I don’t know whether we should rejoice on account that four of the perpetrators in the Nirbhaya rape case have been sent to the gallows. I wonder whether one can call it retributive justice! Call it what you may, but, yes, there is a sense of relief and little bit of justice restored when the four culprits have been sentenced for the heinous crime committed. There have been online petitions to bring the rapists to task and the Varma committee came up with reforms in the judiciary and the creation of the fast track court. However, it is premature to speak about closure in the case as well as several other cases where innocent victims were raped.
1. It is a mockery of justice that the most violent culprit, the so-called, teenager has been confined to a juvenile home to less than three years. I still maintain that it is a travesty of justice and being less than 18 is no excuse to commit rape. There is no issue of being a juvenile and a crime is a crime. I wonder whether we can call it closure in the Nirbhaya case! Sentencing the four victims is one side of the coin.
2. The fast track court took nine months to deliver its verdict in this case. Imagine the trauma the likes of Nirbhaya’s parents have been through during the deliberations of the case and if we are really serious that there shouldn’t be another Nirbhaya, let’s set a time frame so that the fast track court deliver a timely verdict. A verdict in such cases should be delivered in less than three months.
3. There shouldn’t be ‘selective justice’ in violent crimes such as rape and murder. In far away places, girls and children are molested and raped as one is tempted to ask why people from humble background and coming from underbelly of society do not get justice. First and foremost, let the Nirbhaya case serve as an example to make sure that justice is given to each and every member of society. Secondly, the victim or its family should be made to feel they are of the society and authorities must ensure that justice be served to everybody, rich or poor. It is only then that we can speak of ‘inclusive justice’.
4. What is needed is change in society and dirty legal tricks spearheaded by the accused lawyers should be put to an end. It is a shame that lawyers of the likes of M L Sharma in the Nirbhaya case has used all kind of cheap and dirty tricks in the book to postpone the delivery of justice. That’s why the fast track court efficiently delivering justice should be implemented and justice must be seen to be delivered. In the Nirbhaya case, justice was delayed but finally delivered.
5. We need to learn our lessons on the aftermath of Nirbhaya case, the rape of the young photo journalist in Mumbai and the gruesome sexual crimes that young children and women in different nook-and-corners of India are subjected to. Rape is a gruesome and heinous crime which destroys the life of a woman and Nirbhaya case should go down in history as an example to bring an overhaul in the justice system. We need to remember that it is owing to mass protests throughout India that the Government came up with reforms. I have doubts whether there would have been any closure if no mass protests took place in India. In the same vein, it is the need of the hour to reform the juvenile laws to restore justice and confidence in the system. Moreover. there must be exceptions even if the offender is below 18 and the latter must be treated like any other convict and made to pay for crime committed. Let’s not play the human rights card since it never work in such heinous crimes. I also wish to point out that there are upper caste leaders and politicians sitting in parliament who have been guilty of murder and rape. Is there any closure?
6. Finally, I come to laws. It is simple: Till we don’t enforce strict legislation that deal in a harsh manner with rapists, one cannot speak about closure. We need laws that will serve as a deterrent to crime and, in this respect, I am in favor of Saudi Arabia and Gulf laws that should serve these criminals right. Let’s stop this show of under 18 is a juvenile and cut the crap and it is only strict laws that will serve as a deterrent to crime.
Having said all that, I must say that the judgement should be applauded and in a certain way, the sentence couldn’t have been less considering the manner in which the crime was committed. In fact, I would go to a further extent in saying that the culprits should have been given life long imprisonment and tortured in jails. They have been given an easy death and too easy for the gruesome crime that they committed.