Article submitted by Madhav (student member) Image credit: upr.org
After every major rape in India, the response of the public is similar, people are angry with government, police, politicians, system and accused. Two similar trends on Twitter follow:
#HangRapists or #PunishRapistInPublic
Many people and Celebrities have talked about this but Jaya Bachchan Took This One Step further…
She said In Rajya Sabha: “It may sound a little harsh, but these types of people [the rape accused] need to be brought out in public and lynched.”
But This Is Wrong Because Of These 3 Reasons :
1. Death penalty effectiveness
The practice of executing someone as punishment for a specific crime after a proper legal trial is called Capital Punishment.
The logic behind this punishment is that a strict punishment will deter other people from committing the same crime.
But professor of Columbia law school Jeffrey Fagan told us that “we are very hard pressed to find really strong evidence of deterrence”
Prof. Fagan & Other Two Researchers compared the murder rates of two cities for their research https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1436993 One of which was Hong Kong, where capital punishment was abolished in 1993 and Singapore where Capital Punishment is Still Given.
The researchers noticed that homicide levels and trends are remarkably similar in these two cities over 35 years after 1973.
Another Researchers did similar comparison between two states of United States Where in one State death penalty is given and in another death penalty Is Not Given. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5136209_Uses_and_Abuses_of_Empirical_Evidence_in_the_Death_Penalty_Debate They didn’t Find Any Difference In Murder Rates.
These studies Weren’t perfect but many other studies reached to the same conclusion
With all these studies, We can’t prove that capital punishment doesn’t reduce crime but also we can’t prove that capital punishment does reduce crime
Punishment is not the only thing that criminals think about if you think from the Criminals perspective.
So for them two factors matter:
1. Extent of punishment
2. Likelihood of getting caught
What does it matter whether you are given capital punishment or not if you have the least chance of getting caught!
Daniel Nagin : Professor & Criminologist of Carnegie Mellon University also told this.
“If you want to reduce crime, then you better increase the chances of catching the criminal than making it more strict in punishment.”
In India, over 30,000 rape cases, only 1 in 4 convicted https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/over-30000-rape-cases-only-1-in-4-convicted/articleshow/63748925.cms
According to NCRB, rape cases pending trial stood at more than 133000 by the end of 2016
Now, Government can put 1 case in the Fastrack Court but what about 1,32,999 cases. that’s why we should give more focus on conviction rather than on punishment.
2.Societal Pressure on Victim’s Family:
If suppose that our legal system is able to give death penalty effectively to the accused
Then, On the contrary pressure will put on victim’s family.
According to NCRB, 93% rapes in India committed by the person known to the victim.
Owed to this, friends ,relatives and society will put pressure on victim’s family not to file a complaint by saying ‘we will handle this’
Recently , We’ve Seen this in Hathras Rape Case where Victim’s Family was dalit and was being forced to drop the case and continuously tortured by upper-class people and even by the executives.
That’s why 99% of Sexual Assault go unreported (govt data shows).
3.Danger To Victim :
Due to death penalty, along with mental pressure victims life will also be in danger.
After any rape, the rapist has only two options left
(i) To leave the victim’s life or
(ii) To kill the victim
If death penalty is already a law then , there is no incentives left for rapists to not kill the victim.
How Can This Be Solved?
Indian legal system is not the only problem behind rape. Our:
•Gender roles in society
Is also the problem behind the rapes.
If we talked about the Police force, then look at graph.
This graph shows the number of vacant police forces in every state. In UP about 60% officer posts are vacant .
The Same Situation is in The Judiciary System:
Around 2.8 crore cases are pending , out of which 70 lakhs cases have been pending for more than 5 years.
Unless we fix all these problems, there is no use of severe punishment.
Remember this, Rapists are not naturally born , They also live with us in our societies, in our cities.
And Changing The Society is Not One Night Thing.
You will get Emotional Satisfaction after publicly lynching or Capital punishment but Rape problem will not end.