Worst Judgement By The Supreme Court

take rape seriously

Take Rape Seriously

Today when the International Women’s Day has just passed, I want to talk about the most retrograde judgement given by the Supreme Court of India in a case involving a woman.

The shocker of judgment came in the case of a woman from Punjab where the Supreme Court let off three gang rapists after they claimed a “compromise formula” with the victim and agreed to pay her a fine of Rs. 50,000 (or just about USD 1100) each for their offence!

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra reduced to three and half years the 10-year sentence awarded to three gang rapists who took the plea that both the convicts and the victim were now happily married to different people and “wanted to live peacefully.”

Under Section 376(G) of the IPC, the minimum sentence to the gang rapists is 10 years, which may extend even to life imprisonment.

Another plea given was that it was more than 15 years when the incident had occurred, the bench relented and said it was upholding their conviction but reducing their sentence to the three-and-half years already undergone.

Seriously, “Rape Money”?

Such compromise formulas existed in the dark ages. They even exist in countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arab etc where you have the concept of blood money, but in India which is the world’s largest democracy? How can in this day and age we accept and allow the practice of “rape money” to let off men who preyed on a helpless woman. The fact that one of the judges is herself a woman makes this even more appalling.

The fact that 15 years have passed since the incident, does not take away anything from the gravity of the crime. The fact that 15 years have passed before the final disposal of the verdict is not the mistake of the victim.

self defense against rapeAnd it is not as if the accused spent those 15 years in jail. They were free. They were free to get married in the mean time, procreate and start “living a peaceful happily married life”.  They spent only 3 and half years in jail.

Most legal cases in India, as elsewhere, are decided on precedent. And when Supreme Court sets a precedent, it not only dictates the course of all the future judgments but at times becomes the law. In this case the Supreme Court has set the worst kind of precedent.

And who set the price of Rs. 50,000 as the settlement fine to be paid to the victim? This year’s economic data released by the government says that the expected per capita income in India is Rs. 54,527. What it means is that the court has allowed the rapists to go scot free six and half years earlier with a fine which is less than the yearly national per capita income. This is a joke and not a fine at all. The court has set a very low value to the trauma and agony caused to the woman.

It is a BAD precedent against rape victims

Most rape accused will now take recourse to this judgment and strike (actually negotiate) deals, many a times forcefully, with the victims and ask to be set free so that they can “live happily and peacefully.” In this case, I read that the victim and her family are extremely poor and hence were forced to “settle” for a deal with the much richer criminals. With this as a precedent, we have brought the punishment for rape to the negotiating table!

The other worrying aspect is that today the court has allowed rapists to go free. Tomorrow the same thing can happen in case of a murder. What stops a murderer from taking the same plea – already “x” number of years has passed, I am now married and living peacefully, the victim’s family and I have struck a deal for “y” amount of money, so let me be free. Where are you going to draw a line?

Please do let me know what you think about this sordid affair – the supreme court ruling letting criminals guilty of rape negotiating deals with the victim of International Women's Day?

self defense against rape

8 Comments

  1. Firstly I feel we should remove the so called “comprise formula” facility in our jurisdiction. Especially for such cases rape or murder there should be one standard judgement is hanging!! One should shiver even to think of murder or rape or any such doings. Today in India justice can be used to crack jokes. just take the case of kasab, so much public money is spent on him for what he has done to the public!!

    The whole constitution laws should be rewritten since there one thousand and one cases it has been proved it has failed.
    OR may be we need some dictatorship laws sort of thing.

    Reply
    • Hi Kashyap, I can very well understand your pain and frustration with the slow process of justice. Having said that I do not think that becoming a dictatorship is going to solve the problem. It has not solved the problem of rape and murder in countries that are ruled by dictators.

      What is needed is that we should give more resources for the judicial system so that cases can be fast tracked and people do not have to wait for lifetimes to get justice.

      And yes, as you rightly pointed out, NO COMPROMISES.

      Reply
  2. @Sanjeev,
    Again here as you previously mentioned in other topics about corruption. thats another virus that did not leave this area. it’s the most infectious and is effecting the development.

    Reply
    • Absolutely right Kashyap. Corruption destroys the moral fiber of the people and it eats away development, national unity and justice for all. It is one virus that must be eradicated at all cost.

      Reply
  3. @Sanjeev Sharma@Random Raves & Rants of Sanjeev, Glad to see someone is also feeling the same !!!

    Reply
  4. Really; are you kidding me, how can this occur? Being from the US I don’t always have a global perspective and realize there are still cultures that are very oppressive and women are treated as second class citizens, or worse.

    I would say it is unconscionable but it is only one of many injustices occurring in this type of society.

    And to take it a step further and somewhat off the track, how can we not be outraged at what is occurring in Darfur.

    Social injustices globally; how do you make a difference? Sometimes it is one person, one voice at a time.

    This was way more serious than I normally give on my responses; I usually have something humorous to interject.

    I like the site but probably not the one to give a ‘professional’ opinion. And no, I’m not asking for you to critique my site as it is very, very basic and I still don’t know where I’m going with it.

    I will say, just be persistent and stay connected to people like Brankica who has already done a lot of the heavy lifting but still generous with her support.

    Reply
    • I think I need to clarify here. This kind of letting off the rapists is not a norm here. This has happened for the first time and that is why it is such a shocker. There has been a huge outcry against the judgement. As per the news reports, the two judges were against any kind of compromise but with the defense persistent and the victim “agreed”. And unfortunately the judges relented.

      Reply
  5. Yes it is “Sometimes it is one person, one voice at a time,” but then it should be heard by millions of people. Unfortunately the person who needs to raise the voice is busy making more and more bucks( by now everyone must have guessed the person for those couldn’t , its the politicians ). More pathetic is the person who is suffering (here the common man) voice drains into pain and goes unheard. The day his/her voice is given importance and heard that day would the best moment/day in my life.

    Reply

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