I must note at the outset that it is most alarming that the number of child rapists are steadily rising at a meteoric pace yet we witness that the punishment meted out is not just grossly inadequate but also is kept pending indefinitely thanks to the various glaring legal loopholes present in our legal machinery which the battery of lawyers hired by especially affluent offenders exploit to the hilt in favour of their client! Nothing on earth can be more devastating than the unpalatable truth that the child rapists till now have been able to mock at our laws and escape either unpunished due to lack of evidence or a nominal punishment! Nothing on earth can be more sacred than children. It is not for nothing that it is said time and again that children are the visible form of invisible God!
It merits no reiteration that children who are the virtual symbol of God are most brutally raped by rapist as they are most vulnerable and can be easily overpowered by anyone. It really baffles me that how can anyone even think of raping a child? Whenever I feel lonely, I always look to children to make me get over my loneliness or sadness and their unadulterated love and affection helps me to a great extent which I must fully acknowledge.
In hindsight, I still remember that about an year back or so, Kamini Lau who is an Additional Sessions Judge of a Delhi court had very strongly came out in favour of castration of rapists so that a right message goes across that if you rape, you can be castrated and for whole life will stay like that! Now again! Castration! This is Madras high court’s one word solution for curbing spiralling sex offences against children.
Needless to state yet it must be asked: How long will our lawmakers and Centre keep listening to eminent lawyers like Manish Tiwari who say that, “India is not Saudi Arabia”? How long will our lawmakers and Centre keep on relentlessly advocating for more humane punishment for even child rapists? How long will our lawmakers and Centre keep ensuring that the human rights of child rapists are not violated by not subjecting them to castration? How long will we keep tolerating child rapists? How long will child rapists allowed to again and again rape children and yet not be castrated? Centre must certainly ponder!
Of course, I am happy to note that the Supreme Court which is the highest court of India has also on January 11, 2015 asked the Government to consider introducing a separate provision to define rape of girl children and to impose rigorous imprisonment for the offenders. The court suggested to the Centre to consider defining “child” within the definition of sexual assault. It said that, “A thought has to be thought of by Parliament that may think of defining child in context of rape and further prescribed rigorous imprisonment for persons accused of such acts. We want to make it clear that courts do not create offences or introduce punishment.”
Referring to rape of a 28-month-old baby and several cases of sexual atrocities on girl children aged between 2-10 years, narrated in a PIL filed by Supreme Court Women Lawyers’ Association (SCWLA), the Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and NV Ramana asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to advise the Centre to carve out a separate offence under IPC Section 376 dealing with rape of girl children. Presently, Section 376(1) covers acts of rape committed on minors who are defined as women aged below 16 years. The Bench said, “A child, though a minor, may stand in a different category. The pain visited to a child who knows nothing about sex or rape is a brutal assault.”
Let me inform my readers here that in this case mentioned above the PIL that was argued by senior advocate Mahalakshmi Pavani sought castration of offenders who commit rape on girl children below age of 10 years. Due to the sharp rise in such cases, she contended that whenever a society moves in that direction, a fear psychosis must be created in the minds of criminals in order to put a curb on such crimes. Mukul Rohatgi who appeared in this matter at the request of the court, agreed that no society can tolerate crimes of child abuse and child rape. He said that, “However, the court cannot prescribe or introduce a punishment for any specific crime as it is best left to the wisdom of the legislature.”
Justice N Kirubakaran of Madras High Court lashed out at current form of punishment prescribed under our penal laws and said, “Traditional laws are not stringent enough to yield any desired positive result. Suggestion of castration looks barbaric, but barbaric crimes should definitely attract barbaric model of punishment. Many may not agree with this. Still, everyone needs to understand the stark reality in society and appreciate the punishment suggested.” Justice N Kirubakaran also pointed to the glaring fact that conviction rates in cases of sex offence against children is only 2.4% and between 2008 and 2014, crimes against children had risen by 400%. This is most disgraceful!
Justice N Kirubakaran also while pointing out that chemical castration had come into force in several countries, including USA also was confident in asserting categorically that, “This court is sure that traditional punishment of castration of child rapists would fetch magical results in preventing and containing child abuses.” Personally speaking, I feel that it is very difficult to forecast whether this traditional punishment of castration of child rapists would fetch magical results in preventing and containing child rapists but I am hundred percent sure that it will send a loud, clear and firm message to the potential offenders that if they dare indulge in raping child and get caught, they will be subjected to castration which will deprive them of all sexual enjoyment for the rest of their lives! In present circumstances it is certainly the crying need of the hour!
While craving for my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also point out here that Justice Kirubakaran was passing orders on a plea from a foreigner facing paedophile charges in Tamil Nadu for quashing the case. Turning down the plea, the Judge stayed the red corner notice issued against the foreigner making it clear that it was being done to facilitate his participation in a criminal trial. Very rightly so.
For my readers benefit, let me also reveal here that the immediate provocation for the court to make such a radical and drastic suggestion was the brutal gangrape of children in Delhi just recently. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who is Delhi CM has also very rightly sought lowering the age bar to 15 years for prosecuting suspected juvenile rapists as adults and recommended death penalty or life imprisonment for those found guilty of raping children. He suggested stringent punishment against rapists after the city was rocked by three incidents of child rape in just a week. He rightly pointed out that, “Rapists know nothing will happen to them. I don’t think all the bad people live only in Delhi and that people living in places like Kolkata, New York, London or Varanasi are saints. It is just that the fear of law is not there in Delhi.”
Calling it a “blood curdling” and “horrific” incident, Justice Kirubakaran said castration must be an additional punishment for child abusers, especially child rapists. Incidentally in 2013, at the height of the protests in the capital over the Nirbhaya case, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had similarly called for death or chemical castration for rapists through amendments in Central laws. Castration is done on child sex offenders in Poland, Russia, Estonia and nine US states including California, Florida, Oregon, Texas and Washington, he said.
Tragic that under the existing laws no suspected offender below the age of 18 can be prosecuted as adult for even heinous crimes such as rape. Justice Kirubakaran also pointed out that, “In spite of many penal laws and the recent POSCO Act, 2012 prescribing severe punishment for crimes against children, the number of such cases has increased from 38,172 in 2012 to 58,224 in 2013 and to 89,423 in 2014”. This is most concerning!
What pains me most is that while terrorists trained in terror training camps in Pakistan like Kasab are promptly hanged but on the contrary, those who without attending such camps commit the worst form of atrocity on children, we see such serial child rapists escaping with either very little or no punishment as most of them who are rich and powerful waste no time in hiring the best legal minds to search for loopholes and thus escape easily making a mockery of our legal system! Let me reiterate that child is God’s best creation and God himself manifests in children which alone explains why in Hindu religion Devi is worshipped as small girl yet in reality they are brutally raped and what is even more worse is that in most cases the incident either goes unreported or the accused uses his clout to pressurize the child’s family not to open their mouth leave alone filing a case! What is worst is that there is no dearth of very senior and eminent lawyers who question castration as a mode of effective punishment and we see such serial child rapists escaping with either very little or no punishment as most of them who are rich and powerful waste no time in hiring the best legal minds to search for loopholes and thus escape easily making a mockery of our legal system! My best friend Sageer Khan always warned me of terrorists as the biggest threat to our nation as he said that they attack and affect adversely not just one or few individuals but our nation as a whole whom they want to destroy completely but when I questioned him that a country which has rapists, child rapists, gang rapists etc do they really need terrorists trained by Pakistan’s army or ISI to destroy India? He admitted that I had a point!
What a tragic and supreme irony that juvenile offenders are allowed to escape with very minor punishment especially if the offender is juvenile! Why this open licence to juveniles for committing heinous crimes like child rape, terror act etc? This must end now!
Also, we need to accept that child rapists must be castrated as Madras High Court has very rightly suggested. Even the Supreme Court recently has equated child rapists with animals and advocated zero tolerance for them! But when will the zero tolerance come? How many more innocent children lives will be destroyed before Centre finally feels the pressure to act? How long will India keep listening to advocates of child rapists and keep advocating human rights for them? It is for Centre to make strict laws pertaining to castration at the earliest as it brooks no delay! The earlier this is done, the better it shall be!