Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Another shocking judgement on rape by the Indian Supreme Court

All it needs is Rs 50,000 as fine to buy freedom from a prison sentence for gangrape.

Three men were convicted of gangraping a woman and the Punjab and Haryana High Court had upheld their conviction and punishment. The three criminals appealed against their conviction and the Supreme Court of India let them off after (as reported in The Hindustan Times) they agreed to a "compromise formula" of paying Rs 50,000 each to the victim.

Note what has been considered by the court -
1. The rapists had said that "they and the victim were happily married to their spouses".  Consider, if a man can rape a woman, what torture he must be inflicting on his wife? Did the judges talk to the wives? Did they find out what kind of husbands the men were? I think the wives are better off without having to live with such men. The court would have done the three wives a big favour by keeping their men locked up.
I would go so far as to say that the wife or fiancee of a rapist should have the freedom to walk off from the relationship with no legal binding if she so chooses and take the children with her. The man should lose all his rights to his property which should go to the wife and other dependant relatives.

2. The fact that the victim is "happily married" is no credit to the rapists. I would say that the woman's husband has shown maturity and not reacted the way we have known some husbands to behave.

3. The men said "they wanted to live peacefully". It is easy to say that after committing a violent crime. What happened to their desire of living peacefully earlier? The fact that they can attack a woman in this way makes them dangerous criminals. They should be kept behind bars for life. For they spell danger for women. How will the court ensure that they do not repeat their act? It is not only the safety of the victim but other women too in question.

I am happy to see two eminent women advocates Kamini Jaiswal and Pinky Anand crticise the shocking judgement of the highest court in land.

India does treat its women shabbily.

My reaction to the judgement is as an Indian woman. To read what lawyers are saying about the judgement read here.

It was heartening to see the National Commission for Women react to the judgement and prepare to seek a its review.  But I am wondering why there were no protests by Indian women. What has happened to our women's groups? I remember the mid-Seventies and the early-Eighties when as young women we marched to Parliament, held protest marches, organised sit-ins and gheraos on so many issues affecting us - dowry, rape laws, portrayal in the media. The activism helped initiate many changes in the laws and society.

But where are our young firebrand women today? 


Indian Home Maker said...

Yes this news was just unbelievable. Shocking and a very bad precedent.I think they should pay the money and continue their term.

Shree Venkatram said...

Yes, Shocking is the word. Who will educate our judges?

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