Capital punishment for ‘Gang rape’: Karnataka High Court

In the case of Ramu versus State of Karnataka [Criminal appeal No.- 246 of 2014], the court observed that the culprits should be sentenced with death for the offence of gang rape. The bench was headed by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice B. Veerappa and the Hon’ble Mr. Justice K. Natarajan who after discussing the seriousness of the matter persuaded that even after several laws and amendments being laid down to section 376D of the Indian penal code, women are not safe in the society.

The bench quoted the famous lines said by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, immediately after independence that, “The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence.” The judges upheld that though Indian Penal Code was enacted by Act 45 of 1860, and even after the lapse of 74 years of independence still woman in not safe in the hands of the rapist/violators of law.

The court observed that, “It is high time for the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Media as the Fourth Estate of Democracy and General Public to pool in their collective wisdom to curb the menace of ‘rape’, which is more dangerous than the ‘Disease of Cancer’ to the future generation of our great Country.”

“When a woman is ravished, what is inflicted is not merely physical injury, but the deep sense of some deathless shame. Between Nirbhaya’s case and present case, the only difference is that in the case of Nirbhaya, the victim died after the brutal incident on her, but in the present case. The victim has discontinued her Law Course and returned to her native Country- Nepal with all curse.”

Because of the ghastly incident committed by the accused on the victim girl, the law and order of the entire nation particularly Karnataka State is made responsible. Since the ‘reputation of the Country is at stake’, no lenience can be shown to the accused persons. Any misplaced sympathy to the accused comes in the way of upholding ‘dignity of the court, majesty of law, traditions and cultures right from our ancient time.

The court further observed that, “‘Gang rape’ is more dangerous than ‘Murder’. The demand for justice has to be made fully within legal frame work.” “We, the Judges are the societal parents. If our concern for the society of girls/ women can be summed up in one sentence that “An attack on anybody’s daughter in an attack on our daughter”.” “We hereby recommend the Legislature/Central Government to further amend the provisions of Section 376D of Indian Penal Code- Gang Rape into capital punishment in addition to the existing provisions for imprisonment of life and with fine on par with the provisions of Section 376AB and 376DB of Indian Penal Code in order to curb the menace of ‘gang rape’ in the society at large.” “We hope and trust that the increasing gender sensitivity is crucial to enhance women’s safety. The safety of women is a not a guarantee despite the stringent amended law is placed after Nirbhaya’s case.”

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