Is this Justice? 28 Months for Rape and Murder?

Someone participates in wanton rape and murder – gangrape at that; and then murders the helpless woman; mercilessly beating and torturing her, and committing unspeakable deeds – and the best our justice system can do is meet out  a punishment of 28 months for one of the most brutal culprits? Is this justice? Just because the most brutal animal of the lot is a few months short of 18, he is let off with a light sentence – a sentence that does a mockery of justice?In 3 years (a little less, actually) this person, this poor excuse for a human being will be let off to roam the streets again.

What is the guarantee that this person will be reformed? Where is the guarantee that these 3 years will not harden his resolve to be more careful – and not be caught? 3 years later he will be roaming the streets again – having tasted blood once. 3 short years is what he pays for raping, torturing and killing a young lady in the prime of her life. The victim loses her honour as well as her life; the perpetrator goes on to enjoy life to the fullest after paying for just 3 short years for a deed that is too horrifying to even mention! And this is our justice system! Well done, well done indeed! What an exemplary lesson for crime!

The message that will go across to all such youngsters in this age range is that ladies are fair game; even  if caught, we get off lightly. To a certain category of people, to whom lawlessness is a way of life, this might even be an open invitation! I may be sounding melodramatic, but this sounds logical to me at least. The law has totally failed to set an example and provide a deterrent. To a person already on the wrong side of the law, and a history sheeter, for example, 3 years is nothing.

While I admit that attempts to reform are laudable, and should always be the first priority; this should not and cannot be extended to all cases. Logically, a certain class of crimes can and should be expunged from this forgiven category for the good of society as a whole. I am not concerned only with revenge for the hapless soul; I am also concerned with setting up a deterrent. And the justice meted out in this case does not qualify for that category – that of a sufficient deterrent. This is not about revenge; it is not about blood for blood. It is about exemplary treatment to such criminals, which would act as a deterrent to further such incidences. And even if the punishment does not act as a deterrent, at least it should not send the wrong message to all other youngsters in the juvenile category.

And on both these counts, the law has failed us Indians. I am not a lawyer, and am not aware of the finer points involved; but this sentence makes no sense. Absolutely none.  Justice has not been done; the society has not been served; the family of the victim have not yet managed to bury their past. This sentence is likely to haunt them for a long time; as it is the family intends to fight this verdict. To them, there is no closure. This verdict has actually sentenced an entire family to a life of fight and despair. Instead of punishing the guilty, the law has unintentionally caused considerable pain and continual suffering to the family of the victim. 3 years later, this man – who was the most indescribably cruel of the lot – will roam the streets a free man; while the family of Nirbhay will suffer in silence, fighting a hopeless case in the courts of the land.

My heart goes out to the hapless family, abandoned in this dark hour by the state; their justified fight forgotten at the altar of juvenile justice. My heart trembles to think of the lesson this is sending out to other such people in our society who might be willing to risk 3 years of their lives. Is this justice? No sir, beyond any shade of doubt, this is not justice; the needs of justice have not been served. Society has not been served; justice lies denied to both society as well as the family of the victim. Especially for the family of the victim, there can be no closure!

If the law is not upto the mark, change it! That is why we have elected leaders into parliament! What are they doing? Nothing, that is what. My complaint is not against the Supreme Court; it is against the  ladies and gentlemen who run the parliament, the people who make the laws. Change the law; change the juvenile age. Alternatively, you can exempt certain crimes from this protection. If the constitution is a problem, bring in an amendment. Countless amendments have been made; some senseless. At least, at the very least the Government can amend the constitution for a just cause. The Government owes this to society; in fact, it is their solemn duty. I can only say that just as the family does not intend to keep quiet - we, the people, should also keep this case alive, and keep up the pressure on our lawmakers to change the laws, and make that man pay!

Is anyone listening?

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