Women’s justice or Man’s justification?

Recently Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Mr. Ashok Gehlot made a statement in reference to the increasing rape cases in the state saying ” death penalty to rapists has led to an increase in murder after rape cases . ” As outrageous and shocking this statement sounds there have been past such incidents where politicians who should work towards the safety and well being of women in the society made such disgraceful statements. In 2014 when asked upon the rise in rape cases in UP , Mulayam Singh Yadav said ” Ladke ladke hai Galti ho jaati hai ” ( boys are boys , mistakes happen )
In 2013 Mamata Banerjee said ” you say rape incidents are on a rise but the population is also swelling .” These statements indirectly justify the rise in crime against women while doing nothing to prevent it . The main question which arises from Mr Gehlot’s statement is that ‘ Has death penalty really led to an increase in murder with rape cases ? And what does the statistics say ? ‘
Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code states the punishment for rape providing 7 years of minimum punishment which may be extended to 10 years in some cases and maximum punishment of life imprisonment and even death in severe cases. Now here comes the tricky part , the Supreme Court has set the rule of ” rarest of the rare ” cases to be awarded death penalty but the criteria for these type of cases is rather unclear and still debated upon . The call for death penalty as a punishment for rape gain country wide spread after the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case . This case was so brutal and inhuman that it trembled the whole nation and still gives goosebumps if talked about . This led to the youth of the country coming to the streets with protests , candle marches and even hunger strikes . The roar was too loud to be ignored and so in 2013 , Criminal Law ( Amendment ) Act 2013 came into being which provided death penalty to rape culprits under Section 376 . The 4 culprits of Nirbhaya gang rape case were finally hanged on 20th March 2020 which is the latest death penalty under this section till day .
According to the reports published by National Crime Record Bureau there were a total of 28046 incidents of rape in 2020 with 219 cases of murder with rape . Rajasthan topped the list with 5310 rape cases including 1279 child victims . Now to know that does death penalty led to rise in murder with rape cases we have to see the statistics of last 4 years :
2017 – 223 murder with rape cases and 32559 rape cases .
2018 – 294 murder with rape cases and 33356 rape cases .
2019 – 283 murder with rape cases and 32033 rape cases .
2020 – 219 murder with rape cases and 28046 rape cases . There was no data found on number of murder with rape cases before 2017 as murder with rape cases were not registered separately rather were recorded under rape(crime against women) and murder(violent crimes) category . With 2020 Nirbhaya culprits being the latest death penalty of India we can not say that death penalty has led to increase in murder after rapes as the statistics show that there is no relationship between the number of murder with rape cases and number of death penalty . Even though death penalty under section 376 was awarded in 2020 for the first time we see an increase of 31.83 percent in number of murder with rape cases in 2018 which later falls by 25.5 percent in 2020 , this drastic rise and fall is due to increase and decrease of number of such cases being registered showing no factual or statistical relationship of murders after rapes with Law of Death Penalty for rapists. So why did Ashok Gehlot made such comment? Was it for politics ? Was it just an excuse ? Was it to target the Indian Penal Code and India’s judiciary? We don’t know . But one thing we know for sure is that the numbers of rape cases are increasing day by day with less cases being registered comparatively so Mr Gehlot being such a powerful politician and CM of Rajasthan should work in favour of women empowerment and safety instead of making such insensitive remarks .
” Even before the provision came , girls were murdered . This shows their ( Mr. Gehlot’s ) mentality of supporting culprits . They do not have sympathy for the victim . ” – Asha devi , Mother of Nirbhaya .

ARTICLE BY Gaurav Karamchandani

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