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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Give child killers the ultimate punishment (‘Children’s Day’ Series)

Recently I was pleasantly surprised to read the Supreme Court of India’s verdict where they seem to have redefined the definition of ‘Rarest of rare’ crimes that deserves death penalty. That got me thinking if that could also be applied to child killers??

Case in reference is a dowry death where a man and his mother were convicted by the Supreme Court of India but the irony of it not just the verdict but the commentary that was left along while passing the judgment. This is how it was commented by the presiding judges “Although bride-burning or bride-hanging cases have become common in our country, in our opinion, the expression ‘rarest of rare' does not mean that the act is uncommon, it means that the act is brutal and barbaric. Bride killing is certainly barbaric.”

Victim in the case above is a 24 year old young lady who is an adult who understands right from wrong. To an extent, may also understand how to defend herself in case of an offense against her. Just in the last two months I have read about three cases of kidnapping and/ or murder of innocent children in our state of Tamilnadu alone. Two children near Coimbatore were allegedly sexually assaulted and wee killed in cold blood.

So the obvious question to me is this: Why some people dare to commit crimes against children? Personally, I think it is because of the children’s inability to defend themselves and secondly because the perpetrators know that in our country (India), most of the time, punishment doesn’t fit the crime and they can get away get away with it. This is potentially a deadly combination that if not tackled effectively, could jeopardize the future of many children of India.

Sadly, there were literally thousands and thousands of dowry deaths in our country but why in this particular case Supreme Court had found dowry death to be a rarest of rare crime that deserves death sentence for the perpetrators? In my personal opinion, Supreme Court is setting precedence in case law which can be used in future for any brutal crime to be redefined as rarest of the rare crimes.

In conclusion, without condoning a murder, I would like to say that, if taking a life of a 24 year old adult could be a rarest of rare crimes for its brutality, taking a life of an innocent & defenseless child is brutal enough and certainly fits the Supreme Court’s definition of rarest of rare crimes. Then the perpetrators must be given death sentence.

I suggest that the government of India take comfort in the Supreme Court’s redefinition of rarest of rare crimes and include a provision in the bill (Prevention of offences against the child bill, 2009) before it is introduced in the parliament for its approval to suggest that killing a child is a rarest of rare crimes to entitle the perpetrators a death sentence.

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