Wednesday, September 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Punishing rape case accused

THIS refers to the news-item “Death sentence on duo commuted to life” (September 1). The reasoning of the Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while commuting the death sentence of the two accused who were tried for kidnapping, raping and murdering a six-year-old girl and were convicted and awarded death sentence by the Sessions Judge, Sonepat, does not appeal to the thinking people.

The Judges had ruled: “The accused were the products of all-round sickness in society and for this reason the death sentence seems to be too harsh a penalty to be imposed on them because society must share the blame for producing maniacs and for inflicting a horrible trauma on the girl’s family. The accused do not seem to reflect the image of hardened sex maniacs or perverts with the predisposition towards child molestation.... Had they been a bit older and their victim a girl in teens, this court would have shown less indulgence leading perhaps to the confirmation of the death sentence.”

Since I felt a lot of anguish after reading the above reasoning of the Division Bench, I could not help showing this to a number of well-educated and highly responsible couples aged between 35-80 years to elicit their views. All of them stated that the offence of rape committed on a six-year innocent girl was definitely more serious than that on a teenager, and combined with the offence of murder, it was a fit case for the award of death sentence.


As regards “all-round sickness in society”, I think our judicial system is equally to blame for the social malady as our courts have been trying to treat the incurable disease of cancer and allowing it to spread instead of applying the surgeon’s knife to remove the affected portion of society.

The courts appear to believe more in the reformative aspect of punishment than its deterrent value, and seldom award the maximum punishment fixed for the offence and that too after a lapse of 7-10 years. In a case where a six-year-old girl took lift on the bicycle of her school peon, then aged about 60 years, and was raped by him, the trial court awarded him three years RI nearly 10 years after the incident.

In another case where a teenager girl was kidnapped, raped and murdered by three accused persons, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment for the reasons that the accused were not hardened criminals and could be reformed. One wonders as to how many girls a person is required to rape and murder before being considered a “hardened sex maniac” and his offence becoming “the rarest of the rare case” to warrant death penalty.

I would suggest that the minimum punishment of death sentence should be fixed for the offence of rape on an innocent girl aged upto 12 years and life imprisonment in cases of elder girls and women.

The offence of murder after rape should attract at least death sentence in all cases irrespective of the age of the victim.


Women’s cell of police

This refers to the news item “HP police set up women’s cell” (August 30), which is a welcome step taken by the Himachal Pradesh police to provide security to women. Exploitation against women is increasing at an alarming rate not only in HP but throughout the country. Women can report to this cell in case of harassment.

Such women cells will be opened in each district of the state and will be handled exclusively by women police. Thus, women victims can register FIRs freely without any hesitation. Generally, it has been noticed that FIRs are not registered by male policemen. Sometimes they try to indulge in sexual harassment, molestation, rape etc. Red Cross societies, NGOs’ advisory cells and legal aid cells will also cooperate with this women cell so that women get justice in a court of law.

Earlier, the Punjab Government also announced certain schemes in which financial support and technical training were to be provided to make women economically self-reliant. In the Capital, the Delhi Commission for Women has started a special telephone service, through which legal advice is being provided to solve the problems of women related to divorce, the custody of children, sexual harassment , rape, dowry, property, etc.



Municipalities & the poor

The formation of Municipal Council in Panchkula is a people-friendly step. The examples of Zirakpur and Baltana in the neighbourhood shows that those who cannot afford costlier house-sites in the modern urban estates always welcome the formation of municipalities. The Nagar Panchayat (Municipality) of Zirakpur was formed on the basis of public demand, with the resolutions signed by all the panchayats falling in the area. The people of an adjoining village, Bhabat, are unhappy because it has been left out of the municipal limits. After the constitution of the MC, PUDA has stopped its demolition drive within the municipal limit, and so is the case in Pinjore in Haryana.

The villagers whose land comes within the municipal limits of Panchkula will be benefited by this decision. The built-up houses in the periphery will be regularised, and the MC will be fully competent to approve of house plans or town planning schemes. Though getting approval for the construction of houses from the DC (Periphery) is not an easy job due to the operation of the Periphery Act; the constitution of the MC will pave for a lawful way to own a shelter within their budget by the poor people.

The government should include the leftout areas of Saketri, Mahadevpur and Mansa Devi Temple in the expansion of the MC.



Question: What will be the future of bandit king Veerappan?

Answer: He will join politics!



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |