Following are the arguments of the prosecution and the defence on the quantum of sentence in the Dec 16 gang-rape case. The prosecution, arguing for granting the four accused the death sentence, said:
–The case falls in the “rarest of rare” categories, and the accused “don’t carry any element of sympathy due to age”.
–The act was premeditated, and punishment should be awarded as per the gravity of the offence, and not considering the age of the accused.
–The convicts should get maximum sentence, and the court should see that they have raped and killed a helpless woman, even as she pleaded for her life.
–This is the most heinous crime one can commit. The injuries caused to the victim were inhuman and unheard of in a criminal case.
–Her digestive system was ripped open, as if a fruit.
–There is fear in society. No woman is safe in the country. The court’s judgment can change that.
–If the convicts are awarded a lighter punishment, “the public will lose faith in the judicial system”. –Strong message should be sent to society through this case.
–The accused don’t stand a chance to be given an opportunity to reform. The defence, pleading mercy for the accused and a chance for reformation, said:
–Death penalty will not guarantee crime-free society. The accused are all young and can change if given an opportunity.
–Afzal Guru (convicted in the December 2001 attack on parliament) and Ajmal Kasab (lone Pakistani terrorist who survived and was convicted in the November 2006 attacks in Mumbai) were given death sentence.Does that mean terror attacks have stopped?
–Beant Singh who assassinated former prime minister Indira Gandhi (in 1984) was given death sentence, but that could not prevent the assassination of her son and also former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
–In the Batla House shootout, the convict, Shahzad, accused of killing a police officer, was awarded life imprisonment, not death sentence.
–The accused in the gang-rape case were not terrorists, but citizens of India.
–This is not a case that falls under the “rarest of the rare” category. There have been similar cases where death penalty was not awarded.
–Jail is considered as a reform home, and life imprisonment in such a case is a rule, while death penalty is an exception.
–While determining the sentence, it should be ensured what the role of each person in the crime was. The incident happened on the spur of the moment.
–This is the land of Mahatma Gandhi who preached non-violence. Death sentence is not only against Gandhi’s teachings but also denies the guilty their right to life.
–The common plea by the defence was that all the accused had no history of indulging in criminal activities, their families depended on them financially, and the incident took place while they were under the influence of alcohol, affecting their judgment.