Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
India’s execution of four men for the gang-rape and murder of a woman on a Delhi bus in 2012 does send a strong message, but the fact that it took seven long years to deliver justice has exposed the loopholes in the judicial system and that needs to be addressed.
The brutality of the attack on the physiotherapy student had triggered spontaneous angry demonstrations by tens of thousands of people in Delhi and nationwide.
Recurring rape incidents have shaken the collective conscience of the people. The nation evidently has had enough with such abhorrent crimes.
Considering that nearly 34,000 rapes were reported in India in 2018, according to official data, which itself is considered the tip of the iceberg, with many more victims too scared to come forward, the country unquestionably needs to do much more to ensure swift provision of justice and improve safety for women.
Almost 150,000 rape cases are awaiting trial in the country’s dysfunctional criminal justice system.
Indian police registered more than 32,500 cases of rape in 2017, according to government data. However, tens of thousands of such cases remain stuck in courts, often hindering victims and their families as they navigate the slow and cumbersome legal process.
In 2017, courts only disposed of about 18,300 cases related to rape and several such cases remained pending at the end of the year.
It’s shocking that a country like India, with its centuries-old rich cultural diversity and adorable credentials, where women deities are worshipped ardently by millions of people, boasts such a disgraceful record when it comes to serious offences against girls and women.
As stated by India’s Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, it’s time to reflect if people who commit heinous crimes against women like rape, should be given an opportunity to manipulate with the judicial system of the country.
The launching of the first-ever national register of sex offenders is one among the several steps initiated by India in recent times to stem the increasing number of rape cases, but questions remain whether even these measures would be enough to tackle such obnoxious crimes.
Facing public protests and political pressure after the attack, the government reformed some of India’s antiquated laws on sexual violence and created fast-track courts for handling rape trials that formerly could last more than a decade.
The new laws prescribed harsher punishments for rapists and addressed new crimes, including acid throwing and stalking.
Disturbingly, even the tightening of rules has failed to deter rapist monsters. In recent times, a string of sexual attacks have caused further outrage.
The fact remains that stringent measures announced by the government have not proved to be effective as yet in stemming the rot of rape cases.
While laws are in place, there should be no laxity at the implementation level. This is where the sincerity of the authorities, whichever party rules, will be put to test.
The Delhi victim’s parents who fought a prolonged legal battle to get justice for their daughter at last have reason to feel relieved.
Even as more rape cases are reported, sadly it remains hard for victims to receive timely justice.
Cases of crime against women should be tried in fast track courts and within a defined time frame.
Zero tolerance against rapists should be the norm. The process of law should not be slow and swift punishment for offenders in necessary.
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