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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nirbhaya Case - will Court award maximum punishment to 4 ?

The Nation wants to know… this time it is not Arnab… but perhaps more voices of the Nation

We live in a civilized World !! ~ ‘We are innocent!”, shouted the  convicts en route to court; the Court has held them guilty on many counts including murder ~ the quantum of punishment is to be argued today and most likely could be announced today itself….whether they should be given capital punishment is hotly debated by the Nation, which was shocked by the incident.  No it was not an ordinary incident …  it was gang rape and cold blooded murder of  a 23-year-old medical student, that shook the Nation.  

The victims, a 23-year-old woman and a male friend, were on their way home on the night of 16 December 2012 after watching the film Life of Pi in Saket in South Delhi.  They boarded a chartered bus at Munirka for Dwarka that was being driven by joyriders at about 9:30 pm. There were only six others in the bus, including the driver. One of the men, a minor, had called for passengers telling them that the bus was going towards their destination. The woman's friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. When he objected, the group of six men already on board, including the driver, taunted the couple, asking what they were doing alone at such a late hour.

Life would never be the same for the family of the 23 year old who lost her life in a gruesome manner.  Her fight for survival generated widespread national and international coverage and was condemned widely. There were  public protests against the Government of India and the Government of Delhi for not providing adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. All the accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. The accused driver, Ram Singh, died in police custody on 11 March 2013 in the Tihar Jail. The rest of the accused went on trial in a fast-track court; the prosecution completed its evidence on 8 July.

The juvenile was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment in a reform facility. yesterday, the four adult defendants were found guilty of rape and murder.  That a juvenile can commit such an offence beyond his age, yet could be protected by age is a real paradox.

A section of the press is trying to portray something by stating that all of these men were daily wage labourers, barring Vinay Sharma who worked for a gym. It is not true – the commonality was the animal spirit and had nothing to do with their economic background. Some of them had families, wives and children too.  It was not poverty that pushed them to this crime !

Not long from now, the Court will decide whether the four men held guilty should be given the maximum sentence — the death penalty. While large numbers of people have been demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators of one of the most shocking and heinous crimes in recent years, some would still argue against death penalth.   A specific law has been enacted following the incident in order to deter criminals from committing such acts in the future and there may be no case that is more fit to use it in. The accused not only gangraped the girl, they also attempted to run over the victim and her friend and destroy evidence of their crime in the most brutal way possible. The case does fall within the rarest of rare categories and the prosecution would be right in seeking the death penalty in the case.

A section would continue to argue that punishments are never deterrents ~ then what should be done to keep animals out of the civil society ~ how to act against those who brutalise and dehumanize the society ! – what will happen if every criminal is allowed to go scotfree citing the same argument at different levels.  

If criminals should not be punished, why punish petty thieves and those who commit smaller crimes.  There may not be any guarantee that the prison system will reform them and make them better in any way; but are they really worthy of such reforms ?

Held guilty on almost every charge — rape,  gangrape, kidnapping, murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence  –  the court has thrown the book at the suspects. There is every reason to believe that the court will consider this a ‘rarest of the rare’ case, and will be unlikely to show any mercy when it comes to pronouncing the quantum of punishment. However, if [and if] the trial court pronounces the death penalty, the sentencing will have to be ratified by the Delhi High Court, Supreme Court and is subject to multiple reviews before it is carried out.  

Tuesday's decision comes ten days after the juvenile accomplice in the case was sentenced to three-year term at a detention centre after being held guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board of gangrape and murder of the paramedic and robbing a carpenter before the incident ~ and that speaks volumes


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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