All crimes are heinous in nature but there are crimes that impact the human psyche more than others. One such crime is rape. Rape in itself is very degenerate in nature as the victim is not only physically and sexually assaulted, but the humiliation and mental torment goes onto plague the victims’ mind long after the crime is committed. In a country like India where we worship goddesses, and where women are apparently the embodiment of purity and civilisational sustenance, outraging a woman’s modesty hits right at the heart of Indian societal value systems.
As bad as rape is, a rape of a child or minor is much worse as it snatches away the victim’s innocence and forces the child to live a life devoid of joyfulness, creating an isolated and traumatized social setting for the child to grow up in. India has been battling with this social cancer for a very long time. At times it seems that every day, in one part of the country or the other, a woman’s modesty is being outraged. The legislature along with the judiciary of our country has been trying to find a solution to this seemingly never ending problem.
The cases involving minors have always been depressing and forces one to lose hope in humanity and justice altogether. A child represents the future, of what is yet to come. Moreover a child is representative of what drives humanity and society-hope. When that hope is crushed under the animalistic lust of criminals, the future is nothing but full of despair.
The recent upsurge in rape cases involving minors has caused uproar throughout the country and has found supporters from every corner of society. The recent cases in Unnao and Rasana involving minors have pushed the people further towards outrage than ever before. The outraged mass felt that the punishment prescribed in the existing laws are not adequate, nor is proportionate to the heinousness of the crime perpetrated.
Thus, they took to the streets demanding the incumbent government do the required so that proportionate justice can be served. It does seem like the uproar from the masses was heard in the corridors of power.
The government in a statement to a three member Supreme Court Bench stated that the Government is promulgating an ordinance for amending the POCSO act, 2012, which today was successfully approved.
The said amendment in POCSO will bring about changes in the act and add the death penalty for rapes where the victim is under the age of 12, provided he or she is found guilty. The said amendment will also include life imprisonment for rapes where victims are under the age of 16.
The Government is also planning to set up special courts and speedy trials, apart from introducing the death penalty for such cases. Any investigation pertaining to the rape of a minor has to be concluded under the time frame of 3 months so that justice can be delivered in a time-bound manner. They are also trying to set up special forensic laboratories for effective scientific investigation into these cases.
Maneka Gandhi, the Minister for Child and Women Development, uploaded a video stating the need to amend the POCSO act to add death penalty into the prescribed punishment module. The ordinance is likely to be moved on Saturday.
This is indeed a laudable effort by the incumbent government as these heinous crimes deserve a death penalty as punishment, which is much harsher and more equitable to the crime than what was already previously prescribed in the POCSO act. With this move the potential perpetrators of such crimes will think thrice before attempting such atrocious crimes.