Wednesday, 30 January 2013

This judgment makes no sense to me!

A man rapes a minor daughter. His wife lodges an FIR, he is found guilty and sent to jail for 12 years. Out on parole, he hacks his wife and daughter to  death with an axe. Another daughter watches the killings, runs and shuts herself in a room. After her father runs away from the scene of crime, she comes out.
The Supreme Court judges deciding the case converted the
death penalty into imprisonment for entire life. This is what  Justices Sathasivam and Kalifulla are reported to have noted: "One significant factor in this case, which we should not lose sight of is that he did not harm his other daughter even though he had a good chance for the same." Read the report in Times of India.

I have some issues with the judgment -

1. Is not a rape of a minor followed by two murders where the bodies are hacked not "brutal enough" to be "the rarest of the rare" category?

2.I wonder why the judges feel that because he did not kill his other daughter the law should be lenient for him? She reportedly shut herself in a room and saved herself. Why should the 'credit for not killing' (for that is what the judges appear to have considered) be given to the culprit?  Using the same reasoning it could be said that as he did not kill or rape other women he came in contact with while out on parole, his punishment reduced. Sounds absurd?

3. I am puzzled by another observation by the judges of our highest court.TOI  reports-
Justice Sathasivam, writing the judgment for the bench, said,
"It was highlighted that he being a poor man and unable to earn his livelihood since he was driven out of his house by his deceased wife. It is also his claim that if he was allowed to live in the house, he could easily meet both his ends and means, as the money which he was spending by paying rent would have been saved. It is his further grievance that his deceased wife was adamant and he should live outside and should not lead happy married life and that was the reason that their relations were strained."

Now, once a man has raped his minor daughter, the mother would be out of her senses to let the man continue to stay in the same house as her and the child. She would want to protect her daughter/s. Moreover, it is her choice if she wants to live with the man or have him move out. Which self respecting woman would continue to live with a man who rapes his own daughter? And then, just because he was not allowed to live in the house, is no excuse to kill.

Why should the judges even consider such utterances by the criminal and make it a ground for reducing the punishment?

When will our judges stop looking at cases from the narrow lens of patriarchy? Why don't they see the woman's point of view?

And what is also horrifying that the judges believe that such a man can be reformed! And have kept the case open for remission.

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