Rape is undoubtedly a heinous crime and an issue of great concern in India today. Despite enacting new laws with stringent punishments and setting up fast-track courts, things have not changed much. With more rape cases are coming to the fore and covered in the news, few questions always come to our mind. Is it only the pervert individuals who are responsible for rape cases or is it that our criminal justice system is inept? The question that follows is even more thought-provoking. Is it not because of the delay in legal proceedings that make criminals feel that they will not be convicted in their lifetime?
However, for rape and murder, which is the most heinous crime death, castration appears to be right punishment. For crime of rape the right punishment of the convict should be castration. The excision of that organ or by chemical treatment and followed it by tattooing in a very prominently visible part of the body the word ‘rapist’ is the right one to defame the culprit in the best way possible. Rape of women and minor girls are taking place regularly in such large number throughout the country that every sensible citizen should think over it and force the lawmakers to pass laws so that criminals indulging in this crime may have to repent throughout their entire life and be shamed by all.
Punishment or castration would be a short-term solution. Agreed, severe punishment for rape would send a chill down the spine of criminals. But a criminal will eventually figure out ways of saving himself from punishment. What our society needs is moral education. It is we who have corrupted the value system. Let us take responsibility for our acts and make efforts to correct the system. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. What is more shameful is that according to the statistics, the possibility of someone being convicted for the crime has declined by a third.
Last year, 24,206 rape cases were reported and it is up by 10 per cent from 2010. This shows an increase of 873 per cent since 1971 from when the Crime Bureau began recording these statistics. This year, every third victim was a child. And that many cases go unreported. According to reports, for every case reported, 50 go unreported. If you thought that rape was a crime committed by strangers in the dark, know that a majority of rapes are committed by a person known to the victim, who stalks the victim, knows the victim’s schedule and, more importantly, has the victim’s trust and access to the victim. Stranger rapes are a minuscule percentage of the rapes committed but get reported more often, according to the Delhi police. In 2011, only 2.46 per cent stranger-related rape cases were reported, in comparison to 3.94 per cent in 2010. They also said that around 97 per cent of the perpetrators were known to the victims. Many sociologists and social commentators have attempted to analyze the various factors that could be leading up to this alarming rise in the number of rapes.
We note that it would be unconstitutional and inconsistent with basic human rights treaties for the state to expose any citizen without their consent to potentially dangerous medical side effects. However, it is time to punish rapists most severely so that such mistake will not recur. The nation, which had almost got immune to rapes, with one rape taking place in the country every 22 minutes, has suddenly woken up from the deep slumber after the gory Delhi rape case. And now, India is giving unanimous call to the government to dole out severe punishment to the rapists and to plug the lacunae in the anti-rape laws. Amidst all this, a strong voice has also been raised to introduce chemical castration as a punishment for the rapists, which has already been accepted in various US states and many countries in Europe. Is it time to give this severe punishment?
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)