Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Four of the gang that raped on 16 last December the Delhi girl, nicknamed Nirvaya by media, which, despite her struggle to live extinguished her life, have been punished with death sentence on September 13 for the crime committed in an “extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting and dastardly manner”.
In delivering the verdict, additional sessions judge, New Delhi, Yogesh Khanna has observed that, their young age notwithstanding, they deserve the severest punishment; for their dastardly action had “shocked the conscience of the society and calls for withdrawal of the protective arm of the community around the convicts”.
This observation takes us to the teenager who having committed the same crime would bask in freedom after mere 3 years in a reformatory home, because of wrong notion of prosecution.
Earlier in these pages we had argued that rape being not a juvenile crime, lessening the quantum of punishment in the guise of juvenile justice is by itself a mockery of justice.
Rape is always an act of physical maturity and howsoever young may be a rapist in age, his crime is a crime that a physically mature persons commit. And, when the said juvenile’s act was the most brutal and horrific, his forwarding to a juvenile court was basically wrong on part of the police.
When the ADJ’s order is to reach the High Court for approval, it would be better if the HC reviews the entire prosecution and asks for the juvenile’s fresh trial in the court of the ADJ, on the ground that rape is not a juvenile crime despite the rapist being in juvenile age. If hanging till death a juvenile is not permitted by the law, he should get the death sentence operational after becoming a major.
The ADJ has based his judgment on the facts established in course of hearing. He has noted, “The facts show that the entire intestine of the victim was perforated, splayed and cut open due to repeated insertion of rods and hands. The convicts, in the most barbaric manner, pulled out her internal organs with their bare hands as well as with rods and caused her irreparable injuries, thus exhibiting extreme mental perversions not worthy of human condonation”. Thus, the so-called juvenile convict resting in the reformatory home is also not worthy of condonation. The minimum he deserves is that, after becoming a major, the justice system should order him hanged till death if the Friday’s verdict pronounced on the four perpetrators of the same crime, gets HC approval.
The ADJ is right in saying that a zero-tolerance policy is essential to instill amongst women members of the society the necessary faith in the criminal justice system, for which, it was just and proper to reject the convicts’ prayer for a chance for reformation on the ground of their young age. The marginally younger juvenile, on the same premise, should also be subjected to the same punishment, if not more.
Thus saying, I deem it proper to repeat, death sentence is not a deterrent to rape.
Dhananjay Chatterjee of Kolkata was hanged till death in 2004 for rape and murder he committed in 1990. But the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) reveals on the basis of 2007-2011 statistics that West Bengal had the largest number of crime against women in the country including rape comprising 12.7% of India’s total reported in the year of 2011. It shows that the death sentence given to Dhananjay had no deterrent effect on rapes in his own province.
When there were 20,737 rapes (about 2.4+ rapes per hour) in the country in 2007, there were 21,467 rapes in 2008 connoting to 2.48+ rapes per hour. In 2009, the number of rape was 21,397 when in 2010, it was 22,172 (2.5+ rapes per hour). A 9.2 percent increase in rape over the cases of 2010 was registered in 2011 when the numbers of rape increased to 24,206.
On the other hand, the number of rape of minor girls has increased from 5045 in 2007 to 8,541 in 2012 according to NCRB.
When in 2008, the number was 5,446, the year 2009 saw 5,336 rapes of minor girlss, The figure reached 5,484 in 2010 and 7,112 in 2011 before reaching 8,541 in 2012.
From the above official statistics it is clearly established that the crime of rape of women, even of minor girls has continuously increased in India at par with increase in consolidation of capitalism promulgated by Manmohan Singh.
As I have shown in the earlier article here, capitalism affects everybody with a constant sense of defeat notwithstanding how fabulously rich and powerful a person is. But man is an animal that never likes to be defeated. So, in a capitalist society, everybody wants to overcome the sense of defeat. As a method, the stronger resorts to rape the weaker as thereby, howsoever short-lived, a sense of victory refreshes the rapist. We have seen this syndrome in the case of sexual assault on the hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo by the then International Monetary Fund chief and French Presidential aspirant Dominique Strauss-Kahn and in USA President Bill Clinton’s admittedly inappropriate affairs with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Therefore, more than physical, rape is a psycho-economic offense. This offense cannot be curbed unless the environment of acquiring and accumulating private property is extinguished.
Death to Delhi rapists is the minimum the aggrieved society could have desired. Yet it is not enough. The political economy of rape needs be understood in order to bring out the remedy.