The middle ground between “Death Penalty for the juvenile” and “leniency”.

The sixth accused in the Delhi Gang rape and murder case has been declared a juvenile by the Juvenile Justice Board.
Following the move, there has been unprecedented resentment. The various social media float with status updates, tweets, petitions, and other things.

The general voice emerging out says one thing – HANG THE RAPIST, JUVENILE OR NOT!

This humble blogger has been attempting to write a post on this since long. But, initiallly, time was sparse and when he had time, he didn’t know what to write – which side to take – what measures to advocate.

So, he took some time, read up quite a bit and asked various people for their views. At last, tonight, he has come up with a slight semblance of an informed opinion.

WHY INDIA DEMANDS DEATH PENALTY AND WHAT INDIA MUST KEEP IN MIND :

This is not the first instance of a juvenile being accused of rape. But, never before, have the nitty gritties of crime and punishment captured the imagination of a nation so well.
This is essentially a good thing.

But, we must not let our anger overpower our ability to see things as they are.
The de-humanisation angle and then, the attempt to run them over rattles us.
We cannot settle for anything less than capital punishment.

We want our revenge at all costs.

But a society that seeks revenge is a mob. We must be careful to not turn into a mob.

While our anger is justified and understandable, we must make an attempt to go deeper into the matter and form an informed opinion.

We are educated people and an educated society. This careful approach shall distinguish us from the mob on the street that shouts for the accused’s male organs to be severed.

WHY DEATH PENALTY IS NOT THE BEST WAY OUT :

Since the Juvenile Board’s decision of treating the 6th accused as a juvenile, there has been a MEDIA TRIAL, by one certain section of the media.

While it makes for excellent viewing experience and TRP’s, it is also a dangerous trend.

There is a widespread belief that that it was 17 year old boy who was the most brutish of the six, and it is widely believed that it was he who ventured into de-humanisation.

I have held this believe since 31st December last year. But just yesterday I was informed that a petition has been filed by a citizen to the Juvenile Justice board, stating that it was the Delhi Police that had selectively leaked vulnerable (mis)information(?) regarding the boy’s active role.

This was done in a bid to achieve death sentences for all six swiftly, and perhaps to get accolades for swift action.
Apparently, the Delhi Police was/still is under huge pressure.

This act of leaking information is illegal according to Section 21 and the Police might face a penalty of ₹25,000.

Anyhow, there has been a build up of public opinion against this sixth accused.

Child Right Activists and even Women’s Right Activists call for a better understanding of his abused early childhood which apparently turned him into a disturbed teen.

He has had a pretty bad life so far and the abuse he faced was one crucial reason for adverse social behaviour.

Socialisation in typically male centric rule societies such as the one to which the accused belonged, usually percolates to younger generations psychologically affecting their views on women.

Their belief is that we, as a dysfunctional society are responsible for the sixth accused’s state.
We have to take responsiblity. This brutish act holds up the mirror to our faces. Killing him will only be lip service.

This act by all means is rare case of barbarism and extreme violence. Isolated cases cannot be held up as benchmarks for making new laws, overriding the existing ones.

If a new but faulty law is made it shall stay forever to haunt other juveniles accused of less serious crimes. So, an isolated case like this makes for bad laws.

Even the Justice Verma Recommendations do not consist of a suggestion for law amendment.

WHAT CAN THEN BE POSSIBLY A SOLUTION?

Under present Juvenile Laws, the sixth accused can get a maximum of three years.

Having said all of the above against death penalty, I cannot agree with a sentence of three years.

I do not feel safe enough with the idea of him roaming the streets freely after three years.

I feel that given his background of dysfunctional childhood and adverse social behaviour, he should be tagged as being “unsuitable for society and social interaction”.

Having given him that tag, let him be put through intense therapy and correctional procedure. Let a time frame of 7 years be kept in mind within which he should ideally be made fit for social existence.

After that period is over, let him be released but kept under supervision. Let him be tracked electronically in the way America convicts out on parole are done.

That is the only way I believe we can reach at a compromise between death penalty and needless leniency.

But perhaps like all of my quickfix solutions, this one also is too ideal.
Apologies for that!

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6 comments on “The middle ground between “Death Penalty for the juvenile” and “leniency”.

  1. soumyav says:

    its so confusing nowadays,about the news that we receive..the clarity and the integrity of it. many things have come up since the incident and the role and pressure on social media,is increasing,the action of all officials involved in the government should be of some solidarity and of realtime .putting up a story and making it look real wnt help anybody,neither the country nor themselves.

    • Your comment makes me think deep. Sometimes the protectors and enforcers of the law have to adopt measure which might be WRONG ethically but it makes for swift justice. If, perhaps, the officials would ‘ve ignored his documents which state him to be underage, probably things would’ve been much easier. Sometimes it is so difficult to distinguish between right and wrong.

  2. gita4elamats says:

    The death penalty has no place in a civilised society.

    • You are probably right. But a world without death penalties would mean jails full of hardened convicts accused of the most inhuman of acts. While that is okay with me, I believe it puts a lot of pressure on the administration and the ex-chequer’s purse.

  3. In most developed countries, including the US, UK and several countries in Europe, the severity of the crime determines whether the perpetrator is to be treated as a child who is unaware of the consequences of his actions or an adult who does it fully-informed. The severity of the punishment is judged the same way.

    While I am in support of due diligence in enforcing the law, I strongly believe that the death penalty is sometimes required to ensure that the most heinous of crimes don’t go unpunished.

    To rob a girl of her health and/or her sanity and to leave her dead or worse, in a permanent vegetative state, and then to pay for it simply by being behind bars while living a life that is paid for by tax-paying citizens is neither fair nor civilized in my opinion. Many may argue that the condition in Indian prisons will make a life-imprisonment a longer, slower death, but sometimes, that is just not good enough.

    • You’re absolutely right and I have arguments to refute your logic. But, on deeper thought, it just felt that perhaps death penalty for the juvenile was not the way to go about this. But I respect your opinion, too.

Let me know what you are thinking. . .

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