Sat, 06 Jun, 2020

Letting the lawtake its course

The recent encounter by Hyderabad police of individuals accused of rape and murder of veternarian Dr Priyanka Reddy has triggered a wave of emotion throughout the nation. While there is joy among a section of society who believe that justice was delivered quickly in the case, the question is also being raised whether this was a case of the police themselves become the judge, jury and executioner, and whether they should have let the law take its own course instead. The second question is whether such action by the police will help deter this kind of crime in the near future.

08th December 2019, 02:37 Hrs

According to official figures by the central government, More than 43 lakh cases are pending in the 25 high courts in the country and over 8 lakh of these are over a decade old. 

On an average, cases take three years and nine months to get disposed.In Delhi HC, considered publicly as one of the best. It takes an average of two years and eight months to give its verdict in a case.

One of the prime reasons behind the ever-growing pendency is shortage of HC judges. At present, 399 posts, or 37 per cent of sanctioned judge-strength, are vacant.

Underling the huge pendency, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to increase the strength of judges and raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years.

Punishment in other countries for rape

China: Death sentence or castration
The sentence for rape in China is death, which some might laud for their swiftness. However, the justice system in China is not without its flaws. Some convicted rapists who were executed by the system were later found innocent. Castration is also used in some cases.
Saudi Arabia: Beheading within days
The punishment for rape in Saudi Arabia is a public beheading after administering the rapist with a sedative. Surprisingly, the same punishment is awarded for drug trafficking. 
Israel: 16 years to life
If someone is convicted of raping a woman, he is liable to be sentenced to 16 years in prison. Their definition of rape is quite inclusive and takes into account other forms of sexual assault.
USA: Imprisonment for life
The usual sentence for a convicted rapist here depends on whether the trial falls under state or federal law. In cases under federal law, the punishments can range from a few years to imprisonment for the entirety of the rapist’s life span.
Russia: 3 to 20 years
Rapists in Russia are usually sentenced to 3-6 years in prison. The jail term can go up to more than 10 years depending on the situation, such as if the person causes grievous harm and can be even higher (20 years) if it’s a rare case.

The law considers what message a particular punishment will send to the society, and in that light, we have the concept of deterrent punishment. Quite often, the problem in India is that the time taken by the judicial  process often leads to the punishment losing its deterrence effect. There is an urgent need to speed up the justice system. Speaking of the encounter the action it may be noted that the police do have powers to act in certain ways in certain situations. In this encounter case, prima facie, the police have acted within their powers.
— Shailesh Kulkarni, 

If we speak of allowing justice to take its own cource, this brings to mind the case of one Ishwar Makwana who had several rape cases against him and had run away while on his way to the court. We also need to consider the human rights of the victim, and in that sense, maybe the ends of justice have been met. However, I do believe that the state should setup system that would ensure getting justice quicker to victims of crimes without allowing the accused to escape
— Auda Viegas, social activist

A judicial enquiry has to be done to ascertain the truth as often reports mismatch with truth. There is no place for extra judicial killings. In a corrupt system where false cases are filed even on rape survivors any of one can be killed by calling them  criminal. Need is an honest efficient justice redressal mechanisms (Speaking on encounters breaking the Mumbai underworld) Underworld has not vanished. Supari murders are still being committed. What about intimidation of locals to sell land. Is there no drug mafia, the hawala underworld in casino gambling?
— Albertina Almeida, 
social activist

Considering the scenario in India, I think this action is justified. The culprits should not be given time. We need to speed up the judicial process, and people who commit such serious crimes against women should be executed. 

— Michael Ferns, social activist

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