SC Women Lawyers Association Seeks Chemical Castration For Child Rapists

Coming straight to the nub of the matter, let me begin at the very beginning by first and foremost expressing my full and firm support to the growing perfectly justified demand that seeks chemical castration for child rapists. It must be done as early as possible to ensure that those who indulge in child rape get their due punishment swiftly so that a right and loud message goes across the society that rape will no longer go unpunished, unchecked and unabated. This is certainly the crying need of the hour.
                                       While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that close on the heels of the government promulgating an ordinance that provides for death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12, the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA) has made a representation to the Prime Minister’s Office, seeking chemical castration as additional punishment for child rapists. Judge Kamini Lau in her capacity as Additional District and Sessions Judge in Delhi has time and again in her landmark judgments supported chemical castration as additional punishment for child rapists. No sane person who respects children will ever oppose this perfectly legitimate demand of chemical castration as additional punishment for child rapists.
                                              For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the PMO has forwarded the petition of Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association to the Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Secretary, directing the Ministry to take appropriate action. “….Reply may be sent to the petitioner and a copy of the same may be uploaded on the portal,” reads the PMO’s April 26 communication to the Ministry. One hopes that the reply will be in the affirmative.
                                      Truth be told, Mahalakshmi Pavani who is senior advocate and SCWLA President said that, “Though, following the ordinance, courts can pronounce death penalty on those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12, an additional punishment of chemical castration will act as a deterrent.” Who wrong has Mahalakshmi Pavani said? Her stand is plausible and perfectly justified. Centre must pay heed to it and implement it as early as possible.
                                              To put things in perspective, chemical castration is widely perceived to be an effective deterrent in installing fear in the mind of the child rapists to refrain from indulging in it as no rapist will ever want that he be chemically castrated. We must understand here that chemical castration involves injecting anti-androgens in a person, which lowers the level of testosterone which is the male hormone in the body, reducing sex drive and the capacity to get aroused. It is a reversible process, if injections are stopped.
                                        Needless to say, the brilliant suggestion by SCWLA has been taken seriously even by the Centre. A senior WCD Ministry official said they would examine the representation. In its petition, the SCWLA also said the term “child” required to be defined. “Definition of child must include both small girls and boys between age group of 0-10 years. Because in the recent past there have been uncountable incidents where small boys have been sexually exploited and raped and have suffered untold pain and agony,” read the representation.
                              It merits no reiteration that the April 22 ordinance came in the aftermath of the brutal rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh. Enough is enough! Now no more wastage of time!
                                      There can be no quarrel with what the SCWLA said in its plea that, “In a society which is civilized and replete with cultural values of thousand years old and respects child and human rights, child abuse and the rape of a girl child can never be tolerated, and the culprits deserve to be dealt with iron hands of law. The punishment is provided under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 in respect of a woman who is minor but there may be circumstances where more specific attention may be necessitous for dealing with the rapist of a small girl child.” Why should rapist of a small girl child not be castrated? Why should they be spared at all when they dare to commit the most abhorrent of all crimes? Why should they not face the music and meet their just dessert for what they have done?
                                   It is to be noted that on January 13, 2016 on a similar plea by SCWLA, the Supreme Court had refused to direct the Centre to consider castration as an additional punishment and termed it as “unacceptable”. Nevertheless, it asked the Centre to consider re-defining the term “child” considering that nowadays children between the ages of two and ten are increasingly becoming victims of sexual abuse. Supreme Court had concluded stating that a law cannot be “based on emotions or sentiments” and thus, castration cannot be recommended.  
                                   Let me be direct in saying that much water has flown under the bridge since January 13, 2016. Two and a half years have elapsed since then! Centre has itself brought an Ordinance seeking death penalty for child rapists! This alone explains why SCWLA has made a fresh plea to the Centre seeking chemical castration of child rapists.
                                  As it turned out, the representation by SCWLA seeks introduction of new legislative provisions by the Parliament in addition to the recently introduced death penalty and other existing penal provisions in view of the alarming increase in sexual abuse of small girls and boys. It also rightly pointed out that, “The cases of child abuse and rape are increasing at an alarming speed and appropriate legislation in this regard is, therefore, urgently required. The law-making is in the domain and wisdom of the Legislature. We pray that Parliament may kindly give serious attention to the points highlighted above and make an appropriate legislation at the earliest including chemical castration apart from Death Penalty”.  There can be no denying or disputing it!
                                           This alone explains why in October 2015, Madras High Court too had asked the Centre to mull castration as a punishment for those who rape children in order to deter sexual assaults on minors. Justice N Kirubakaran of the Madras High Court had also acknowledged that its recommendation could seem “barbaric, retrograde, stone-aged and inhuman,” but said traditional laws were not enough to cope with such crimes. Why should those who resort to the horrendous and ghastly crime of child rape be shown undue leniency?
                                        It must be revealed here that the Madras High Court was not the first to demand castration. In 2011, Delhi Sessions Court Judge Kamini Lau while suggesting chemical castration as punishment for rape had called for a nationwide debate on the issue. The Judge had suggested the measure as an alternative sentence to imprisonment.
                                     It is beyond a straw of doubt that now the time has come when chemical castration must be meted out as an additional punishment apart from the death penalty which has been recently brought in by the Centre by an Ordinance! When death penalty can be given to child rapists by amending law then why not chemical castration in addition as punishment be also given by similarly amending law? All citizens who respect children and who strongly feel that the strongest possible punishment must be meted out to those dirty devils who indulge in child rape for which there can be no justification whatsoever must come out in unconditional and unstinted complete support for death penalty and chemical castration as punishment for child rapists! It brooks no more delay now!    
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.