Human Rights Of Women Must Also Be Respected

It is most unfortunate and most disgraceful that in India where women is worshipped as Durga, Kali, Gauri etc and where we all show utmost respect to our sister and mother, we don’t care to ensure that those men who without being brainwashed in Pakistan by Pakistani Army or ISI or terror leaders like Hafiz Saeed or Syed Salaluddin or Masood Azhar or anyone else and without being trained in any hostile foreign country perpetrate the worst kind of crimes against women which under no circumstances can ever be justified by anyone. Why when rapists gang rape a women turn by turn and then stab her and then set her ablaze still why in our country are our lawmakers always bothered only and only about the human rights of men alone? Why are such rapists and gang rapists not killed like mosquitoes?

Why should any leniency be shown towards such demons?  Why is it that in last 15 years just one poor Dhananjoy Chatterjee is hanged on circumstantial evidence alone in 2004 and whose petition was drafted by prisoners of Tihar jail as was pointed by earlier by senior Supreme Court advocate Colin Gonsalves as he could not hire a lawyer even though every year we keep hearing that more than 32,000 to 33,000 rape incidents keep happening? Why is it that from 1982 to 2004 only Ranga and Birla are hanged for rape cum murder and who certainly deserved no mercy?

But what about other rapists cum murderers? Why were they also not hanged for similar crimes? Why the rich and the affluent are able to escape punishment just because they are able to hire a battery of “eminent and experienced” lawyers to offer thousands of reasons for sparing their client from being sent to the gallows?

Why are our lawmakers not closing all the escape routes in the form of “discretion bomb” in our IPC which many times mostly saves a rapist from being sent to the gallows? Why there is no mandatory death penalty for rape and gang rape? Why even for repeated offenders we see that there is no mandatory death penalty?

Why are rape trials and trials of other crimes perpetrated against women not conducted most expeditiously? Why do we see inordinate delay in the completion of rape trials and trials of other crimes pertaining to women? Should we be proud of it? Certainly not!

It is heartening to note that while urging for quick disposal of rape cases, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 8 said that he would write to all Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of the High Courts to complete investigation in cases of rape and those registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act in two months. He also said that the trial of such cases should also be completed within six months. Inordinate delay in completing rape cases has certainly brought disrepute to our legal system and to our judiciary and so what our Union Law Minister has just recently stated is good to read and it must now be earnestly implemented in totality! It brooks no more delay.

While noting that incidents of rape and crimes against women are “unfortunate and highly condemnable”, Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted quite unequivocally that perpetrators of such “heinous” crimes will be punished expeditiously through the judicial process. He said that, “I am going to write letters to all the chief ministers urging them to complete the investigation within two months in rape and Pocso cases.” This is certainly a commendable and courageous step which must be appreciated unequivocally!

Not stopping here, Ravi Shankar Prasad further added that, “I will also write to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts to dispose of expeditiously all cases relating to rape and Pocso pending in the Fast Track Courts.” He also disclosed that he has also requested the Chief Justice of India to ensure that there is a mechanism for speedy disposal of such cases. His comments assume huge significance as they came in the backdrop of nation-wide outrage and uproar over the alleged gang rape cum murder cases at Hyderabad and Unnao.

While mentioning that 704 Fast Track Courts (FTCs) are currently working across the country, Ravi Shankar Prasad further revealed that 1,023 new FTCs are going to be constituted to try cases of Pocso and rape offences, besides other crimes against women. All such FTCs must be constituted at the earliest. It brooks no more delay now!

It is most concerning that there is an alarming increase in the incidents of rape, gang rape, throwing of acid on women, and many other crimes perpetrated on women. The main reason behind such a meteoric upsurge is that criminals feel that they can get away by doing anything in India as the criminal justice system functions at an excruciatingly glacial pace which only further punished women and accused easily gets bail! Can this be ever justified by any sane person?

We all know that the Unnao rape victim who was gang raped earlier in March and after complaining to police the gang rapists were arrested. But they were released after Allahabad High Court granted them bail. What did it culminate into?

As we all know the gang rapists ensured that they waylaid the rape victim while she was on her way to attend court hearing at Raebareli to testify against the criminals. Why were the gang rapists given bail at the first instance? Why were the rights of accused given precedence over the rights of the women?

Not stopping here, why did the police not provide adequate security to the rape victim? Why were the criminals allowed to easily set her ablaze and stab her? Should no policemen be held accountable in this regard?

Why are such policemen just suspended? Why are they not dismissed from service and why are they not held accountable for the death of the Unnao gangrape victim? Why is there so much of leniency towards those police cops who should have jolly well ensured that the gangrape victim was not left alone and especially when she was going to attend court hearing and testify herself in gang rape case why was she not provided full security?

It is good to learn that just a day after the Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde said that justice can never be instant and loses its character when it becomes revenge we also got to read what our Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that, “There cannot be instant justice, but there cannot be constant delays in justice delivery either, else people become restive.” Moreover, how can we afford to ignore the time tested dictum that “Justice delayed is justice denied”? There can be no denying that even the Chief Justice of India – Sharad Bobde is most concerned to see how rapidly crimes against women are increasing in our country and he fully realizes the invaluable importance of combating such crimes on a war footing!

We get to read everyday so many news of even minors being most brutally raped, murdered with her head smashed and what not. But how many times do we read that such rapists, gang rapists and murderers are hanged? Why always we see that the rights of the accused takes precedence over the rights of the women victim? This has to certainly change now if we really want that the people’s faith in our judiciary stands intact!

Why should throwing of acid on women not be punished with mandatory death penalty? How can throwing of acid on women be justified on any ground? How can any punishment less than death penalty or at the least life term without any remission which means imprisonment for the whole life not be awarded on all those who throw acid on women or hurt her in grievous manner?

Why are woman’s right to safety and her right to life not accorded the highest priority in India? Should we not feel ashamed to see that even those who throw acid on women escape very easily after spending at the most just few years in prison? Why should dowry death not be punished with mandatory death penalty? Why are so many escape routes left open for criminals to escape easily and with just a light punishment even after committing the most horrifying crimes against women?

Why is it that under our penal laws there is no mandatory life imprisonment also for gang rape as stipulated in Section 376D of the IPC? Why the punishment for gang rape as stipulated in Section 376D of the IPC is “shall not be less than twenty years but which may extend to life”? Why this “discretion bomb” in form of “may” is inserted in Section 376D dealing with gang rape?

Should this “discretion bomb” not be defused promptly by removing it and providing for “mandatory death penalty” considering the irrefutable fact that gang rape incidents are increasing alarmingly in our country followed by even gang burning of gang rape victims as we saw most recently in Unnao and earlier in Hyderabad with a 26-year-old veterinary doctor? Can gang rape be justified under any circumstances? Why then do we see that there is no mandatory death penalty for such offences?

Why different punishment prescribed for gang rape on woman under 16 years of age as prescribed in Section 376DA and that on woman under 12 years of age as prescribed under Section 376DB of IPC? Why only life imprisonment under Section 376DA and not death? Why option of life and death in Section 376DB of IPC? Why not mandatory death penalty?

Why should minors who rape and gang rape not be punished with death? Why should they at least not be punished with mandatory life term? Why should they be allowed to escape easily after spending some time in reformatory home as we saw in Nirbhaya gang rape cum murder case where the maximum brutality was committed by the minor?

What message are we sending to the world? That in India you can get away by doing anything just because you are a minor! Why should our law makers not listen to the invaluable advice of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in this regard who said that there should be no benefit given to minors when they commit such heinous crimes and underscored that political will is needed to implement it?

Why does India figure even far below Pakistan and Bangladesh in happiness index ranking at an abysmally low 140? It is because in India just two rapists are hanged from 1982 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2019 just one rapist is hanged on circumstantial evidence alone! Is this what is fair and can this be justified in the guise of “due process of law”?

Why should our outdated colonial laws like IPC, Evidence Act and CrPC not be changed drastically to meet the present circumstances? Why should human rights of women not be accorded the topmost priority? Why when incidents of rape, gang rape by 4 men or 14 men or even more followed by stabbing and followed by setting her ablaze not be followed by gang hanging?

How many incidents of gang rape are followed by gang hanging? Why our rape laws ensure that gang rapists are never hanged? Should we not be ashamed of this?

Why judiciary never ensures that gang rapists are gang hanged? Why we are happy just after seeing that one poor Dhananjoy Chatterjee is hanged on circumstantial evidence alone? If gang rapists who first gang rape and then set the women ablaze after stabbing her also not deserve death penalty then this death penalty must be kicked out of India right now!

Today that is December 10 is “Human Rights Day”! We must always accept that even “woman” is “human” and not just “men” alone! Therefore, our law makers must ensure that human rights of “women” are accorded the top priority and those who dare to violate them are dealt with swiftly and sternly in accordance with law which must be now amended urgently to ensure that no criminal is able to mock at women and yet escape lightly just by using his “money and muscle power”!

Sanjeev Sirohi