Ineffective and arbitrary
- Article says about the demand of death penalty for those who rape children.
- The amendments to the Indian Penal Code passed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh introducing the death penalty as a possible punishment for the rape of a girl below the age of 12 years
What is the purpose of these amendments?
- There is the belief that harsher punishments will deter people from committing child rape.
- Justice for child survivors demands that the law provide for the death penalty.
- Our abhorrence for the crime makes the perpetrator ‘deserving’ of the death penalty.
The Various justifications:
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and low conviction rates.
- The lack of specialised investigators, prosecutors, judges, mental health professionals, doctors, forensic experts and social workers working on cases of child rape specifically has been repeatedly cited as the need of the hour.
- Under our Constitution, legislation has to always give a sentencing judge the option of choosing between life imprisonment and the death penalty; death penalty cannot be declared as the only punishment for any crime.
- The Death Penalty India Report of 2016 found that a very large proportion of death row prisoners (over 75%) are extremely poor and belong to marginalised groups with barely any meaningful access to legal representation.
- It is important to understand the implication of this for the discussion on child rape. While there is widespread agreement that child rape is a concern across all sections of society, by choosing the death penalty as a response we are focussing on a punishment that structurally targets the poor.