punishment you give death penalty to the criminal and that’s it. He gets to do the crime, have fun, stay in jail and then die peacefully. No, capital punishment is for sure not the solution of course it will set an example and may deter others from committing the same crime but it is not a sure shot permanent solution. The victim dies every second of her life and the monster gets to die in fraction of a second. Sorry, unacceptable. The accused should be sentenced to lifelong imprisonment where he should be made to do the usual jail work so that he even experiences the same pain and agony which the victim goes through every single moment of her life.

But there is another angle to this theory what if the accused is not a culprit, he never committed the crime. Then an innocent person would be hanged rather killed. Therefore in such sensitive cases there is a need of good investigation and an equally good jurisdiction. An innocent person can’t be told to bear the brunt for a crime which he never did. So this is a very dicey situation. Thus an accused should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

However somewhere I feel with capital punishment we will teach the culprit that wrong is right, as what he did with the victim we will do the same with him. If the accused is a criminal because he couldn’t differentiate between what was good and what was not then the concerned authorities should try and reform him but if he did the crime in all his senses then the law should take its due course.

Any type of sexual harassment whether it is rape or eve teasing is intrusion into someone’s privacy without his or her permission and this for sure is a severe offence and calls for a much more severe punishment. But generalizing capital punishment for all such cases is not a good idea. Such punishments should be made case specific for example if a person is a regular offender and has been caught twice for the same crime then such a punishment is justified. We all are human beings and we know that no one is perfect. So every culprit should be given a fair chance to improve himself and his habits and if in the end he continues with his deeds then only such ultimate punishment should be awarded to him. In the end I would conclude by saying that nobody is perfect and hence everyone should be given a fair chance to improve their mistakes.

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