Capital punishment to Rapist 

Lot many people are talking about capital punishment to rapist and the quantum of punishment. Some talk about public execution, some talk about castration and some go to extremes and demand that the rapists should be skinned alive publicly. These different demands or ideas about punishment don’t denote the personality of the person advocating it but rather, the extreme anger and helplessness felt by these individuals.

Talking only about the quantum of punishment is counterproductive. Everybody talks only about the quantum of punishment and that leads to many crucial issues of a rape trial not being discussed by the society. And In a rape case Quantum of Punishment is the least important thing. 

We should rather take a step back and try and recollect about the numerous rape trials in the country and what has happened to them. After the initial public anger has died down, we sadly find that they are dragging along in the lower courts for years together. Literally moving at snails pace. The rapists are on bail and free to intimidate the victim. In many cases we hear, that the rapist were acquitted for want of evidence or for a very shoddy investigation by the investigating agency. And in some bizarre cases we read in news papers that the case against the accused was being dropped on account of the victim marrying the rapist.

Now these are the things that usually happen in a rape trial in India

  • Actually trials take as long as 5-10 years. 
  • During this years the victim has to relive the rape and torture on every court visit. Every time the victim deposes in the court the victim is reliving the horror.
  • Facing inquiries at the police station is another brutality. There is a general lack of sensitivity among the police force. Things are improving now at least in metro and big cities. But in the rural areas the investigating agencies are found wanting in this respect.
  • If the victim gets married then attending the trial on regular basis can disrupt their family life and can cause problems between them.
  • If the victim has kids then by the time the trial is going on the kids are almost adolescent and going for court hearings becomes a torture. The victim has to be secretive as the kids have to be kept in the dark. 
  • If the rapists are free on bail then the victim can be intimidated and forced to turn hostile in the court.

The list is endless. So Rape is not a single episode of torture. The rape is relived by the victim at every interactions with police , judiciary, society and relatives till the case is decided. 

So what is important is not the quantum of punishment. The most important issue is, how quickly the trial is concluded. And how early the victim, if alive can start a fresh new life. And if the victim is dead then how early the relatives get a closure. 

So what is required is 

  • A fast trial. 
  • Daily hearings 
  • No stays on hearings at any cost. 
  • In camera hearings. 
  • No bail if there is Prima facie proof. 
  • Result within six months. 
  • During the appeals the victim need not depose again. 

The fear for a criminal is not the quantum of punishment but the efficiency of the investigating agency and rapid conclusion of trial.