Sentence harsh, but justified
Death sentence to all four convicted in the Delhi gang rape-cum-murder case is indeed a harsh penalty, but considering that the court held the Nirbhaya case as the ‘rarest of rare’, and given that the judiciary had already alerted the public of its intentions of giving the toughest of punishments to the four perpetrators of the heinous crime, it perhaps does not come as a big surprise. Despite the nationwide outrage in the wake of the gang rape incident, that rocked the ‘collective conscience’ of the nation, hopefully the judiciary has not been swayed by the national bloodlust that erupted on the streets of Delhi and in the television studios of major news channels. In fact, the Delhi gang rape hasn’t even been dealt under the stringent anti-rape law that was brought in after the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee, and instead has been dealt under Section 302 (murder) of IPC, including considerations on the inhuman nature of the crime and the gravity of the offence committed. Clearly, the judges are right when they held that the crime was the rarest of rare and hence warranted capital punishment. While the fast-track court’s judgement has been exemplary, both in terms of its unwavering quickness and also in its comprehensive detailing of the range of the offence committed, whether death penalty is the solution to curb rape and sexual violence in India is a different debate altogether, which nevertheless, must be discussed at length. But it must be remembered that the accused not only gang raped the 23-year-old paramedic but also attempted to run over the victim and her friend and destroy the crime scene evidence after assaulting the victim in unimaginably brutal way. Naturally, unless death penalty is abolished in India, cases such as these are the ones that truly merit the harshest of punishments permissible in the eyes of the law of the land.