October 31, 2006

Should rapists be hanged?

In it’s recent verdict, the Delhi High Court found Santosh Singh guilty of rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo. The court announced the death sentence for Santosh Singh. The verdict came as a breath of fresh air, especially because the Sessions Court earlier acquitted him in 1999. Santosh Singh himself was a practicing lawyer in the Delhi High Court and though the verdict is a strong blow for him, all is not over as he still has the option of going to The Supreme Court, which most likely will at least curtail his sentence to life imprisonment.

Of course till then there is going to be a nation wide debate about the morality and the righteousness of a court sentencing a person to death. After all, they say, if we cant give someone life, what right do we have to take it away from a person?

But all said and done, some crimes do deserve the death sentence. And rape is one of them. Rape is something that leaves an everlasting impression on the victim’s mind and a lot of courage is involved on the part of the person and the family in coming out and complaining against the perpetrator of the crime. Sometimes, the family and the society instead of supporting the victim get together in ostracizing the person, as if it’s the person’s fault that what happened, happened.

So why the death penalty? The purpose of the judicial system, more than to punish, is to prevent the occurrence of crime. There can be no greater deterrent to committing a crime than the knowledge that death stares you in the face if you walk that road. And if someone still chooses to walk that road, he does so at his own peril.

When someone has done something once, it becomes easier to do it the second time. Even though a person doesn’t want to repeat it, the urge sometimes becomes too strong to control and he might do it again and hate himself more for it. It is the responsibility of the judiciary to see that this does not happen. Someone who can be so heartless as to trample another person’s feelings once, should under no circumstance should be set free to do it again.

The judicial systems all over the world have evolved in a way that leave a lot of room for the criminals to play around and effectively evade punishment, but in the rare case where the guilt is proven beyond doubt, the punishment should be severe and it should set an example both for the criminal and the judge.

What do you think?


Galli Galli Sim Sim said...

I think, given what little I know of the culture there, that a harsh example may indeed provide the deterrent you seek. A punishment that, I agree, is needed to overcome the cultural biases that have existed for centuries. It is those same inbred prejudices that will probably lead to the reduction in the sentence when the higher court gets the opportunity to cut one of their own a break.

theWatchList said...

I'm all for the idea of an eye for an eye as crime prevention. Other than death, how do you rehabilitate a criminal who commits some of these most depraved crimes?

Here is an interesting bit of quasi-related news from my part of the world...

stev said...

while chopping off hands / death sentences would deter crime, mayhaps i am still idealistic in the sense that everyone deserves a 2nd try

so i'll settle for giving em life sentence (~25 years) or maybe castration... hmmm...

Bluepanther said...

@ g : You are right!

@ Thewatchlist : I would say that eye for an eye is pretty fair game in many cases. Truth and non violence are gerat concepts but they are for humans not animals. And if a person lets himself be controlled by the animal inside him, why should he be treated any other way than we would treat an an animal?

@ stev: After 25 years of jail, he wont be left with much of a second chance.:)

CyberCelt said...

I live in Texas. While other states are debating abolishing the death penalty, my state put in an express lane.

I do not know that I approve of us taking a life for any reason, but child abuse, rape and murder would tempt me.

Whatever said...

No, rapists should not be hanged.

My whole take on the role of justice in society is to protect people, not to exact vengeance on behalf of someone else.

If hanging rapists were shown to be extremely effective at preventing rape, then it would be worth looking at. At least in the US, capital punishment's value as a deterrent is extremely questionable, and there is good reason to believe that it used in a biased and racist manner.

jay said...

A bit extreme and not likely to prevent other rapes. I think a long prison term would be more in line with justice, as opposed to simple vengence. You CAN get past a rape and have a life....taking away a couple of decades of life from a rapist is something that can't be returned; and that seems far more a fitting punishment.

Bluepanther said...

@cybercelt: Taking a life for any reason is not something that I would go for either, if it was my choice, but sometimes amputation of a body part is a must to save the body.

@whatever: By hanging someone, the law is protecting the society by keeping it from harm permanently. A life term could be the other solution but after a deacde or two in jail, a person might come out even more bitter and thus more damgerous.

@jay: Agreed it is extreme, but the punishment should match the crime.

Thanks everyone for your comments!!!

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