According to the National Crime Record Bureau, India, there is one dowry death in the country every 78 h, one act of sexual harassment every 59 minutes, one rape every 34 minutes, one act of torture every 12 minutes and almost one in every three married women experienced domestic violence. This data paints a poignant picture of our country and portrays the dilapidated condition of our state machinery and failures of executive, legislative and judiciary. On 16th December 2012, our country faced one of such incidents in Delhi where a girl was so brutally and mercilessly raped that she succumbed to her injuries.
The act exposed the animal instincts within the five perpetrators. Their trial went on for 7 continuous years in the judiciary and at last, on March 20, 2020, they were hanged till death. Capital punishments in India are given to reduce rapes in India as it acts as a deterrence. Moreover, it reduces the expenditure of the government on jail expenses and last but not least, it gives a sense of satisfaction to te victims and their families as they think they have accessed justice.
However, it has some drawbacks also. Till now, no empirical pieces of evidence has been found which can establish the fact that capital punishment acts as deterrents for criminals. Almost 2/3rd nations of the world have stopped this kind of punishment for their countries. The main aim of the judiciary is reformation, not retribution. It means the judiciary should avoid capital punishment to satisfy the people of the country and reform that criminal.
Moreover, in a literate society like India where the literary level is 74%, we can’t expect our judiciary to punish the people with barbaric and brutal punishments. In the Bachan Singh case, the Supreme Court said that capital punishment should be given in “rarest of the rare cases”. Moreover, the constitution of India has granted Right to Life under Article 21 so, no one has the right to take away our life.
I don’t know whether I should laugh aloud or cry bitterly. I am in a Catch 22 situation as the whole country is celebrating the capital punishment of Nirbhaya’s perpetrator. The joy is unfettered as they say that justice has been delivered to the victim’s family. But on the other hand, I feel sad about this mentality of people in India because I am still living in Gandhiji’s land, where there is no place of violence. He had said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind “.