Justice will be served when the “Nirbhaya” rapist-murderers are hanged. “When” is still the question in the immediate wake of a Delhi court order spelling out the time and date on which the execution will take place. This is a comment on the speed of the justice delivery system in India that seems to have literally taken to the saying “the wheels of justice grind on”. In Nirbhaya’s case it took a little over seven years.
True, the curative pleas and mercy pleas to the highest in the land must run their course. Those desperate final options are still open to the convicts on death row. India can’t be a banana republic and order kangaroo courts or staged encounters just to speed up the legal process, even in tackling such a despicable crime as gangrape-murder of innocent women.
The depravity of acts against women becomes even more apparent when a case like the rape of a girl with Down’s Syndrome crops up, as we grapple with the nuances of dealing with the four Nirbhaya convicts for whom the hangman’s rope is ready, so too the gallows and the tunnel to remove the bodies from the sight of those present at such a grisly event.
What the nation feels now is not so much bloodletting as the anxiety to come up with a clear warning to all those who rape, harass, persecute or intimidate women that they might face the death penalty. The Nirbhaya rape-murder of December 2012 woke up the nation and the system had to do something about an explosive problem that seemed to be catching on to the extent that India gained the notoriety of being the world’s “rape capital”. The laws got more stringent, and yet the wait for justice is what has been bugging the nation.
When the rapist-murderers hang, it might seem like an atavistic trait of hanging becoming a public spectacle as in the Middle Ages. There is also the view to consider whether capital punishment should continue to exist in our modern age. As many as 101 nations have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, while 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, according to Amnesty International. It is still the law in India and the United States, two prominent democracies that continue to deny arguments over whether man should play God in ruling that social deviants and those threatening the State should be done to death.
How else can modern man protect society from the depredations of terrorists who plot against nations or sexual predators who prey on women? The frequency of rape in India has become such a huge challenge to civilisation as to necessitate the arming of the statute books against the likes of these animals who allow their lust to rule. That is reason enough for capital punishment to remain in this country....